Speaking to the TechGraph, Mridu Mahendra Das, Co-founder and CEO of Automovill spoke about how technology and digitalization have revolutionized the Indian automobile service landscape, and how it is leveraging digital solutions to deliver tailored auto services to customers.
Read the complete interview:
TechGraph: Automovill has made significant strides in India’s automobile service sector. Could you share some insights into how the company has successfully navigated the challenges and opportunities in this competitive market?
Mridu Mahendra Das: Navigating the challenges and opportunities in India’s competitive automobile service sector has been an incredible journey. When we started Automovill in 2016, the concept of an online B2C aggregator for auto repair and maintenance services was relatively new. Convincing customers to trust multi-brand services through a digital platform was a significant challenge.
However, we believed in the transformative power of technology and data-driven insights, and we remained steadfast in our mission. One of the key challenges we faced was introducing transparency and accountability into the industry.
Vehicle owners were often left frustrated and dissatisfied with inconsistent and unreliable service from traditional workshops. To tackle this, we implemented rigorous partner selection processes, ensuring that we collaborated only with reputable workshops and service providers.
Additionally, we embraced customer feedback as a critical tool for improvement. By actively seeking and analyzing feedback, we identified pain points and iteratively refined our processes to meet customer expectations. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic presented an unexpected setback for us and the entire industry.
However, we quickly adapted by implementing necessary safety protocols to protect both our customers and technicians. Our commitment to ensuring a safe and hygienic service experience reinforced trust with our customers during challenging times.
One of the notable opportunities we recognized early on was the emerging electric vehicle (EV) market. We proactively ventured into the EV segment, focusing on providing specialized maintenance and support for EVs. This move positioned Automovill as a trusted partner in the growing EV market, opening up new avenues for growth and expansion.
Technological innovation has been central to our success. By leveraging AI/ML-driven predictive, preventive, and prescriptive maintenance solutions, we have delivered personalized and efficient services to our customers. Embracing digitization, we introduced contactless service options, making the service process more convenient and safe for our customers.
Above all, our dedicated team played a pivotal role in navigating the challenges and seizing opportunities. The passion, determination, and commitment of every team member have been instrumental in building Automovill’s success. Today, we are proudly present in 20 cities catering to 2000+ customers every month.
TechGraph: Could you shed light on the impact of digitalization and technology adoption within the Indian automobile service sector? How has Automovill utilized technology to enhance its operations and customer experience?
Mridu Mahendra Das: The impact of digitalization and technology adoption within the Indian automobile service sector has been transformative, revolutionizing the way services are delivered and experienced. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and internet connectivity, consumers now expect convenience, transparency, and efficiency in their interactions with service providers. This has driven the automotive industry to adopt digital solutions to meet these evolving customer demands.
Automovill recognized the immense potential of technology early on and embraced it as a core driver of our operations and customer experience. Our technology-driven approach has been instrumental in enhancing various aspects of our business. For instance, our online platform allows customers to book services at their convenience. The booking process is user-friendly and provides real-time availability, giving customers the flexibility to choose a suitable time and date for their service.
Similarly, our unified platform ensures complete transparency throughout the service process. Customers can track their service requests in real-time, access detailed invoices, and analyze the cost of each repair. This level of transparency fosters trust and confidence in our services.
Additionally, by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, we offer predictive, preventive, and prescriptive maintenance solutions. Our technology predicts potential maintenance needs for different car models, enabling us to address issues before they escalate, saving customers time and money.
Moreover, the adoption of technology has not only improved the customer experience but has also increased the efficiency and productivity of our operations. It has enabled us to scale our business rapidly, reaching a larger customer base and catering to a diverse range of stakeholders within the automotive ecosystem.
TechGraph: What are the key factors that have contributed to Automovill’s growth and success in the Indian market?
Mridu Mahendra Das: Several key factors have played a pivotal role in Automovill’s remarkable growth and success in the Indian automobile service market. First and foremost, our unwavering commitment to customer-centricity has been central to our achievements. By placing customer satisfaction at the core of our operations, we have consistently strived to provide top-notch services, transparent pricing, and seamless experiences, earning the trust and loyalty of our valued customers.
