One year after the launch of its revolutionary online service and maintenance booking website, , Ford has recorded a dramatic increase in the number of customers using the interactive system.

In September 2002 - the most recent month for which figures are available - almost 2,100 bookings were made online via the 'fordserviceonline' website. This marks a tenfold increase on the figure for January and is more than double the number recorded in June.

"We expect that the numbers will continue to snowball, as more and more customers realise the benefits of booking online," said Philip Parke, Marketing Manager, Ford Customer Service Division. "Motorists can obtain an exact, all-inclusive price quotation for scheduled vehicle maintenance and selected repairs, and book a guaranteed appointment time with a Ford dealer of their choice. This fast, efficient and highly convenient on-line service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to anyone who has access to the Internet."

Simply by typing in either the vehicle registration or vehicle identification number (VIN), the customer enables the system to identify all relevant information, including repair and pricing details specific to that particular vehicle. When a dealer has been selected and the customer is satisfied with the quoted price, an appointment can be booked using an interactive workshop calendar. The booking process even calculates the time required to complete the scheduled service or selected repair, and the customer is informed of the likely time at which the vehicle will be ready for collection. If repair work is needed but the exact nature of the problem is not clear, the customer can highlight any concerns in their own words, for a qualified technician to investigate.

For complete peace of mind, credit or debit card details are not required at the time of booking. The customer receives an e-mail by return to confirm arrangements, followed by a reminder on the day prior to the appointment.

It is now possible to book service and maintenance appointments online with the majority of Ford dealers throughout the UK, and a dedicated website for fleet operators is due to be launched in the near future.

Published : 10/10/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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