If you bring your Renault into any dealer in the U.K. for service, you will receive a custom video by email or text detailing any necessary repairs.
The technician shows customers a side of their vehicle that they may have never seen before. A video of worn brake rotors, seized calipers or other problem creates a new sense of trust between the customer and the dealership.
Similarly, if you inquire about a car seen online, a salesperson will film a personalized vehicle inspection that is sent to your computer or mobile device.
Renault’s company-owned stores were early adopters of the CitNOW workshop and showroom applications. The early success of the system led Renault to roll out CitNOW’s technology across its dealer network.
Headquartered roughly 50 kilometres west of London in Wokingham, CitNOW got its start in 2008 with a pilot project for Honda U.K. Since then, the company’s automotive video application has been installed in over 5,000 dealerships worldwide representing 31 manufacturers.
You still can’t buy a Renault in Canada, but thanks to Autoloyalty, the CitNOW system is now available in Canada. Autoloyalty is a dealership-focused sales and marketing company in Milton, Ontario.
“Autoloyalty became the distributor for CitNOW in April 2016, explained Amanda Troupe, CitNOW brand manager. “The video system is already up and running in a number of dealerships here, including BMW, MINI, Honda and General Motors.”
Autoloyalty has started out offering CitNOW’s workshop and showroom applications in the Canadian marketplace. In the U.K., CitNOW has spun off four additional applications with body shop, OEM, web and trade-in videos.
“The workshop video has been shown to be a powerful tool for increasing CSI and service department sales,” Troupe said. “A video of the necessary repair provides transparency, it helps keeps the car in the shop and on the hoist the first time.”
Once the technician has completed a service inspection, they use a smartphone, microphone and handheld tripod combination to shoot a one-minute video of the recommended repairs.
In the case of a scheduled warranty service, a video showing the completed service items can be filmed.
“In this digital age where video has become a dominant online marketing tool, it makes sense to break down the barrier between the customer and the technician working their vehicle,” she added.
According to Mario Alpopii, service manager at MINI Downtown, CitNOW has definitely helped CSI and sales.
“Customers can see their car from our level,” he said. “The system builds a better level of trust between ourselves and the customer, it’s future of automotive service going forward.”
The showroom application uses the same simple setup to allow a salesperson to shoot a two-minute custom walkaround video for the customer.
The CitNOW showroom application also allows the salesperson to create follow up videos once a customer has come in for a test drive.
“Sending a custom video goes beyond still photos and build sheets,” Troupe said. “It creates a personal connection with the potential customer.”
Much has been written about of the death of the traditional showroom in the digital world. With customers having already thoroughly researched the vehicle online, Troupe said CitNOW is giving dealers the technology to increase showroom traffic and to re-establish the human feel lost to the web.
The videos from the workshop and showroom applications can be held for management approval are then sent through the CitNOW servers within one minute. The customer receives a link to a branded dealer or manufacturer landing page to view the video.
Once the video is exported, it is “100 per cent” traceable by the dealership. CitNOW analytics allow mangers to see when the video was opened, how long and how many times it was watched and shared.
“We know that customers are watching the video multiple times, showing to other people and forwarding to friends, giving dealers powerful word of mouth advertising,” she added.
Monthly cost of the applications is $895 to $1,095 depending on the number of users. The initial set up and training is approximately $3,000 not including video equipment.