Additionally, technology has been a driving force behind our success. From the early stages, we recognized the transformative power of digitalization and embraced technology as an integral part of our business model. Through AI/ML-driven solutions, predictive maintenance capabilities, and a unified platform, we have streamlined processes, enhanced efficiency, and delivered personalized services to our customers, staying ahead of the curve in a fast-evolving industry. Automovill’s emphasis on innovation has also been a key factor in our growth.
From pioneering the concept of an online B2C aggregator for auto repair and maintenance services to expanding into the electric vehicle segment, we have consistently explored new avenues and adapted to market trends. Our dynamic approach to innovation has allowed us to identify opportunities, cater to emerging needs, and make meaningful contributions to the automotive after-sales ecosystem. The geographical expansion has been another critical factor contributing to our growth.
By strategically expanding our presence to multiple cities, we have tapped into diverse markets and broadened our reach, serving a larger customer base and forging partnerships with various stakeholders.
More importantly, our dedicated and skilled team has been instrumental in driving our success. We have nurtured a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning, attracting passionate individuals who share our vision and values. Our team’s collective expertise and commitment have enabled us to navigate challenges and maintain service excellence.
TechGraph: How does the company maintain a strong customer base and ensure customer loyalty?
Mridu Mahendra Das: As aforementioned, maintaining a strong customer base and ensuring customer loyalty are paramount priorities at Automovill. We achieve this through a combination of exceptional service delivery, personalized experiences, and continuous engagement.
Our unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction is reflected in every aspect of our operations. From the moment a customer books a service with us, we prioritize transparency, clear communication, and timely updates throughout the process.
By providing real-time tracking of service requests and detailed cost breakdowns, we empower our customers with complete visibility and peace of mind. In addition, we place great emphasis on personalized experiences.
Our AI/ML-driven platform enables us to offer predictive, preventive, and prescriptive maintenance solutions, tailoring services to each vehicle’s specific needs. By anticipating maintenance requirements and proactively addressing potential issues, we ensure that our customers’ vehicles receive the care they deserve, creating a lasting positive impression.
To nurture customer loyalty, we actively seek and value customer feedback. Every review, positive or constructive, is taken seriously, and we use these insights to make iterative improvements to our services. Our dedicated customer support team engages with customers regularly to address any queries or concerns promptly, building trust and reinforcing our commitment to customer-centricity.
Notably, we reward customer loyalty through loyalty programs, exclusive offers, and personalized discounts, creating an added incentive for customers to return to Automovill for their vehicle maintenance needs. We even offer a 6-month or 5000-kilometer warranty on any part replaced by the brand, ensuring a top-notch experience for the client with complete security.
Lastly, our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility resonates with customers who value eco-friendly practices. By offering green solutions and actively contributing to the growth of the electric vehicle segment, we attract environmentally conscious customers who appreciate our efforts toward sustainable mobility.
TechGraph: With the increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in India, how is Automovill.com adapting to this changing landscape? Are there any plans to expand service offerings for EVs?
Mridu Mahendra Das: As the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise in India, Automovill is proactively adapting to this changing landscape. We recognize the significance of EVs in shaping the future of mobility and are fully committed to supporting this transition.
Our technicians undergo rigorous training and upskilling to stay updated with the latest advancements in EV technology, ensuring that they are well-equipped to handle the specific requirements of electric vehicles.
From battery diagnostics and maintenance to software updates and charging infrastructure, we offer comprehensive services to keep EVs running optimally.
Recently, we have taken a significant step into the EV segment, and the results have been promising. We have successfully expanded our operations to maintain and provide AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) services for over 1000 electric vehicles. This marks a revolutionary change for us as we have gained the trust of multiple B2B players in the EV fleet segment.
The positive response from both individual EV owners and fleet operators has further motivated us to enhance our offerings and invest in the future of sustainable mobility. As we continue to grow and cater to the increasing demand for EV services, we are on track to add another 2000 electric vehicles to our fleet under maintenance and AMC.
