You can pick up your car, drop it off, and even get a loaner at any time.
The days of taking time off work to get your ailing car to or from a dealership could soon be over, at least if you own an Audi. The automaker has launched a new around-the-clock digital service station that’s imaginatively called the Audi Service Station, in which customers can drop off cars for service and pick them up anytime. That doesn’t necessarily sound revolutionary – many dealerships already have an after-hours drop off box for keys, and most will accept payment over the phone and lock keys in the car when repairs are done. So long as you have an extra key fob, you can pick up your repaired car whenever you want.
Audi’s new service goes a bit beyond that, however. What if you require a loaner car? Or what if you show up to a very busy service department while on your lunch break? The new digital service center basically functions like a computerized service advisor in a big vending machine. You can plug in your information and deposit keys into the station, and if you also require a loaner vehicle, the station will assign a car and dispense the keys. The only extra step required is to set up the appointment beforehand, which can be done online or with a phone call.
When service work is complete, customers receive a text message notifying them that work is done, along with a security code to use at the station. They return to the digital station to complete the process, including paying for the work if it wasn’t under warranty. If a loaner car was involved, the station can also facilitate the return, and it will do all of the above at any time, day or night. Furthermore, if you just need to rent a car for any reason, the service station will handle everything. So if you want to accurately recreate the hilarious parking lot antics in Audi's new holiday commercial, have at it. Just make sure you opt for the insurance.
The idea behind the Service Station is to save time for both customers and dealerships, while offering some extra convenience. Of course, going full digital won’t help in situations where the car isn’t repaired correctly, or if there’s damage. Still, it’s an interesting step in an automotive world that’s becoming increasingly automated with little-to-no human interaction.
After a successful pilot program in Munich, Audi plans to open 30 new Service Stations at dealerships in Germany. No word yet on when – or if – it will expand globally.
Next step regarding “digital retail”: Around-the-clock Audi Service Station lays on ultimate customer convenience
Digitalization meets service orientation: Audi is the first carmaker to use digital service stations in the retail sector. Customers can conveniently drop off or pick up their vehicles and pay for servicing at any time, regardless of the dealership’s hours of operation. The station can also issue a replacement vehicle and process its return. Following a successful pilot at two Munich Audi dealerships, the premium brand is now rolling out 30 additional Service Stations to dealerships throughout Germany.