Why automotive needs to rehaul aftersales. Now.


When it comes to service expectations, buyers have been groomed by the best in digital, with brands like Amazon, Apple and Spotify. Where what’s desired is a swipe away. Comfortable. Fast. Invisible. Car drivers want the same in their aftersales experience—service with a swipe—making the inconvenient, convenient.

Technology exists now to make the discomfort of aftersales service experience disappear, rendering it invisible to the driver. Yet dealers spend significantly more on the lower margin end of the customer spectrum: car sales.

In our recent study, it’s clear that invisible service—frictionless aftersales driven by digital—is something drivers are willing to pay for. OEMs and aftermarket players need to get into the driver’s seat to overhaul aftersales, or risk being left behind.




Our research shows that nearly half of drivers do not want to physically go to a workshop or dealer service location and a full 74% are willing to pay for an invisible service, so how does the invisible service work?

Receive notification

Customers receive a notification through the vehicle, an app or by a call that their car needs a service.

Choose a time

They choose a time and location for pick up on their smart phone.

Unlock remotely

Keys are either physically handed over or the workshop (with permission) can unlock the car remotely.

Replace a car

A replacement car is deposited at a location convenient to the car owner.

Address issue

When the issue is addressed, the car is delivered in the same ‘frictionless,’ invisible, manner.


Drivers are willing to pay for invisibility. In fact, 72 percent said they are open to paying a monthly flat fee for service and maintenance. More than half said they would part with around 45 dollars per visit to not have to deal with the hassle of going to a workshop.

Beyond inconvenience, one of the greatest barriers to realizing the ‘invisible service’ is data privacy. Yet our study showed that 92 percent of respondents are willing to provide vehicle data to workshops. While nearly half (47 percent) are willing to do so for free, 45 percent would do so in exchange for incentives like discounted car service or discounts on things like fuel.


Customers are ready. The technology is in place. Automotive players can gain real competitive advantage over rivals by grabbing the reigns on invisible service. What winning moves are needed to drive towards invisibility?

Look to Netflix for inspiration. What do video content streaming and car service have in common? Not much. But they could and should share a lot more in the future. Borrowing from the Netflix playbook, OEMs could create flat-rate offers in aftersales. The approach represents a win-win: drivers don’t have to worry about variable costs and OEMs can ensure regular revenue streams.OEMs can work with dealers, offering them discounts on parts for customers subscribed to the service.

Take data out of the dark. Today, vehicle usage and maintenance related data are stored with their manufacturer where they are parked, for all intents and purposes. Sales can’t access data for cross- or up-selling. Technical issues aren’t fed back to engineering. Data resides in an organizational black box. OEMs need to bring it into the light, breaking silos and sharing data across all areas of the business from sales to marketing to aftermarket. With data in hand, opportunities open for predictive maintenance, just-in-time repair and a more satisfied driver.

Look to food delivery apps for inspiration. While OEMs can learn from Netflix, they should help their dealer workshops copy food delivery apps. How? By partnering with logistics companies that can pick up and drop off vehicles, effectively connecting drivers to workshops seamlessly and invisibly. Like online food delivery, workshops need to feature a clear menu of services aligned with what customers want and priced competitively.

Boost online presence. Workshops are known for having “passive” online sites that offer surface information on opening hours. And don’t accommodate online booking. What’s more, aftersales should not be afterthoughts for customers looking for service. They need to be top of mind.Present on online comparison portals like (UK) and (Germany). And pulled first in Google searches with the help of search engine optimization or paid adverts. Net-net: the amount of spend for digital marketing overall is too low, and doesn’t leverage the range of tactics available.