Leveraging off of breakthroughs in telematics (an interdisciplinary field that includes telecommunications, road safety, electrical engineering, and computer science), Mercedes-Benz vehicles allow for communication beyond a simple “mayday” or emergency response button, including a suite of products that delivers true concierge service.
While some Mercedes-Benz vehicles were equipped with mbrace technology (safety, security, and travel assistance) as far back as 2009, upgrades were introduced in model year 2013 to deploy a new generation of technology and ensure that every Mercedes-Benz vehicle would have mbrace as a complimentary feature for the first six months of ownership.
Providing Customers a Sense of Security
In its most basic form, mbrace provides customers with the security of knowing that a specially trained Mercedes-Benz agent will swiftly dispatch a Mercedes-Benz technician to address roadside assistance needs. That same agent can summon emergency personnel in response to the driver’s touching a button or as a result of automatic crash notification functions built into the telematics system.
Historically, owners were given complimentary access to a suite of mbrace subscription services, as well as Mercedes-Benz apps that enabled them to use telematic functions from their smartphones. This service (referred to as mbrace PLUS) was designed to integrate telematics technology with personal concierge support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The mbrace PLUS subscription service was best described in the narrative presented in the online video promoting it:
One of the great perks of staying in a luxury hotel is the concierge. Wouldn’t it be nice to take that service with you? With mbrace PLUS, personal assistance is just a button’s push away. The button in your Mercedes-Benz connects you to an mbrace customer specialist ready to fulfill just about any request, from planning a trip to a special night out. We do it all—travel reservations, tickets to an event, a seat at a hot new restaurant—your personal mbrace agent can make it happen. We will even download directions directly to your car’s navigation system. Your concierge is also a resourceful personal assistant, helping you with almost anything you need. And if they don’t have the answer to your question, they will do the research and get back to you. And with the mbrace mobile app, you even have access to concierge services on your smartphone. With mbrace PLUS, you’ve got the right connections. Just ask, and mbrace PLUS delivers.”
Whether car owners make phone calls to receive roadside assistance,report an accident to a Mercedes-Benz agent, or push the button in their Mercedes-Benz to have an agent make a reservation and download directions into the car’s navigation system, all the technological solutions facilitate human care.
For example, if a customer simply chooses to use a Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance app on a smartphone rather than relying on the telematics system on board the car, that customer is assured a timely roadside response from a Mercedes-Benz certified technician. The car owner can also locate a dealer. The app uses location services to find the customer, and once contact is made, it provides confirmation that a technician is on the way. The app offers fast, accurate help and creates more efficient call handling for roadside assistance. This technology-rich platform has essentially reinvented the Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance customer experience.
Direct Access to Trained Mercedes-Benz Staff for Assistance
Similarly, when a customer leverages technology to connect with a Mercedes-Benz agent, that customer is interacting with an individual who has been selected for service talent and who has been acculturated to drive customer delight in the context of the desired Mercedes-Benz brand experience. The Mercedes-Benz customer is not talking to an offshore call-center worker who is restricted to the words on a script. Similarly, the technician who is being sent to the vehicle is from a Mercedes-Benz dealership, not a third-party vendor.
All vehicles that are routinely serviced by authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers are eligible for Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance. Beyond complimentary service, mbrace allows customers (aided by telematics) to select the level of care that best meets their needs.
Mercedes-Benz owner Charlie DeFelice described multiple examples of the benefits he derived from his mbrace selection: “Because of severe weather, our roads have been hammered. I’ve used mbrace three times in the past three months, each time for a flat tire. The first time, I’d just gotten off a plane, and it was raining really hard. There was a traffic accident affecting my usual route, so I diverted and then had to pull into an industrial park with my flat tire. I pressed the mbrace button, and the agent asked my location. I told them I had no idea. They then located me through the GPS on my car and told me to stay in the car and they’d be right there. And they were.”
A month later, Charlie hit a pothole on the way to a business meeting. He was able to contact a Mercedes-Benz Roadside Assistance agent through mbrace and have the tire changed while he was in his meeting. Finally, Charlie shares, “A month later, on a Sunday, my wife and I were driving to a business dinner and social gathering in Manhattan. It was raining very hard, and I hit a pothole on Eighth Avenue. Again, the indicator said ‘right front tire malfunctioning.’ I was thinking this was going to ruin my evening and I’d get filthy changing the tire. Then I remembered I had mbrace. I pushed the button and pulled into a parking garage. I gave the name of the garage and the attendant’s name, and the mbrace rep said they’d take care of it. When I went back after the dinner, Roadside Assistance had changed the tire. Every time I’ve had to use that service, it exceeded my expectations and makes me more loyal to Mercedes-Benz.”
Continuous Upgrades in the System
In August 2015, Mercedes-Benz upgraded the mbrace system yet again. With further improvements in telematics, the latest version of mbrace offers all the safety and connectivity features of prior versions along with an increased ability to not only interact with the vehicle remotely—locking and unlocking, starting, heating and cooling it via the mobile app or website—but also allowing an increased ability to receive direct assistance from the vehicle owner’s dealership, and inspiring, personalized branded content.
With the launch of the new mbrace technology, MBUSA moreover invested millions of dollars in order to give new vehicle purchasers five years of complimentary mbrace access with the option to purchase even more enriched subscription content.