Smart card system to help car dealers with loyalty
A smart card-based system has been developed to help dealers maintain the loyalty of their new car buyers.
The best customer retention rate that an average car dealer can hope for, once the customer has driven off in that shiny new car, is about 20%. The customer will probably be back for any service needed under the warranty, then might never come back again. With this in mind, AutoSmart has spent five years developing a smart card-based system to address the problem. The system consists of smart (chip) cards, terminals with which to read and write to the card, associated software, and a secure internet connection and web site. It provides dealers with a basic template of features, but also allows them to develop their own customised loyalty programmes.
Stores information A wide range of information can be stored on the card, including manufacturer and technical specifications, roadside service plans and extended warranties, registration and insurance details, emission tests, makers' recalls, repairs, service details and costs, and financing information. It also serves as certification of services and maintenance (no matter where it is performed) and access to service records (no matter where the car is). The card remains with the car when it is sold, providing a complete history.
The AutoSmart card is the first smart card patented application to record maintenance, operation, service and regulatory compliance of "machines", and the first patented automotive application. Although the AutoSmart card's first application will be specifically with new car dealers nationwide, it should prove itself to be useful for companies engaged in leasing, rental, shipping, trucking and freight.
Web site The card is supported by a secure Internet connection and Web site, accessible to both dealers and car owners so that all of the information stored will be easily accessible at will. Furthermore, the website will offer consumers detailed benefits information; search functions for dealers, garages, and deals; and a broad range of other pertinent information.
Within days of being launched the card has already been adopted by new car dealers in metro New York and Washington DC, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, and Seattle. AutoSmart's chief operating officer is Bill Kelly (former CEO of Saab Cards, USA). He estimates that by the end of this year over 175,000 motorists will be using the card.