Jeff Peevy has observed many changes in the collision repair industry over the course of his nearly 40-year career. As the current chairman of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and president of the Automotive Management Institute (AMi), Peevy regularly talks to body shop owners and managers about the current issues they face.
During a recent webinar, Peevy shared several shifts he has observed as a result of these conversations and his involvement in the industry. Peevy then addressed how they are expected to affect future collision repairers.
The free webinar was part of Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy’s “Elite Webinar Series” and can be replayed by visiting www.elitebodyshopsolutions.com/academy.
The shifts include a new focus on the customer experience, OEM certification expansion, the changing type of work in the industry and emerging liability issues.
New Focus on the Customer Experience
During a typical day in a body shop, employees are hard at work ensuring vehicles are repaired properly, customers leave satisfied and great cycle time is maintained.
When problems arise, Peevy said that by nature, collision repairers typically look for solutions from a technical perspective and mindset. This is partially because technical training has become increasingly important to keep up with new technology. Technicians are spending much of their time learning about new equipment, repair procedures and process improvements. As a result, he said, many times it can be easy to overlook a key element at their facilities---employing soft skills.
“We all believe they are important, but traditionally as an industry we don’t use them,” said Peevy. “Instead, we try to solve everything from a technical aspect. We’re now realizing there is a customer experience that requires more than just technical skills.”
Peevy stressed the importance of utilizing soft skills, especially for staff members who regularly deal with customers. These include good listening skills, communication, phone skills, negotiating and problem-solving.
Due to today’s widespread use of social media, Peevy said that making a mistake with a customer can negatively impact a business now more than any other time in history.