Ford and Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, are testing a "smart service kiosk" aimed at increasing customer convenience related to vehicle service, according to a press release. The kiosk allows customers to come to the dealership at any time to drop off and pick up their vehicle keys or obtain keys to a loaner vehicle, select needed services from a quick-pick menu, and pay for service using a credit or debit card.
"At Ford, our goal always is to make customers' lives better, through both our products and services," Brad Brownell, director of Ford global distribution strategy, said in the press release. "Smart Service Kiosk enables Ford customers to drop off, pick up, select and pay for their vehicle service on their time, whether it's outside of dealership service hours or to avoid waiting in line if the service staff is busy."
Designed for ease of use by Panasonic in collaboration with GoMoto, drop-off begins with customers entering their name and address using the kiosk touchscreen or by scanning their driver's license QR code, then entering their e-mail and phone number.
From there, they enter vehicle information, create a security PIN (for kiosk key-retrieval at pick-up), select services from a quick-pick menu (detailed comments also can be entered) and deposit their key. Customers receive an e-mail confirmation with a QR code that must be scanned for key retrieval if picking up using the kiosk.
At pick-up, the customer scans the supplied QR code, enters their PIN and pays any outstanding service bill to retrieve their key.
Testing of the smart service kiosk began in January at Lafontaine Ford in Birch Run, Michigan and is slated to span a 90-day trial period. Both Ford and Panasonic plan to assess the results of this initial test to determine next steps before committing to additional testing or implementation.
Ford customer Donavon Black recently used the kiosk at Lafontaine.
"The whole process of using the kiosk from start to finish took about five minutes," said Black. "It took a lot of the pressure off and I didn’t have to worry about anyone trying to upsell me. It even asked me if I wanted to approve a dollar amount. It was all taken care of in one step right there at the kiosk."
Services available through the quick-pick menu include those for air conditioner, air filtration, alignment, battery, brake, cooling system, drivetrain, engine, inspection, oil change, recall, suspension, tires, transmission, windshield and others.
(Image courtesy of Ford.)