Is Trust the Key to a Successful Service Department?

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Is Trust the Key to a Successful Service Department?

Service departments are increasingly expected to get more work out the door, even as technicians are becoming harder to find. It’s no surprise, then, that more dealerships are turning to automation.  And while speed and accuracy are benefits, service teams are also finding certain solutions can help build trust in their dealership.

Automated Inspection Lanes Can Create Trust

It’s no surprise that speeding up the inspection process can reduce the man-hours it takes to inspect a car the old-fashioned way. The end result is often more business, with fewer techs, but an often overlooked benefit is a boost in customer confidence.

In many shops, the tech writes up the inspection and passes it along to the service advisor. The service advisor then approaches the customer with a second-hand report that, let’s be honest, isn’t always convincing.

Customers can be suspicious of these recommendations. That can result in the customer driving off with an unaddressed problem, and possibly with a more costly repair issue in the future. And that’s not great for generating high service scores, or long-term loyalty.

The Issues with Manual Inspections

Ever since Fords started rolling off the first assembly lines, vehicles have become more complex. The list of inspection items has grown from a handful to over a hundred. And so has the time it takes to conduct an inspection.

In terms of time (which is money), manual inspections have become costly. Every inspection takes time away from other repair orders. Busy techs, who are only human, can miss things during a manual inspection. Once the service advisor gets the inspection report, he usually has to explain it to the customer over the phone, or worse, in an email or text. That can reduce the confidence that customer has to actually sign off on having the work done.

Enter the Automated Inspection

An automated inspection can range from a system measuring alignment and tire wear to a 360-degree scan of the vehicle powered by artificial intelligence. Regardless of the system, the result is the same: reliable, thorough inspections that provide objective proof of the vehicle’s condition. And presenting objective reports improves trust with your service department.

Tire and Alignment Automated Inspections

According to AutoSuccess, more than 30 percent of vehicles on the road today are outside of manufacturers’ alignment specs. Inspecting the alignment of incoming vehicles has had challenges. There’s no time to run every car in the shop across the alignment rack, so technicians check for irregular tread wear. In a study of 25,000 vehicles, 51 percent of those checked needed an alignment but had no uneven tire wear, as reported by Hunter Engineering.

Along with chain and independent shops, franchised dealers are adopting systems that measure vehicle alignment and tire wear as the car drives onto the service lane.

According to AutoSuccess, automatic tire and alignment inspection systems pay for themselves quickly.  Take a shop that installs a tread reader and alignment check towers, for example. If 50 vehicles per day are run through the lane, around 30 percent (or 18 customers) will be educated about their alignment issue. Every time you present an automated report – with little room for human error or influence – customer confidence in the service team tends to rise.

The Next Frontier: Automated Whole Vehicle Inspections

According to Automotive World, Volvo Cars USA is working to equip the first group of East Coast U.S. retailers with automated vehicle inspection systems. They believe the investment will improve customer satisfaction and business efficiencies.

The Volvo system, which comes from UVeye, blends artificial intelligence and machine learning with high-speed cameras to inspect tires, underbody components and vehicle exteriors.

Volvo dealers can choose from three separate systems to install, which work differently, reports IoT World Today. Helios is an underbody scanner that checks for frame damage, corrosion and fluid leakage. Artemis is a technology that checks tire condition and tire pressure. And Atlas provides 360-degree scans of the exterior, checking for pings, dents or rust.

These new systems also create digital vehicle health reports with photos that can be shared with customers and integrated with retailers’ wider services, including trade-in appraisals.

Successful Service Departments Rely on Trust

When it comes to keeping customers informed of their maintenance needs the value of 3rd party recommendations is clear. Customers gain confidence in your service department because the information your providing is from a credible source.  Taken together, automated inspections and trusted third-party information are a potent combination for an improved customer experience.

What Other Service Recommendations Do Customers Trust?

Dealers who have CARFAX for Life know the value that comes from a trusted third-party helping drive service recommendations.  By providing a premier car ownership experience to your customers, you provide a better service experience based on trusted recommendations.

To learn more about converting one-time customers to lifetime customers with CARFAX for Life, contact us.

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