Q: Why do body shops have these issues?
Schoolcraft: It’s important to understand that customers are stressed out when they are involved in an accident. When people are in stressful situations, they tend to glom on to experiences that are very comfortable and familiar to them while seeking out people they trust for advice.
This is incredibly important because we’re facing an era where you aren’t just measured against your competition anymore; instead, you’re stacked up against brands that might not even be seen as a competitor. It has been shown that 87 percent of consumers measure all brands based on the interactions they have with companies like Amazon, Netflix and Starbucks. Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to how these brands interact with their customers and make sure that every interaction you have mirrors those of these customer experience leaders, which are typically simple, effective and satisfying.
A great example of how this is starting to impact our industry is with manufacturers looking to take control of the entire vehicle experience by introducing things like subscription leasing. Cadillac, Porsche, Mercedes and even Lincoln are using this subscription model to provide customers with flexibility in the type of vehicles they drive, simplified interactions by providing complete insurance coverage and other benefits like concierge services. Most importantly, they provide a personalized experience through a deep understanding of their customers’ needs.
That is why it’s more critical today than ever before to truly understand your customers’ needs. The concern for a lot of people is how the collision industry measures customer interactions and satisfaction, which today is incomplete. Standard industry benchmarks don’t reveal how well you deliver on the customer’s expectations of the entire repair experience, which are more driven by emotion than simply your shop’s ability to meet the delivery date. Most shops are missing out on vital insights like how well the shop sets expectations, what would have improved the experience or why the customer chose them in the first place. Not having these details limits your shop’s ability to differentiate itself, resulting in stagnant sales growth.