Serving a market with ever-increasing demands for faster service and greater transparency, Daimler Trucks North America’s Aftermarket business launched several new initiatives to elevate dealer support and customer experience with the ultimate goal of offering a 24-hour service turnaround.
Aside from catastrophic failures, engine rebuilds or major accident repairs, about 56 percent of Freightliner dealerships consistently achieve a 24-hour service turnaround, and 80 percent of repairs throughout DTNA’s entire service network are done within 24 hours, said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of Aftermarket.
“Our customers have diverse products and businesses, and we want to help them be successful by providing solutions that create efficiencies and value,” said Kurschner. “We believe [24-hour-or-less turnaround] is a feasible goal, but we need to make it nationwide,” he said, adding customer expectations of “Tell me more, tell me sooner, fix my truck faster” will require “communication, transparency and the right tools.”
A key part of DTNA’s service strategy is its parts distribution network. The opening of its ninth parts distribution center last month in Des Moines, Iowa, allows DTNA to supply 80 percent of its dealer network with next-day parts delivery. Kurschner announced DTNA will open its 10th PDC next year in Phoenix, bringing its next-day delivery coverage to 90 percent of its dealer network. The Phoenix facility will be the fourth new PDC in DTNA’s network in the last two years.
“Having and delivering the right parts for our customers when and where they need them, as quickly as possible, is essential to uptime and achieving the 24-hour or less repair turnaround time,” said Kurschner. “Our expansive service network and strategically located parts distribution centers are critical to that goal.”
To help achieve its 24-hour turnaround promise and improve customer communications during a service event, DTNA debuted Service Tracker, the latest component in its uptime management software suite that also includes Express WriteUp, Uptime Pro and Uptime Performance.
Coming September 1, Service Tracker is a web-based (and mobile-friendly) application that integrates with its fellow software components to provide transparency to the customer as to the status of a truck repair throughout the service process. Kurschner said 90 percent of all trucks in DTNA’s service network will be visible.
The Service Tracker app automatically tracks the truck during the repair process and logs each status change with timestamps to measure dealer performance. From the landing page, fleet customers can customize text and email notifications for repair estimate quotes, pickup notices and various status changes throughout the repair process.
A Work Notes section provides a chat field for dealer, technician and customer to communicate in real time, reducing inbound phone calls to the dealership by as much as 40 percent.
“The flow of accurate and timely information throughout the repair process is essential, and our team wants to use digital tools and available data to cultivate communications,” said Kurschner. “Service Tracker provides customers real-time information, so they can make the best decisions for their truck, driver and load.”
Enhanced retail parts strategy
A year after announcing two retail parts stores for its Alliance Truck Parts brand, DTNA plans to expand the concept using a two-pronged strategy that will provide customers with a retail store experience inside dealer locations as well as stand-alone sites.
“We realized we need experts in opening up retail stores,” said John Finn, director of aftermarket marketing for Daimler Trucks North America, reflecting on the experience from the 2017 concept launch. Alliance Truck Parts now has partnered with a retail consulting firm to help dealers set up a better retail customer experience. “Each store we open there is an assessment to see what we could do better from a product standpoint and merchandising standpoint and try to make sure the next store opening is better than the one before.
Alliance Truck Parts currently has 52 product lines and plans to increase that to 80 in the next 18 to 24 months. “We are in a journey to substantially increase the Alliance Truck Parts portfolio,” said Kurschner. “Just this year we have launched a total of 15 product lines and thousands of parts.”