This year marks the 20th anniversary of Scania Assistance, our global lifeline for trucks, buses and engines. Helping drivers when their vehicles break down… and much more besides.
Shhh, whisper it: even our ultra-reliable Scania trucks, buses and engines break down from time to time. And if you’re a driver who’s on the road far from home, you need the best possible care from people who always put the customer first and know what’s expected of a Scania vehicle.
Step forward Scania Assistance, our round-the-clock network of around 150 unsung heroes in 14 different service centres around the globe. This Scania-run lifeline, which turns 20 years old in 2018, has been helping Scania drivers in more than 50 different countries get their vehicles into the nearest workshop and back on the road as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Why Scania Assistance matters
Scania Assistance began when Scania recognised there was a need for a single point of contact to help customers who found themselves in a broken-down vehicle many miles from home, often in a different country, and in doing so bring our customers closer to us.
Our assistance centres in places as far flung as Sweden, the UK, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa and Russia help customers to minimise unplanned downtime and operational cost, directing business to the Scania network of service workshops. That way the quality of the service is assured and Scania’s revenue is increased.
“Those first few minutes are vital,” says Lars Grufman, the Commercial Manager of Scania Assistance since 2005. “We are helping people when they really need us most, and we can help their business if our teams can help them find a quick solution to their problem. In fact, my sales colleagues often tell me that they sell the first vehicle and Scania Assistance sells the second.”
With a central administrative office in Södertälje, Scania Assistance also deals with invoice handling, complaints, advice and information, bookings, and insurance and accident matters. One good sign is that of the near 200,000 cases Scania Assistance handles each year, relatively few turn into customer complaints, and fewer still are cross-border complaints. And when a cross-border matter needs attention, the head office in Södertälje is able to turn it around within 15 days, compared to the 65-day period of a few years ago.
A wealth of customer data
As Scania has developed from heavy vehicle manufacturing to transport solutions provision, Scania Assistance has developed too. Each new truck generation sees technology and services become more complex, while Scania’s embrace of digitalisation is providing a wealth of customer data. It’s a subject close to Lars’s heart, as he includes the development of new markets and services in his portfolio.
“We’ve seen a huge increase and improvement in the data that we have on our customers over the past decade; we now have availability across 95% of the whole market. The data allows us to speak to the customer in need and more often than not know just from their registration number what their profile is, their vehicle information, their security, service contracts and so on.
“Then, every evening we enter the new data we have obtained onto our customer database. This data has great potential for us to refine our services in each market, and having this service in-house means our customers can trust us with this information. ”
The sky’s the limit for Scania Assistance
That said, in this day and age, quality customer data and feedback are much sought-after commodities for a customer-focused, cost-efficient company like Scania. Various central functions take a close interest in Scania Assistance’s findings and Lars admits that the team often finds itself in great demand.
As the service continues to develop and broaden its range of functions, based on the ever-growing data lake that Scania possesses, Lars is confident about the future. “The sky’s the limit for Scania Assistance,” he says, “but the main challenge is for us to deal with all these possibilities while maintaining our core capability of assisting customer breakdowns.”
It helps to be service-minded though. “We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. The role we have is to support the customer when a breakdown happens. The second role is to take responsibility for it not to happen again, and the majority of the changes can be made in the network, using feedback that we give them. That way we can make a real difference to our customers’ business.”
• Founded in 1998, Scania Assistance Södertälje was the first centre, handling 5,220 cases in seven markets
• In 2018, 14 Assistance Centres serving more than 50 markets
• Around 150 staff
• Operator assistance in 25 languages
• Around 900 service workshops available on a 24-hour basis
• Assistance centres in: Koblenz (DE), Bradford (GB), Brussels (BE), Madrid (ES), Södertälje (SE), Bratislava (SK), São Paulo (BA), Buenos Aires (AR), Sofia (BG), Moscow (RU), Bucharest (RO), Kuala Lumpur (MY), Johannesburg (ZA), Bangkok (TH).