Autumn Product Update 2

What’s new from Autino – Autumn edition

Jon Oxtoby

Jon Oxtoby

29 Sep 2021

As the seasons change (and of course, many businesses tick over from Q3 into Q4), the team here at Autino has been reflecting on what we’ve added to CustomerLounge in the last 3 months.

We realised that this year, an incredible amount has happened to our satisfaction-boosting, revenue-generating digital customer comms tool. And we’ve been so busy improving the platform in line with feedback from customers that we haven’t always taken the time to update the wider world on what’s happening!

So in this blog we want to quickly whizz through the most exciting new and improved features for CustomerLounge – because, frankly, our dev team deserves some recognition for a job well done!

NEW feature: Automated campaigns

A key benefit of CustomerLounge is that it helps you bring in additional revenue by generating leads, with minimal input from you. And now, we’ve made that input even more minimal. We’ve developed a sophisticated rules engine that allows you to intelligently segment your customers so you can run effective targeted campaigns. For example, you can identify all your customers with an electric car, so you don’t send them messages about oil top-ups. You can also identify customers who are due a brake fluid change, and offer it to them at the right moment.

Our oil bottle top up campaigns have been so successful that some dealerships ran out of oil!

These messages can be sent to a customer at any time they are on the system – and then, all you have to do is handle the leads that come in! It’s early days, but we are already seeing great success with this feature. Some of our sites are generating over £10k in revenue each month, including £8k in service plan leads. We’ve seen conversion rates of as much as 10% for oil top ups, 6% for air con refreshes, and an amazing 5% for service plans (considering the total value of a service plan, that’s a great conversion rate!) In fact, results are so promising that we’ve even let the marketing team start coming up with cheesy slogans such as “put the sales in aftersales” and “rev up revenue!” They’re a very happy bunch.

(there’s even more exciting news on this if you’re an EMaC customer – but more on that further down the article…)

NEW feature: Smiley ratings

Wouldn’t it be great to actively address customer concerns to turn ambivalent or unhappy customers into happy ones? As well as increasing the chances of your customers returning and recommending you to their friends, converting unhappy customers into happy ones right before your OEM’s survey comes out could really boost those results! For those reasons (and more!) we created the single-touch Smiley rating.

After a customer picks up their car, CustomerLounge sends them an automated message inviting them to rate their experience with the dealership. It looks like this:

Like those feedback panels you see at airport security checkpoints, only something actually happens when you press these ones!

It’s instant, it’s in-channel, and your service advisors can instantly see the result and act on it if they need to. Managers can also look at the data to identify and reward best-performing advisors, and support others with training to increase overall satisfaction. Neat, right?!

Best of all, we know it’s working. 17.2% of the 4,000 smiley ratings we sent out were completed, showing an overall satisfaction of 80%.

NEW feature: Explainer videos (in partnership with Vehicle Visuals)

Our survey this year revealed that 78% of dealership customers expect to see a video or photo of what needs fixing on their car, and why, during their service. However, your team aren’t always going to be able to explain what every repair involves. So now, service advisors in CustomerLounge have access to a library of more than 250 animations showing the customer what happens during various repair and maintenance tasks.

It’s incredibly easy for your service advisors – they simply search the library for the relevant video, and send it to the customer, in seconds.

Also handy for parents of teenagers to show them why their car actually DOES need a service if they don’t want to be stranded on the A39 at 10pm.

Customers understanding what the work on their car looks like, and why it’s needed are more likely to approve the repair – and trust your dealership. So you can increase technical knowledge, trust in your brand, satisfaction, and repair revenues – all in one fell swoop.

READ MORE: Vehicle Visuals integrates with CustomerLounge to increase revenue for dealers (

ENHANCED feature: Keyloop status sync

A cornerstone of CustomerLounge is that it links to your DMS to give service advisors a full picture of the customer without having to switch between systems. We’re excited to tell people that we’ve enhanced the sync with Keyloop to include automatic updating of job statuses in CustomerLounge.

This update eliminates the risk of service advisors working with out-of-date information on a customer’s job, and means that the customer can now see how things are going with their car, reducing the need for customers to chase for an update. A much requested update, it makes the running of your aftersales operation that much smoother – which means you can focus that much more on delighting customers.

Here’s what the customer sees when they check on their car.

ENHANCED feature: extended booking window

Once a customer is in CustomerLounge, you have opportunities to connect with them to improve their experience. You can give them reminders about their service, invite them to check in, or offer them value-add services like oil top-ups or service plans. So obviously, the sooner they are in the system, the better. We’ve updated the system so that, instead of loading customers in 14 days before their appointment, you can load them in a whopping 90 days in advance. That gives you more opportunity to keep your customers updated on their booking, set their expectations about what happens on the day, and to offer them relevant services to increase their satisfaction and your revenue.

You could even use all that extra time to pose for cheesy stock photos of people high-fiving, but we don't recommend it. 

ENHANCED feature: automated messaging

This one has been in for a while now, but it’s still worth shouting about. CustomerLounge dealers can create automated messages that they can send to their customers at various stages of their visit to the dealership.

These don’t replace the person-to-person chat that CustomerLounge is the centre of the CustomerLounge platform. We have two types of automated messages: ones that are triggered by events in the dealership, and templated messages that the advisors can tweak to personalise for customers. Event-based messages might be letting the customer know that their car is being looked at now, or is ready for collection, or introducing them to their service advisor when the car is dropped off. Templated messages might be for promotional campaigns, or providing general information about the dealership such as the drop-off process.

This is an “advisor handoff” message, introducing the customer to their service advisor for the day. It’s totally automated, but helps the customer feel like they aren’t totally alone.

With these messages, service advisors spend less time writing similar messages over and over again to different customers, and more time focusing on quality interactions with customers. Those customers also feel better looked after, as they are updated more frequently during their visit, without taxing your service advisors. In fact, 62% of the messages sent via CustomerLounge are now automated messages. That gives you an idea of how much more time they can save your service advisors by effortlessly keeping customers informed and further reducing phone calls.

And finally… OUR NEWEST FEATURE: EMaC integration

You likely have already heard of EMaC – a leading supplier of car service plans to the top 200 UK motor groups. And as of this week, EMaC service plans can be sold effortlessly through CustomerLounge.

Through automated messages and carefully timed campaigns, CustomerLounge offers your customers a service plan, and enables them to complete the transaction directly within the platform if they are interested. You still get the commission, but now you can promote and sell EMaC plans with minimum effort and in a channel your customers are already engaged in.

This is part of what the customer sees when they opt to “buy now.” The purchase takes place entirely within CustomerLounge through the EMaC widget.

We’ve built CustomerLounge to be smart about it, too. It automatically checks which of your customers already have service plans – so you won’t find you’re trying to sell to existing service plan customers – and can even remind customers when their plan is due to expire, boosting renewal rates.

Before this integration, we found that our personalised service plan offers typically had a 6% conversion rate, with our best-performing sites generating up to £8,500 per month in service plan leads. So now that the whole thing is better integrated, with a smoother path to purchase, we’re expecting that our dealers will do even better!

Stay tuned for more updates

Every quarter, we’ll be celebrating the hard work of our team and showing you how we continue to make life easier for our dealers and better for their customers. If you’re already a CustomerLounge dealer and want to know more about any of these updates, please get in touch with Customer Success by clicking here.

And if you’re not yet a CustomerLounger – but you’re interested in smashing customer satisfaction, increasing the effectiveness of your service advisors, and boosting aftersales revenue by as much as £10,000 per month – then click below to talk to us!

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