The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected every form of business, some even worse than others. To survive, one must adapt to the “new normal,” and perhaps one industry that was quickly able to adapt even quicker than others is the automotive industry. Immediately after the pandemic first struck the country, dealers used the opportunity provided by the lockdowns to adapt to the looming challenge caused by an invisible enemy. It’s one thing for dealers to proudly show off their health standards, but it’s another thing when it comes to implementation. For this piece, we’ll be talking about what’s it like to have my car serviced at Mazda Sta. Rosa.
By now, you are probably already familiar that all car dealers do not allow walk-ins when it comes to preventive maintenance. You either have to give them a call or message them online in order to set an appointment. Other car brands even go as far as having a dedicated online system in order to manage their bookings. The main purpose of these measures is clear–to limit the number of people inside the dealer.
Once you have set your schedule, stick to it religiously to maintain social distancing. Going to the dealer too late will most likely lead to the cancellation of your appointment altogether. Don’t arrive too early either as dealers proactively limit the number of people inside the dealer to easily enforce social distancing measures.
It is important to remove all of your non-essential knick-knacks before having your car serviced. Apart from the usual reasons such as the fear of theft, items left inside the car are more things for the dealer to worry about when they disinfect your car. Dealers normally disinfect the common touchpoints inside your car before and after service as part of their health protocols.
Don’t be shy when you ask them about their health protocols if that will help ease your mind. For even more added peace of mind, you can avail an antibac or sanitation service–for a fee of course. In the case of Mazda Sta. Rosa, the antibac service costs an additional P800 and adds about 15 minutes to the duration of your vehicle’s servicing time. Do note, however, that this is not an incentive for you not to wash your hands or take off your mask at any point until you get home. Follow the government’s minimum health standards such as wearing face masks, face shields, and don’t be stingy with your alcohol or hand sanitizer.
Once inside, the service advisors will generally relay to you a summary of what’s going to happen to your car in a matter of minutes as a means to reduce their physical contact with the customers. It is important to note, however, that there are some dealers that don’t allow customers to wait inside the dealer for a long period of time. Better ask them first regarding this. As for Mazda Sta. Rosa, their customer lounge has already been arranged in a way that it complies with social distancing measures. My house is just one jump away from the dealer so I just returned home and went on with my usual workflow while I wait for my car.
Two hours later, my car’s preventive maintenance is done and I walked back to the dealer to claim my car. The antibac service left a light but fragrant scent inside my 2018 Mazda 6 Sports Wagon. Of course, before leaving the dealer, you have to pay for the service they’ve done to your vehicle. However, in my case, since I own a two and a half-year-old Mazda, my preventive maintenance is still free. Mazda’s free maintenance program also means there’s less of a need for customers to part with their cash. This lessens the chance of transmitting COVID-19 from one person to another in the event that the physical cash has been contaminated.
Speaking of cash, while cashless payment options such as credit cards have always been in place in dealers for the longest time now, a lot of dealers nowadays have begun implementing more contactless payment options such as GrabPay or even through online bank deposit prior to setting foot inside the dealership.
As a whole, dealerships were able to quickly adapt to this new normal. With the challenges brought by the ongoing pandemic, a number of dealers were also able to use this opportunity to improve the quality of their services. While I’ve never had any qualms with Mazda Sta. Rosa and Mazda Makati in the past, this pandemic has improved the efficiency of their operations.
Since everyone is now required to set an appointment with their dealer prior to having their car serviced, everything now runs like clockwork. A lot more people are committed to their appointments than ever before, which means service advisors don’t have to constantly revise their scheduling in order to simply accommodate a walk-in customer. The need to lessen physical contact also means that dealers have structured their services in a way that it also reduced the turnaround time of all of their services. After all, a quicker and more efficient service means less risk of being infected, right?