According to new RTC research, drivers feel it should be ‘business as usual’ for physical aftersales services once life resembles some form of normality again. This revelation comes in spite of retailers’ best efforts to digitalise their offering during the pandemic – adhering to social distancing and generally minimising in-person visits with the best and safest of intentions.

The RTC Consumer Survey 2020 results from 865 UK driver responses reveals that 75% of drivers would prefer a face-to-face key handover, while 66% still opt to discuss additional work requirements over the phone rather than online.

RTC Automotive has introduced a new software package where aftersales customers can check in digitally for a contactless handover. The outcome of the survey only goes to show that there’s still a lot of work for retailers to do to entice customers to adopt all things digital and thereby reap the rewards.

Richard Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at RTC Automotive, remarks: “As digital solutions become more powerful and more widely used in the aftermarket, we have work to do to communicate the transparency, safety and convenience benefits they give to customers.

“Our data indicates that drivers are interested in new technology, but either dealerships aren’t offering the right solutions, or customers simply don’t know about them.”

A recent study by What Car? found that 90% of car buyers are not put off by Covid restrictions, instead preferring to go to the dealership to research or buy their next car.

The RTC survey also found that more than a quarter (28%) of Brits would like to digitally check their car into a main dealership for a service or repair, while a third would feel happy communicating with their franchised dealer via an app.

Car buyers are, understandably, also comforted to have proof that their car has been fully sanitised during the current virus crisis, a survey by eBay Motors reports.

As for the possibility of using more digital methods for vehicle repair, 33% of motorists stated that they want live service updates via email or SMS, while 51% would prefer to hear from the dealership about a due service through the same digital channels, rather than make contact themselves to book their own appointment.

Robinson said: “Digitalisation needs to be part of a joined-up experience for the customer, integrating new technologies with the personal forms of communication that customers still value. This is possible, but only with the right software support and training.

“With a concerted effort to educate consumers and promote the use of digital solutions, dealerships will be able to fully realise the benefits of digitalization, in terms of both encouraging repeat business and opening new revenue streams.”