May 2021 | 843 words | 3-minute read
The year of the pandemic will always be remembered — for the challenges it posed, for the ways in which it changed our lives, for the trends it started, for the explosion of new words and phrases that entered our vocabulary and, importantly, for the innovations it triggered.
The automobile major, Tata Motors Ltd (TML), also secured its manufacturing plants by imposing strict sanitising and safety measures, including social distancing norms and staggered work schedule.
The most distinctive offering from TML this year is, perhaps, the unique idea of delivering Tata cars in a ‘safety bubble’. All new cars awaiting delivery at the dealerships are shielded in this all-encompassing canopy to prevent contact with any germs in the Covid era, as well as to protect the vehicles from any scratch or dent while parked.
The ideas bubble
Tata Motors came up with this secure and sanitised car delivery process after the government announced a staggered opening up of work and business. In the pandemic times, customers were apprehensive about entering the showroom even as TML had already upped its digital presence. “We noticed that the need for vehicles was going up given the shift towards personal mobility after Covid struck, but there was a lot of apprehension in visiting showrooms and taking car deliveries; customers were really hesitant and wanted to avoid personal contact,” says Vivek Srivatsa, head – Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, TML. Thus, the need to create a safe and secure showroom and delivery process couldn’t be ignored.
The customer journey of visiting a showroom, taking a test drive and then booking a car is not just a functional requirement but an emotional one as well. “We understand the entire experience of booking, buying and receiving your dream car is an emotional moment, and every car owner wants to touch and feel their new vehicle,” says Mr Srivatsa. To that extent, TML ensures that the delivery personnel, who mandatorily have to wear gloves and mask, pay special attention to the frequently touched parts such as the steering wheel, gear box and door handles while sanitising the vehicle for delivery.
TML even introduced the sanitised sticker or seal, which means that part of the car is ultra-safe and when the customer opens the seal it means nobody has touched or interfered with the vehicle after it had been sanitised. “This is a big thing, because from the time a vehicle leaves the factory and reaches the showroom before being picked up by the customer, several people have handled it,” says Mr Srivatsa.
In August 2020, Tata Motors made some special safety add-ons to the car buying experience. It offers a new range of health and hygiene products for its customers. These include air purifiers to driver screens and even special car sanitisers.
The TML sanitisation kit contains hand sanitisers, N95 masks, hand gloves, safety touch key, a tissue box, mist diffuser and a driving kit that includes a cover for the steering wheel, handbrake, gear knob and even the seats.
But how does one ensure that the car is untouched before delivery in the showroom? This is where the idea of the safety bubble came from. “You drive the car onto a deflated bubble, have the car sanitised, put the ‘sanitised by TML’ stickers to seal the car, zip up and inflate the bubble; and this is how it is delivered to our customers,” says Mr Srivatsa.
The touch of innovation has received many smiles and delight from the customers. “Besides the fact that the car is untouched, there is the added element of delight when a customer walks into the showroom and sees their car parked in a large bubble. All they need to do is unzip the bubble, take the cover off, break the seal and drive off,” he adds.
Blowing the bubble
Creating customer delight is a great idea but executing it is often a tough task. Executing an idea developed by the manufacturer at the dealers’ end adds a layer of challenge. To make the safety bubble wrap process convenient and cost effective for dealers, TML personnel considered several factors like the bubble fabric, taking into account the wear and tear (shouldn’t get crinkled too quickly); enquired with vendors who could provide the air pump (shouldn’t take up too much space); factored in the time taken to inflate the bubble (easy and quick); and weighed the logistics and cost of such an endeavour. “We looked at all aspects of the project — not just customer delight, but also convenience for our dealers so that the bubble was logistically executable and seamless,” says Mr Srivatsa.
TML was ready with the bubble packaging in time for the festive season. Starting off in a few dealerships, TML has now extended the safety bubble across all dealers.
TML’s safety bubble has not just delighted customers but has become a conversation starter on the safe and secure delivery of vehicles. “Customers are delighted and pleasantly surprised. They are really happy to see TML’s commitment to the ‘customer safety first’ mantra,” says Mr Srivatsa.