On paper, Audi’s new Direct Reception Initiative looks like a solid idea. But apart from letting customers in on what Audi employees are doing to their cars when it’s being serviced, we really don’t know what it accomplishes.

Just to give a brief background, Audi announced that they would be implementing a new service and repair process that would require dealership employees to wear a two-way radio and pin an ‘Audi Cam’ on their overalls. The whole purpose behind this is to allow customers who bring their cars for service to watch and listen to the entire proceedings through a live feed that’s patched from a waiting room.

The idea is to make the customers as involved with the whole process as they can by asking questions about what’s going on and what needs to be done to their cars. Apparently, Audi didn’t think that having nosy owners who know next to nothing about cars asking questions in rapid succession wouldn’t be the least bit inconvenient to all of its employees. But hey, it’s their program. Who are we to object, right?

And besides, if you listen to Jeremy Hicks, Audi’s UK director, and try to understand why their doing this, there just might be something there that makes sense, albeit just a little. "Service departments throughout the industry are often accused of baffling customers with science - by offering our full exposure to the work undertaken on their cars, and the ability to talk through that work with the technician involved, our aim is to demystify the process as fully as possible.”

That’s right. He said ‘demystify’. All well and good from the customer’s perspective, but we’re not quite sure how this translates to improving productivity for their own employees.

Press Release after the jump

Candid cameras will soon be focused on all Audi Centre service areas as part of a new Direct Reception initiative being rolled out across the network that will enable Audi customers to view in ‘real time’, and communicate with, technicians as they carry out diagnosis and repair work.

From the comfort of the Audi Centre reception area customers will have direct audio visual access to their cars as they are worked on by technicians equipped with ‘Audi Cams’ and two-way audio links. They will be free to talk to the technicians directly, and service advisors will be on hand to answer any questions that arise. The aim is to provide full exposure to the investigative and corrective work undertaken, maximising ‘transparency’ and instilling even greater confidence not only in the legitimacy of each diagnosis but also the quality of workmanship demonstrated by Audi trained technicians.

Customer feedback from Direct Reception pilot schemes has been overwhelmingly positive, with all participants polled so far confirming that they would recommend the service to others.

Commenting on the new initiative, Director of Audi UK Jeremy Hicks said: "Service departments throughout the industry are often accused of baffling customers with science - by offering ours full exposure to the work undertaken on their cars, and the ability to talk through that work with the technician involved, our aim is to demystify the process as fully as possible. We want to ensure that everyone who entrusts their Audi to us for servicing and repairs knows exactly where they stand and exactly what to expect."

As well as offering a straightforward, substantiated prognosis on the condition of every car, Audi Centres can also provide the added reassurance of fixed price maintenance to owners of A3, A4, A6 and TT models that are over 36 months old and powered by engines of up to (and including) 2.0-litres in capacity. Seven of the tasks carried out most frequently to these cars are covered by a fixed, all-inclusive and highly competitive price that applies nationally.

The tasks include major and minor services (£249 and £99 respectively), clutch replacement (front-wheel-drive £599, quattro £799), front and rear brake pad replacement (£99 front, £99 rear), front and rear pad and disc replacement (£229), front wiper blade replacement (£39), brake fluid change (£49) and cambelt replacement (£349).

Fixed price service plan for A1 customers

Buyers of the new Audi A1 premium compact hatchback can also specify an optional fixed price service plan which, for a one-off payment of just £250 (when the car is programmed to adhere to the long life service regime), will leave them safe in the knowledge that their servicing needs are covered financially for the first five years or 50,000 miles (whichever comes first).

All scheduled servicing, including brake fluid changes, is taken care of over this period, and any labour and parts (excluding items subject to wear and tear) involved are covered by a two-year Audi warranty.

Online service booking

Servicing for all Audi models can now be booked online by visiting www.audi.co.uk and clicking on ‘owners area’.

Source: Audi

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (273) posted on 05.6.2011

That only means the department has sufficient funds to supply uniforms, equipment and benefits to their workers. How I wish I can also wear such great attire. Even their jackets look so gorgeous and fashionable.

  (302) posted on 04.15.2011

@joey_santana. I think you’re right. However, I think maybe its part of safety measure that they were practicing.

  (506) posted on 04.1.2011

Why do they need a cam? Instead of waiting in a room, it’s better if the customer will see the actual process so that the interaction is more convenience. 

  (938) posted on 07.12.2010

well, they should be, besides they are hire by a well known auto makers. we are talking about audi here.

  (806) posted on 07.11.2010

those audi technicians looks very professional on their job, they wore a perfect attire, and equipment.

  (15) posted on 07.10.2010

If I ever get an Audi, I would make it a point NOT to use the Audi Cam and audio link. I would want the person working on my car to be comfortable in the knowledge that there is not someone (me) lurking over his/her shoulder figuratively. A distracted mechanic is more likely to make mistakes. Of course, when the service is completed, I might appreciate the opportunity to ask the person who worked on my car a question or two.

  (858) posted on 07.8.2010

That’s how it should be done especially for expensive cars and their overly mindful, meticulous owners

  (517) posted on 07.8.2010

this should be fun... "boss i broke this (expensive) part because i had the customer yelling on my ears to hurry up since he needed the car asap"

  (1022) posted on 07.7.2010

agree. if Audi wants such initiative program, they should be the one who will handle the equipment.

  (612) posted on 07.7.2010

hmm not quite as long as audi will handle all the equipments.

  (555) posted on 07.6.2010

well that’s just a waste of money, audi only hires a professional and well trained technicians. besides we’re talking hundred thousand bucks here. I bet Audi will never put some dirt on their name and reputation.

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