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Car giant expands customer check-in technology after successful trial

VOLKSWAGEN is to introduce an airport-style check-in system in its vehicle showrooms across the UK after the success of a pilot scheme.

The digital kiosks include functions such as self check-in and check-out, a locked key drop, and home check-in via SMS to the customer’s mobile phone. Digital payment via SMS links is also proving popular.

A successful pilot scheme last year saw eight Volkswagen sites use the system in a 16-week UK trial. A total of 12 Volkswagen UK retailers currently operate the digital check-in kiosks, with up to 50 sites expected to be using the technology by the end of 2021. 

One retailer in particular has embraced the technology wholeheartedly, with 81% of its customers checking in digitally and 55% checking out digitally.

The kiosks have been provided by reception software specialist Tjekvik. VW retailers have welcomed the initiative, saying it enables them to spend more time with customers. In turn, customers approve of features of the check-in kiosks such as the facility to remind customers of sundries such as wiper blades, air-con services, replacement carpet mats or fluid top-ups that may be forgotten between retailer visits.

Around a third of customers check in from home via text message, 47pc check in using the digital check-in kiosk, and the system fields a weekly average of 41 additional service plan enquiries.

Volkswagen UK director Andrew Savvas, speaking at the company’s UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, said: “An airport is arguably one of the most efficiency- and logistics-focused locations that people visit and digital check-in kiosks contribute to that considerably. Implementing a similar system in our retailers allows some of the organisational work to be dealt with digitally and frees up more time for both our customers and our retailer staff.”

The system also allows quick drop-offs, for example if someone needed to drop their keys off at the retailer on their way to work, he added.

“Add to this the elements of Covid safety and security and you have a surprisingly simple yet compelling addition to the traditional car retailer that benefits both the customer and the staff immensely, and fits with the brand’s digital connectivity ethos wholeheartedly.”

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