Car servicing trends in India have changed over the last decade. Toyota Kirloskar Motors is one of the leading players in Indian Automobile Industry. Toyota is known for delivering “Quality” service to its customers, it also runs an exclusive servicing program known as 'Express Maintenance Service' (EMS) in which a customer is served in less than an hour’s time. CarDekho featured the interview of Mr. PK Umashankar from Ford India about changing trends in car servicing in India. Continuing the series CarDekho team took views of Mr. Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director, Marketing from Toyota Kirloskar Motor on these changes in car servicing industry and an insight on Toyota’s servicing methodology for our esteemed readers.
Do you think there is a paradigm shift in car servicing in India over the past few years?
SS: Yes, we have come long way as you can see, nowadays for customers after-sales service experience along with cost of ownership is among the most important purchase criteria. This is one of the major reasons why there is an additional thrust on after-sales service by Toyota (rapid expansion of dealer network, Innovative solutions like Quick Service with High Quality & more focus on Qualified Manpower Development through tie up with ITI’s through Toyota-Technical Education Programme).Therefore Toyota has introduced Q Service as its customer commitment with focus on Quick, Qualified & Quality Service for ensuring pride of ownership.
What are the strategies which should be taken up by leading OEM’s in India to ensure customer retention post warranty period?
SS: Post Warranty is a very crucial period for any OEM as that is the time when the customer goes out of the fold of the warranty. All Toyota cars come with 100,000 Km / 3 Year factory warranty [whichever is earlier], which ensures that customer’s remain covered for longer duration of time. In addition to that even the parts replaced during service come with 10,000 Km / 6 months warranty [whichever is earlier].We also provide special service package like ‘Smiles Toyota Value Pack’ which is a pre paid maintenance programme with special attractive offers. This can be availed of by the customer after the completing the warranty period. We also offer Maintenance Reminder Service , which ensures that the customers are reminded of the periodic maintenance by the dealerships, to ensure the vehicles is serviced regularly helping in efficient running of the vehicle. Post Warranty a host of initiatives are available for our customers like Free Car Evaluation and attractive exchange Bonus through U-Trust, which will ensure repurchase, value added sales & will make your customer stay with your brand for long.
What are the main expectations of the Indian customers, when it comes to car servicing? How these needs are getting responded?
SS: They want quick turnaround time for car servicing with fix it right first time which is only possible when you have hi-end diagnostic and servicing tools and specialized manpower. Another key expectation is that the customer expectations are fulfilled and the final cost should be as close as possible to the estimate given to the customer before the repairs as India is a cost sensitive market.
How do you see the prospects of car servicing in India as the car sales figures are increasing day by day? What changes you think at OEM level need to be introduced to cater this growing market?
SS: New car sales have reinforced the need for after sales services. To match the servicing demand there is an immediate need of rapid network expansion in both urban & rural markets. This year Toyota is also going Rural to enhance its reach to the untapped markets. As the emerging middle class is the driver of growth in the Indian passenger car market, the efforts of all OEMs need to be directed towards easy reach to dealerships, quick turnaround for car servicing with the best customer care service. Realizing the same Toyota introduced Quick service in 60 Minutes called Express Maintenance Service for general servicing .The most important factors here are the skill level and continuous training. In order to ensure this we have tied up with 26 ITI’s through Toyota Technical Education Program [T-TEP] in General, Body & Paint and Service Advisor Categories.
Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) started offering Express Maintenance Service (EMS) back in 2009, in which a customer is served in 1hour’s time. What all schedule service checkups are taken under EMS? Currently in how many centers EMS being offered? How are the customer responses for same?
SS: Express Maintenance Service (EMS) is a revolutionary concept, introduced in 2005, for general service. Since then we have been in the pursuit of perfecting the same. In Express Maintenance Service three specially trained technicians work in a synchronized manner, using high-tech tools and equipments to complete the periodic car service, with select additional jobs, in less than 60 minutes at no additional cost. The customer’s response to Express Maintenance Service is has been really good and now all our service outlets offer the same to customers from first day of their transactions.
If a customer comes for EMS, and if the service centre finds any issue in the car, then what could be done? Will the customer get a vehicle for temporary usage if the service period is long? Some auto makers have begun this service. Is Toyota also providing the same?
SS: Our customer’s can avail the Express Maintenance Service with prior appointment at our service outlets to get their periodic service done within 60 minutes. However, if the service center finds any issue upon checking the vehicle, which is beyond the scope of EMS, the customer is informed about the time required to fix it, based on the criticality of the issue. The customer is free to wait if he chooses to. Currently many of our dealers are also providing free drop to the customer’s desired location if customers do not wish to wait for the required time beyond 60 minutes. In case the car needs to stay on the dealer premises for multiple days, which is unlikely for general jobs; based on mutual consent a loaner car can be arranged on case to case basis.
Toyota’s Innova is one of the most favored fleet vehicles in Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment. Do you offer any special packages for servicing to fleet owners?
SS: We do have various programmes for the fleet owners to enhance their customer experience. We conduct driver training programmes to promote safe driving. We also have dedicated manpower and base to ensure fast delivery of the vehicle after servicing, in keeping with the special needs of the fleet owners. We also offer special programmes like ‘Smiles Toyota Value Pack’ which can be customized based on customer’s vehicle running pattern for both fleet as well as individual car owners.
Now in India, owning a car is more important than buying a car. What are your views on this? How is the cost of ownership of Toyota’s cars?
SS: In this emerging market scenario, the customers are highly demanding, well informed and have many choices. So it is very important that vehicle has good mileage and high quality parts which will lead to a delightful cost of ownership experience [COO]. Toyota’s approach towards COO is very holistic and we believe COO comprise of intangible and tangible aspects. Therefore, Toyota promises this waku - doki experience by emphasizing stringent quality adherence during vehicle production and high quality parts [Long replacement interval] at a reasonable cost which ensures low cost of ownership.
A few stand outs would be Super Long Life Coolant [160,000 Km replacement], High grade Engine oil customized for Toyota vehicle [Grade 5W30]. In addition to above, Toyota cars also fetch a huge resale value because of its reliability and high standards of service maintained at its dealership.