When we cover the service department, it largely centers around improving technician efficiency — limiting trips back and forth to parts, ensuring each tech enters their notes right into the order, optimized scheduling, etc. Despite its “cash cow” status, most service departments are ripe for improvement.  

I brought my car into the dealer for an oil change and routine maintenance a couple weeks ago over my lunch hour. After the service advisor checked me in, she told me to expect a text with a video about midway through the job. 

Sure enough, I got a text about 30 minutes later with a link to a video. In the video, the technician walked through each point of the inspection — showing me the tread measurement, the cabin air filter (and pointing out that it was dirty), oil filter, brake pads, etc. The text also requested my approval for the recommended work. 

I’d just returned from the North American Equipment Dealer Assn. Dealer Conference in Dallas earlier, and the session that touched on improving technician stories. The video got me thinking, and when I got back to the office, I dug around to find out which vendor was providing the service. 

The dealership was using a program called xtime from software company Cox Automotive. A quick poke around the company’s website shows DIS and CDK Global are both integration partners with Cox. Two software companies who work on the ag side, too. 

From a consumer standpoint, I was impressed by the video and liked having the ability to see for myself had there been any problem.. It also helped build my trust with the service department. I still got a printout showing me all the information as well when the service advisor closed out the job. 

Could this tool be helpful on the ag side? One of xtime’s public selling points is that it helps improve tech efficiency, something we’re regularly examining on the ag side. I’m sure the software improves efficiency with your “techs of few words” when it comes to using the phone.  What would help make the job even more efficient is if the video could serve as a dictation tool — taking what the technician says in the video and automatically entering it into the customer’s entry in the CMS.