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Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Mobile Technology Strategy

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By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor
The Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Mention Mercedes-Benz automobiles and the first words that come to mind might be elegant, sophisticated or perhaps expensive. But, how about the word cool? Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) has the goal of providing customers with a seamless ownership experience. MBFS’s mobile account management solutions allow customers to make monthly vehicle payments, view detailed account information, locate a dealer, and find out what's new at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services - all from the palm of your hand. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services iPhone® App is “the coolest way to pay”.

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You can select the payment option that best fits your lifestyle. Auto Pay allows you to have a payment automatically deducted from your designated checking or savings account each month. Online Pay allows you to have a single or recurring payment deducted from one or more of your designated checking or savings accounts each month. With Phone Pay you can make your payment by phone for the amount due using your savings account, checking account, debit card or credit card. And of course Paper Pay is the old-school pay your amount due by personal or business check.

It's secure, simple and environmentally sound. Choose Auto Pay or update your Statement Delivery Options by selecting the eBill option right for you and turn off your paper statement and help the environment.

Not intending to put the cart in front of the horse, MBFS’s Mobile Technology Strategy begins right in the dealer showroom during the shopping and purchase process. Mercedes sales representatives are iPad equipped. Rather than sitting at a sales office desk with a customer they can walk around the showroom from model to model and pull up information on the iPad for immediate viewing and sharing with the car-shopper.

This mobile point-of-sale system is very customer centric and integrates the shopping and sales process right down to quoting monthly payments on the spot based on inputs such as model choice, down payment, term of financing and so on. If during the process the sales representative needs to consult with management the iPad is left with the customer to further peruse model information, features and options as well as various vehicle protections plans.

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Finally, on a lease end vehicle turn-in, Mercedes dealers have their own in-house leasing expert who conducts the vehicle walk around inspection using an iPad together with the customer. A condition report is completed and any outstanding charges due are immediately available. The customer can sign the report on the iPad screen using her or his fingertip. I observed a demonstration of this process and it certainly beats the outside contractors used by many vehicle lease companies and then the waiting for the final report to show up in the mail.

Taking its digital reach to the next level, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has introduced the Mercedes-Benz MY '12 CLS-Class iPad App. This application is the first of a series of MY '12 product apps and is available now through the Apple App Store for free. Users can find the app by searching "Mercedes-Benz 2012 CLS."

The new CLS-Class iPad App puts a spin on traditional communications by providing a media-rich, eco-friendly channel for prospects to learn more about the CLS-Class. Although this app has been created as a tool for dealership sales associates, it can easily be obtained through the Apple App Store by consumers as well.

Through logical placement and smart navigation, the app provides a smart, user-friendly experience that includes virtual tours of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, as well as an "Explore" section that allows users to customize the CLS. The app also offers a wide selection of videos that demonstrate the groundbreaking technical innovations of Mercedes-Benz.

One final iPhone Account App note. MBFS is nearing 30,000 downloads, is averaging 13,000 Mobile logins per month, is trending towards $30 million in payments received this year that are paid electronically and not involving any paper check handling. The coolest way to buy and pay.

© Larry Nutson