Making the customer feel part of the repair process pays big dividends.
At Budds’ Collision, we’ve developed a particular strategy for our customers. When a customer drops off their vehicle, they are greeted with their name on a welcoming board that is updated daily. Within seconds of entering the facility, a customer service representative offers them their choice of coffee, espresso, cappuccino or water. Additionally, they are given the option of sampling homemade popcorn that’s made fresh every day.
Expect to be sold
When it comes to collision repair, the customer experience has changed significantly from when my grandfather was repairing vehicles back in the 1950s. Customers are more educated and expect to be “sold” when choosing a facility to get their vehicle brought back to pre-collision condition.
Long gone are the days when the insured automatically brought their vehicle to the repair facility recommended by their respective insurance company. Customers today understand their rights when they’re involved in an accident, now more than ever.
A big part of delivering on that pre-collision condition is quality control. In our facility, for example, when someone walks into the shop, the view is dominated by the Wolf Taufino spray booths. Next to the spray booths are painted vehicles parked in a specific “quality control” row.
The finished result
By placing the vehicles in this location, prospective customers can clearly see the final result of the collision repair process and envision their own vehicle being treated with the same quality and attention to detail. And it’s this visual impact that helps service advisors increase their “closing rate” by capturing the keys.
Within walking distance from our facility are two collision repair franchise locations. Both these facilities are on direct repair programs (DRPs) with the majority of the major insurance companies in our province. When potential customers visit these locations for preliminary estimates, typically they visit ours as well.
First impressions count, and often when customers enter our facility, they are very surprised at the level of cleanliness and professionalism. It’s something that never gets old and, more often than not, helps sell the customer in selecting this facility for their collision repair needs.
Three main concerns
Based on my own experiences, when looking after a customer, there are typically three main concerns that are expressed upon initial interaction: Price, Time and Quality.
Although the objective is to address all these factors during the repair process, it starts with qualifying the factor that holds the most weight with that respected customer. Having achieved that, the next stage is directing language specifically for that particular concern.
With Price, it is key to explain the value concept that comes along with it. With Time, it’s essential to explain the processes involved. And with Quality, it’s critical to show the customer the final result, such as the vehicles parked in our quality control row.
Gaining the customer’s trust, addressing all concerns and fulfilling promises are the fundamental factors that separate great collision shops from those that are merely good.