Original Press Release
ATX Introduces In-Vehicle Audio Messaging to Facilitate Ongoing Contact with Vehicle Owners, Dealers, Manufacturers
Press release date: March 24, 2009
Leading Connected Vehicle Services Provider Offers New Voice Channel Enabling Automakers, Dealerships to Advance Customer Relationship Management
DALLAS, March 24 -- To maximize parts and service revenue that can comprise 60 percent of their net profit, most automobile dealerships attempt to generate business with their current customers via service promotion postcards, warranty renewal phone calls and scheduled maintenance e-mail reminders.
ATX, one of the world's leading providers of customized connected vehicle (or telematics) services to global automobile manufacturers, maintains there's a more efficient and effective way for auto dealerships and manufacturers to stay close to their mutual customers who buy their products and services. The optimal time to provide drivers with vehicle-related information - especially time-sensitive maintenance reminders - is when the owner is behind the wheel and most aware of their vehicle's performance. That's the basic principle behind ATX's patent-pending, interactive voice recognition (IVR), in-vehicle, voice messaging service.
Automobile dealerships are increasingly relying upon parts and service revenues to offset depressed vehicle sales. With preliminary dealership analysis showing in-vehicle IVR notifications resulting in 5-6 times more "repairs scheduled" than direct mailing notifications, ATX is optimistic the demand for IVR services will increase.
Over the past year, in addition to in-vehicle service reminders for holiday travel, winter, spring and summer maintenance checks, ATX has introduced a variety of audio messaging services that include notifications of manufacturer promotions, local dealer promotions and premium service demonstrations. In one instance, drivers of a specific vehicle model were invited to register for a free test drive of the new 2009 version of the vehicle model they currently leased or owned.
"It's a very effective, personal, real-time communications tool that's been well received by vehicle owners - we've seen more than 90 percent choose to retain the voice messaging service," noted Amy Villeneuve, executive vice president of Marketing, Strategy and Product Innovation.
The user experience is analogous to listening to a hands-free wireless phone conversation.
"It's like getting a personal voice mail from your service manager, reminding you your car is due for servicing," said Dr. Tom Schalk, vice president of Voice Technology.
Through the interactive voice recognition interface, the driver can elect to hear more, stop the message at anytime or establish a direct, in-vehicle connection to a preferred dealership to arrange service. Vehicle owners always have the ability to opt out of receiving the messages.
Specific audio messages can be stored at ATX's telematics response center and activated by off-board intelligence. Time, vehicle location, remote diagnostics, a promotional event, or even a nearby point of interest can be designated as a trigger. Since the platform is off-board, the application and message content can easily be modified without changing any in-vehicle hardware or software.
Additional opportunities for criteria-based messaging are very promising, particularly for promoting in-vehicle safety, such as directions for the proper installation of specific child safety seats; educating vehicle owners about unused vehicle features; or alerting drivers of location-specific weather, incident or road/traffic in their vicinity or along their route. The system can also serve as a bellwether to auto manufacturers and dealers about a faulty or undesirable component that is inciting customer dissatisfaction, giving them a much earlier opportunity to institute a remedy and minimize the potential for customer attrition. The system also enables the dealer and manufacturer to maintain uninterrupted communication with subsequent owners of the vehicle.
"We view this as the ideal way that our dealership - from sales to service - can have a continual presence with our customers and a continual link with the vehicle over its lifetime," said Kim Patterson, general manager of Ewing Autohaus in Plano, Texas, which is conducting a new pilot project with the IVR program.
ATX Group (www.atxg.com) is one of the world's leading providers of customized, connected vehicle services to global automobile manufacturers. ATX pioneered connected vehicle services in 1996, and today provides innovative safety, security, communication, navigation and information services to vehicle owners through many of world's most distinguished automotive brands, including Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
ATX also customizes services to help automobile manufacturers and their affiliated dealerships use telematics data and multiple customer contact channels to reduce costs, enhance vehicle servicing, and more closely manage customer relationships and contacts with the vehicle through its lifetime. ATX operates from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
ATX is a division of Cross Country Automotive Services (www.crosscountry-auto.com), a leading provider of mobile assistance services to motorists and enhanced claims management services to automobile insurance carriers.