Tata Motors ended the last fiscal with its best-ever sales numbers totaling 372,000 units. While this adds a hefty 67 percent to its year-early tally, the clear challenge ahead is to be able to provide efficient after sales and market service. In the course of the year, Tata Motors has taken several service initiatives and one that aims to be a differentiator of sorts is the EzServe which as Dimple Mehta, Head, Customer care, Domestic and International Business, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicle, says, ”Our aim is to enhance service touchpoints with a focus on shorter formats to make us adequately close to our customers. The unique EzServe initiative aims at quick redressal of customer grievances at their doorstep.”
With its shorter format, the company actually uses two-wheelers that it said will “help in reaching out to customers in smaller cluster locations at their convenience”. Explaining the rationale, Dimple says,” The primary thought that led to the introduction of EzServe was to bridge the gap between our customers and create a better channel to engage with our customers on a regular basis. This not only aids our customers but also helps us in attaining more consumer loyalty.
A dealer based in Maharashtra is all praise for this initiative. He said his marketing and sales team has begun to reach out to customers through phone calls and WhatsApp messages to provide information about the new service roll out. In this dealer’s opinion, the OEM should also do much more to popularise the scheme which seems to be lacking to spread awareness. He also acknowledged that increased PV sales is good as more customers will come to the dealership and it will drive their warranty-based income.
This particular dealership has pressed into service about 5 motorcycles for urban centres and 2-3 bikes for the hinterland where they serve a few districts. In this context, it is important to mention that as more rural buyers opt for a Tata vehicle, being able to reach them at their homes is a major step in strengthening the customer bond.
Tata’s EzServe initiative comprises units that come with an elaborate kit containing three utility boxes mounted on the bike’s rear. These boxes are packed with spare parts, a vacuum cleaner, a jack & jack stand, and several hand tools for providing basic minor repairs and scheduled service at customers’ doorstep.
Aftermarket as growth driver
In its Automotive Revolution 2030 report, McKinsey and Company, the global consultancy, has identified the aftermarket as one of the key growth drivers. In fact, the report is categorical that in order to reshape the value proposition, car manufacturers must further differentiate their products/services and change their value proposition from traditional car sales and maintenance to integrated mobility services. This, according to the report, will put them in a stronger position to retain a share of the globally growing automotive revenue and profit pool.
Tata Motors has also undertaken other customer-centric initiatives. The company said it has been periodically rolling out an array of customer-friendly initiatives and holistic packages that are aimed to enhance their experience and ensure absolute peace of mind. According to Mehta, apart from offering pick-and-drop services to our customers to the complete service of their cars with a minimum turnaround time, the company has tried to ensure that quality is always maintained.
“We have also been extending value add services such as ceramic coating that protects the external paint and shine of the vehicles and antimicrobial based Surface Coating Silica that provides a permanent pathogen-free surface for 365 days,” said Mehta.
Given the company’s record sales in the last fiscal, the natural question would be how the company is going to cope with a huge increase in services in this fiscal. As Mehta says “While we are absolutely delighted with the buoyancy that Tata Motors has brought into the industry with the wide customer acceptance of its products, the company has added 160 new workshops to its existing ones in the fiscal. Today, Tata Motors is present in 491 cities and as of 31 May 2022, it had a total of 720 operational workshops.
In keeping with trends that are changing the dealership experience, Tata Motors has also taken a few steps in this direction. As Mehta says, “Digitisation has led to a better understanding of customer preferences and their evolving tastes through the accumulation of data. We, at Tatas, have undertaken numerous steps to ensure quality service to customers through digitisation.”
He cites the example of the process of registering orders for repairs at workshops has been completely digitised. “Our workshops are designed to promptly respond to customer queries, provide cost estimations and work in sync with our Service Connect App, which is available to customers. While this app helps in relaying real-time data to the concerned after-sales teams, it also provides the facility of contactless service support in terms of online service booking, pickup requests, updates on vehicle repair status, viewing of repair estimates for scheduled and frequent jobs, etc. Additionally, Tata Motors Service Connect can be used for information regarding authorised dealers nearby, service centre locations, and information on services like extended warranty, annual maintenance contracts, 24x7 roadside assistance support, and so forth.
Over the years, Tata has been continuously enhancing the quality of customer services keeping in mind the evolving needs of its discerning customers. Internally, as Mehta says, the company has undertaken a lot of transformations to strengthen its process in order to enhance the customer experience.
This has been done by re-imagining the customer touchpoints keeping in mind the latest trends and post – Covid scenarios. Tata has focused extensively on promised time delivery and promised cost delivery and that has resulted in a positive word of mouth. Going forward, the company hopes to implement a host of technological interventions in after sales and services that will be data-driven, targeted, and with no compromise on quality.
With the company building on its sales momentum over the last year, the customer service team has its work cut out. As it sells more cars, it will have to ensure that there are no compromises on the sales and aftermarket front.
The feature was published in Autocar Professional's June 15, 2022 issue.
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