The term ‘candid camera’ takes on new meaning from this week as Audi Centre technicians across the UK double as pioneering ‘Audi Cam’ film producers to further the brand’s quest for absolute clarity and transparency in its customer relationships.
The new Audi Cam service will be the first in the world to enable technicians carrying out workshop inspections to focus hand-held ‘Audi Cams’ on specific problems, to deliver verbal diagnoses and to send the resulting film clips to customers’ home computers or smartphones before any work begins.
The Audi Cam is a small, hand-held video camera capable of delivering high quality footage with excellent sound quality. Audi Approved technicians, all of whom have undergone tailor-made training, will use it first to visually and verbally identify a customer’s car on film after conducting an initial inspection. They will then pinpoint and clearly explain any problems found, and then propose solutions to those problems.
Each problem identified – for example brake pad wear or illegal tyre tread depth – is filmed as an individual clip to minimise file size and reduce ‘buffering’, and in as little as three minutes can then be incorporated into a web page that is exclusive to the customer involved. A secure link to that page is then emailed to the customer, who has sole access to it using a unique PIN number which is sent separately by text message to their mobile phone. The page is optimised for compatibility with home computers and smartphones, so its full functionality is available ‘on-the-move’.
The page contains the relevant film clip or clips, and grades each problem as either ‘urgent’, ‘advisory’ or ‘for info’ to give the customer a clear idea of its severity. It also provides a VAT-inclusive price quotation for each job, along with action buttons that enable the customer to authorise the Centre to proceed with it at the price quoted, to reject the work or to request a call back to discuss it.
Once the customer has added all the jobs he or she wants to proceed with to the ‘shopping basket’, they can authorise the Centre to begin the work by re-entering their unique PIN number. Before doing this, they can even gain some insight into the team which will be working on the car by viewing personal service team profiles posted on their page.
Audi Cam is an evolution of the Direct Reception technology rolled out across the Audi Centre network last year. Direct Reception gives customers audio visual access to their cars from the comfort of the Audi Centre reception area as they are worked on by technicians equipped with head-mounted cameras and two-way audio links. They are free to talk to the technicians directly, and service advisors are on hand to answer any questions that arise. The Direct Reception programme continues alongside this latest development and has a very similar objective – to instil even greater customer confidence not only in the legitimacy of each diagnosis but also the integrity and unparalleled product knowledge of Audi trained technicians.
Paul Sansom, Head of Aftersales and Service for Audi UK, welcomed the advances made by this new initiative: “Audi is unquestionably an innovator where its cars are concerned, and I’m delighted that we’re now also making real headway in advancing the art of looking after those cars and their drivers. By effectively beaming the workshop to our customers’ homes or smartphones, Audi Cam greatly simplifies the service and repair process, and at the same time breaks down more of the barriers between the service bay and the customer that have traditionally fostered scepticism and suspicion. This is genuine progress through technology in the best tradition of Vorsprung durch Technik.”
For more information: www.audi.co.uk