This growth demonstrates our commitment to supporting the EV ecosystem in India and offering reliable and specialized solutions for electric vehicle owners. The success of our EV services also showcases the effectiveness of our training programs for technicians and our dedication to staying at the forefront of EV technology.
TechGraph: In terms of sustainability and environmental consciousness, what initiatives has Automovill undertaken to minimize its carbon footprint and promote eco-friendly practices within the automobile service sector?
Mridu Mahendra Das: At Automovill, sustainability and environmental consciousness are core values that guide our operations within the automobile service sector. To minimize our carbon footprint and promote eco-friendly practices, we have implemented several initiatives.
One of our primary focuses is on the proper disposal and recycling of used parts and materials, such as batteries and oil, to prevent harmful substances from entering the ecosystem. By adhering to green standards and promoting responsible waste management, we ensure that our services have a minimal negative impact on the environment.
Additionally, we are committed to energy efficiency in our workshops and offices, optimizing energy usage to reduce our overall environmental footprint. In line with our commitment to sustainability, Automovill places a strong emphasis on promoting electric vehicles (EVs) and providing specialized maintenance and support for EV fleets.
Moreover, through public awareness campaigns and collaborations with eco-friendly suppliers, we strive to extend our impact beyond our operations and promote sustainability across the entire automobile service sector in India.
TechGraph: Can you provide insights into any partnerships or collaborations Automovill has established with other entities in the Indian automobile service sector? How have these collaborations contributed to the company’s growth and service capabilities?
Mridu Mahendra Das: At Automovill, we’ve established several partnerships and collaborations within the Indian automobile service sector, which have significantly contributed to our company’s growth and service capabilities. One notable partnership is with TotalEnergies Marketing India Pvt Ltd (TEMIPL) as our exclusive Lubricants Partner.
Through this collaboration, TEMIPL supplies a premium range of automotive lubricants to all our Automovill outlets. This association brings together the technical expertise and research capabilities of TotalEnergies and our new-age auto service chain model in key markets across India.
Partnering with a renowned lubricants provider like TotalEnergies enhances the quality of our services and ensures optimal performance and longevity for our customers’ vehicles. Additionally, we’ve joined forces with DriveU to offer car services to all the latter’s customers through the DriveU-APP. This collaborative effort combines DriveU’s on-demand driver service with our new-age auto service chain model in key markets across India. With this partnership, we expand our reach to DriveU’s extensive customer base, providing them with seamless access to high-quality car services.
This partnership allows DriveU customers to conveniently avail themselves of car maintenance and repair services through the same platform they trust for their driver needs. Furthermore, we’ve strategically partnered with Midgard Electric, designating them as the EV charging partner at all our Automovill-owned outlets.
With the increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in India, this partnership is a significant step towards supporting the adoption of EVs and providing comprehensive maintenance and support for EV fleet owners. By collaborating with Midgard Electric, we solidify our position as a trusted partner in the emerging EV market, further contributing to our growth and expertise in the electric vehicle segment.
TechGraph: Considering the evolving regulatory landscape in India, what challenges and opportunities does Automovill foresee in terms of compliance with safety and emission standards? How is the company preparing for these changes?
Mridu Mahendra Das: As Automovill, we are closely observing the evolving regulatory landscape in India, anticipating both challenges and opportunities concerning safety and emission standards compliance. Keeping up with frequent updates is a key challenge, and we recognize the importance of continuously monitoring and adapting our processes.
We understand that adhering to stringent standards requires a robust system to ensure our services meet the latest requirements. Despite the challenges, we view these changes as opportunities for innovation and differentiation. By proactively surpassing safety and emission standards, we aim to become an industry leader and earn the trust of environmentally-conscious customers.
To prepare for these changes, we have established a dedicated team to monitor regulatory updates and assess their impact on our operations. We prioritize ongoing training and upskilling programs for our technicians, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to meet evolving standards.
Additionally, we are continuously enhancing our technology-driven platform to facilitate compliance and accountability. Our unified system enables efficient data collection, tracking, and reporting, ensuring that our services align with the required standards. With this approach, we strive to stay ahead of compliance requirements and maintain our commitment to safety and environmental sustainability at Automovill.