Mazda’s pioneering internet-based Digital Service Record system has earned enthusiastic endorsement from dealers.
Three service department specialists, with a total of 60 years accumulated Mazda experience, have highlighted a spectrum of benefits for customers and dealers alike.
Geoff King, veteran after sales manager for TW White and Son’s cluster of four Mazda outlets based in Guildford, Surrey, praised the DSR initiative for combating the threat of falsified service records while fostering improved customer satisfaction levels within the retail network.
He said: "There is peace of mind at various levels, knowing that we are linked to a centralised, secure and transparent record of our customers’ cars’ service histories.
"Gone are the problems of service books being mislaid or not stamped. No more oil stained dirty fingerprints on dog eared log books although we still provide a paper printout of the complete record for the customer to take away".
Geoff’s enthusiasm extends to an eventual integration of DSR into his group’s new dealer management system, which he hopes will provide a direct interface with Mazda’s central online portal system.
He explained: "DSR fits into our plans for Mazda over the next ten years and how we provide quality customer satisfaction levels. It would cover things like prompting us if someone overlooks a service reminder, which we then pass on by phone, post or text to the owner. Ultimately that will also be possible online."
By linking DSR to the Mazda intranet the electronic record could be supplemented by menu-pricing costings when service job cards are generated.
Geoff, who has 30 years experience with the Mazda brand, is also confident that DSR will generate significantly less paperwork and free up time among his department staff to foster even better communication with customers.
In TW White and Son’s service bays DSR virtually eliminates involvement with paperwork. Geoff explained: "We employ them to work on cars and not on paper and DSR is another way of improving productivity by saving time with rapid inputting. It is marvellous in concept and execution"
His summary was: "DSR is a market leader and most other manufacturers will surely follow, which can only be good for the wider retail trade and customers."
"Extremely positive" was the unequivocal verdict on DSR from Carl Banfield, vehicle preparation manager at Bourne Road Mazda Dartford, one of the early adopters of the scheme within the dealer network.
He explained his enthusiasm: "It streamlines the business for me. Because I run the operation from a computer terminal the least amount of keyboard work I have to do the better."
Although DSR predominantly relates to servicing, the inclusion of the pre-delivery inspection record is critical to satisfied customers and establishing a complete vehicle history.
Carl reasoned: "It cuts superfluous administration and goes straight into the system after the PDI is carried out. That means job one is complete and from there on it provides detailed records of scheduled services and extended service items, all of which can be accessed rapidly and with clarity."
He praised: "Mazda’s technological support for dealers" adding: "the only problem I have is frustration that it cannot apply to all the cars yet, but that will start happening later this year.
Carl has a parallel sales management role and is convinced that DSR’s "transparency" will enhance the strong residual values of Mazda products by providing instant accurate records on service histories for traded-in cars within the network.
Malcolm Heeley, 15 years with Donalds Mazda, oversees Mazda after sales operations at three outlets covering Ipswich, Peterborough and Bury St Edmonds and is proud of being 'bang up to date by adopting the system last autumn from day one'.
He enthused: "Customers increasingly demand the electronic way forward in all aspects of their lives. It should also become a must-have facility for authorised service providers and independent repairers.
"It has been well received by our technicians, some of whom have been with us for 40 years. There have been no hitches with the first cars going through on DSR. Mazda has had the vision to know the long-term benefits for customers and dealers alike. Nothing is concealed or complicated even though the software is pretty sophisticated."
Malcolm acknowledged the value of DSR in raising customer retention levels on sales and after sales fronts. He said: "It is an ideal asset for nurturing customer retention with its tracking capability. The critical time comes after a car is three years old. It will highlight for dealers how much business they retain or lose from the network and should help keep more customers within Mazda’s orbit."
Malcolm was aware of DSR’s long-term term potential for providing a three-way online inter-computer dialogue between customer, retailers and Mazda with the added efficiencies and incremental business that it could generate.
Welcoming the positive feedback from dealer staff working at the sharp end of the franchise, Steve Jelliss, Mazda Motors UK’s aftersales director, said: "I am pleased that our dealers have also recognised the significant benefits that DSR’s introduction brings to both them and Mazda owners.
"Our innovative DSR programme replaces conventional and vulnerable maintenance booklets as a no-cost addition to Mazda’s acclaimed service portfolio."Published 11 April 2006