Daimler improving service experience

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YOUNTVILLE, Ca. — The aftermarket side of Daimler Trucks North America is aiming to set a new standard in customer service by strengthening its 24-hour-or-less service turnaround promise, adding new digital tools, enlarging its supply chain, and launching a major expansion of its Alliance Truck Parts enterprise. The company says its new retail strategy will benefit customers at every touch point.

“Our customers have diverse products and businesses, and we want to help them be successful by providing solutions that create efficiencies and value,” said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of aftermarket activities. “Our goals are ambitious. At the heart of everything we do is communication, speed and transparency, and our evolution positions us to achieve our goals.”

Kurschner noted that DTNA and its network have collaborated to develop new systems and processes to create the “ideal customer experience.” Recently, DTNA’s Elite Support network – which includes more than 280 certified dealers – spearheaded an effort to narrow the repair-time window to 24 hours. He said 56% of its dealers achieve that goal today. The Elite Support initiative has been in place for nearly 10 years

Maximizing uptime and creating a superior customer experience starts with clear and timely communications, he said.

“Keeping customers informed every step of the way during a service event is one of the most important things we can do,” Kurschner added.

The new DTNA Service Tracker is a web-based, mobile-compatible application that enables customers to track their service in real time, on demand. Customers can opt to receive notifications about the repair status of their vehicle, review and approve estimates, and communicate in real time with the service location.

“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. Service Tracker provides customers real-time information so they can make the best decisions for their truck, driver and load,” Kurschner said.

Service Tracker is a component of DTNA’s suite of uptime management tools that streamline communications between customers and the dealer network. Express Write-Up, UptimePro, and Uptime Performance are among the data-driven applications that work together to help dealers initiate, execute, and manage their service processes.

On the supply chain front, in early 2019 DTNA will open its 10th parts distribution center in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area. A second Canadian PDC location is coming soon too, likely in the Toronto area, next year. NAFTA  negotiations may complicate that effort, Kurschner said. There is presently a PDC in Calgary.

The facility in Phoenix will be the fourth parts distribution center opened by DTNA in just over two years. DTNA has also recently opened new parts distribution center in Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Dallas.

“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.”

At Alliance Truck Parts, more than 15 new product lines are scheduled to launch over the next several months, as well as new retail locations both in dealerships and at stand-alone locations. The all-makes, “value-priced” segment is a particular focus for DTNA’s product strategy. A “value-priced” product is one that offers the same quality and functionality as a genuine OE part but will last for, says, 500,000 miles instead of a million. Its lower price is attractive to customers who don’t need longevity.

“We already have a strong product portfolio that extends over 50 lines. Now, between the new product lines and our strategically architected retail approach, Alliance will not only be the all-makes brand of choice but will provide an exceptional retail experience that meets customers where they are and when they need us the most,” said Kurschner.

Brad Williamson, manager of Alliance Truck Parts, says that by 2020, Alliance will launch more than 80 product lines, many new stand-alone retail stores will open, and several dealer storefronts will be established.

“We have the industry’s largest network, and we have an impressive depth of products and service capabilities, but we’re just getting started,” said Kurschner. “Our commitment to all of our customers, especially Freightliner, Western Star, Detroit, Thomas Built Bus, and Freightliner Custom Chassis, drives us to keep raising the bar. And that will never end.”

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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