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The importance of industry collaboration

As the industry looks for digital solutions to help them adapt to the recent unprecedented challenges, it’s important that suppliers and retailers work together to maximise convenience for customers, and help drive dealer profitability.

It’s good to talk, as the phrase coined by BT told us in the 90s, but what Bob Hoskins didn’t reveal in the hugely successful TV advertising campaigns was the market re-defining notion behind those simple four words: ‘the reciprocation of confidences’.


The basis of this concept is that the exchange of ‘confidences’ between human beings leads to better communication and, in turn, deeper relationships. Now, 25 years on, this has never been more important, especially as the Covid-19 pandemic drives distance between families and communities, businesses and consumers. As a digital communications company in the business of bringing people together, we are more focused than ever on enabling the reciprocation of confidences.

As a whole, society has turned to digital solutions to help it adapt to the recent unprecedented challenges. From ecommerce to home working and video conferencing, we’re all more comfortable operating in the online world—and these new habits will last. In the automotive retail industry, CitNOW’s recorded and live video services have been essential tools for dealerships seeking to replicate the bond traditionally formed between customers and sales staff in the showroom—not to mention creating an emotional attachment to a vehicle.

In this new era of post-Covid retailing, businesses will have to work even harder to provide their customers with the affirmation they require to part with a large sum of money. Looking ahead, it’s vital that suppliers and retailers work more closely together to help the industry adjust to changing consumer behaviours, to maximise convenience for customers and help drive dealer profitability.

To help shape our product strategy in the past four months we created contactless round tables with leading motor groups to discuss what the industry needed to do to get through the crisis—and how we could help. The teams at CitNOW have quickly responded with developments which work in harmony with contactless strategies. These include the introduction of Live Video, which we accelerated the development and launch of as a result of our round table discussions, and remote desktop sharing in our Sales and Workshop products.

As the impact of the pandemic worsened, my colleagues quickly moved all of our CitNOW Academy training online and we retrained our trainers, to ensure new customers got started more quickly and existing customers received the latest, most relevant advice and best practice tips.

Additionally, we’re working to help retail networks and manufacturers communicate more easily between themselves, developing new products such as Video Vault. Currently being piloted by dealerships within the Volkswagen Group retail network, Video Vault works with our Workshop app, letting retailer staff drive efficiency in the warranty claims and technical support process..

We are continuing to seek new ways in which video can help us communicate with each other, however conversation and collaboration is just as important for technology, systems and automated processes as it is for humans. We currently host over 50 third-party systems integrations and will be expanding our Partnership Programme in the coming months, to help improve the car buying experience for consumers.

For example, our most recent integration with Auto Service Finance allows consumers to apply for zero interest multi-payment finance through the CitNOW Workshop app. What we share with Auto Service Finance is an ambition to further enhance trust, transparency and ultimately profitability at dealerships across the UK and globally. In the coming months we will be revealing a host of new partnerships, all resulting from the spirit of collaboration and a shared dedication to expanding the contactless customer experience.

The time will come when we are able to turn our attention back to industry megatrends, and we will be able to assess how our ‘new normal’ fits in with longstanding issues such as lowering vehicle emissions, changing mobility and car ownership models, big data and connectivity. Only by continuing to ‘reciprocate our confidences’ can we all adapt and grow towards these goals together, for the benefit of society and the entire automotive industry.

Three years prior to the introduction of Bob’s now well-worn catchphrase, Professor Steven Hawking implored us to ‘keep talking’, which is exactly what we intend to do. So why not get in touch with us today!