The Challenge

Create, test and communicate a vision for a digitally driven car service offer at Bosch.

Impact

SWEETWORXX has launched in Orange County, California, with plans to expand across the U.S.

The Outcome

SWEETWORXX, supported by user research and analysis, value proposition, user journey, stakeholder map, business and operating model considerations, and testing recommendations.

Sweetworxx 1

From the comfort of your couch, today you can get your dry cleaning, a cab, and all your groceries, with a few taps on a smartphone screen. But when it comes to getting your car serviced or repaired, it’s a different matter. You have to call ahead, negotiate an appointment, drop your car off, and pick it up again once it’s done. Bosch’s Automotive Aftermarket division wanted to explore whether that could be done differently. Bosch came to IDEO to create, test and communicate a vision for a car service offer, working alongside the company’s newly-formed customer experience team.

Although best known to consumers for household appliances and car parts, Bosch has a storied pedigree in automotive equipment and car servicing. It runs Bosch Car Service, a licensed, global network of independent car repair shops through which the company lends its brand, and sells parts. It creates a direct relationship with car owners, who otherwise wouldn’t know what’s going into their engine. It’s one of the world’s largest independent auto repair shop chains, with around 17,000 workshops around the world.

But things are changing. Carmakers know there’s good money in servicing vehicles, and independent shops are either closing, or consolidating into lower-cost chains, often run by big spare part wholesalers. Servicing itself is less about repairing cars, and more about replacing parts and downloading software. And people’s expectations are being shaped by the convenience of digital services like Uber, Netflix and Blue Apron. Repair shops, by contrast, are distinctly analog.

To get under the bonnet of the servicing business, the IDEO team visited shops, and spoke to a variety of car owners in Germany, the U.S. and India. They found people don’t trust the opaque pricing and processes of mechanics; that customers increasingly research servicing shops and costs online, and that very few wanted to spend time at a repair shop. That last insight led to the design team’s concept, pithily encapsulated in the tagline: “Your car needs to go the shop. You don’t.”

Those insights crystallized into a future vision for a new service, including user research and analysis, a map of stakeholders, user journeys, business and operating model considerations, and testing recommendations. Essentially a digital, customer facing frontend for independent repair shops, SWEETWORXX customers would book a service for their cars through a smartphone. Their car would be picked up, and serviced, then brought back to them. They could track the progress of the maintenance on their car, as well as the cost, online. Mechanics could focus on fixing cars, with Bosch optimizing the distribution of jobs according to most convenient location, availability, cost, or whether it could undertake specialist work.

The IDEO team has supported Bosch’s customer experience team in stewarding the new venture to market. SWEETWORXX has launched in Orange County, California, with plans to roll out across the U.S. in the next year.

For car owners, it ushers in a new type of digitally-powered auto maintenance, better suited to the 21st century.

SWEETWORXX video on YouTube.