This purchase behavior is why understanding what customers desire from the experience is so critical. These insights allow you to apply logic across your initiatives to make sure you are differentiating your shop and not wasting precious marketing dollars on perceived silver bullets.
Q: What are the top customer issues in regard to the repair experience?
Schoolcraft: From our research, there are three: customers feel their interactions are transactional, the delivery experience is rushed or transaction-focused and overall poor customer service driven by poorly engaged employees.
How to break the “transactional” mindset:
Customers feel processed. Think about what a customer goes through after an accident; they talk to a police officer, then the insurance company and finally end up at a shop to get an estimate---all of which have their own processes. Body shops can be the biggest offenders of the process mindset, mostly because shop processes are typically defined by an insurance partner, not by the shop itself. These requirements become increasingly apparent with the lack of continuity shops exhibit with customers, followed by their overall poor communication scores. This alone puts shops in a tough situation of developing a deeper bond with the customer.
The goal should always be to find a way to develop a seamless interaction throughout all four parts of the collision experience: collision, estimate, repair, and post-repair. When you do so, you can drive incremental gains for your business and be seen more as a trusted partner rather than a service vendor.
Some tactics that we offer our customers to overcome process are:
1) Make it easy for customers: Connect as frequently as possible to keep customers updated; help them understand the expectations up front and provide service options, such as better hours. Consider implementing technology to help triage their situation before they arrive at your shop.
2) Give customers control: Educate customers about what is about to occur throughout the process and validate their preferred method of communication. We often suggest incorporating visuals to help customers fully digest the repair experience.