Providing Detailed Status Updates on Repairs

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Giving Repair Status Updates to Clients
A South Carolina body shop manager notes how his facility began providing customers better updates on the status of vehicles.

A considerate, smiling face. That’s what Bryan Haney expects—and demands—from his body shop employees.

“Your first impression when you come in here to our particular shop, [is] a kind, understanding voice,” says Haney, the manager of the Five Star Collision Center in Florence, S.C.

First impressions, Haney has found, are far easier to control than customer expectations for repairs. Because, these days, patience is in short supply for most customers, who feel far too busy to be without a vehicle for long.

“It definitely is a constant challenge,” he says of meeting clients’ expectations. “Of course, in the collision repair industry, most of the time they don’t understand the repair process. … And the expectation, I feel like it’s higher” nowadays.

The biggest key, Haney has learned, is maintaining an open line of communication with clients during the repair process. However, his facility didn’t always live up to that challenge in the past.

As recently as five years ago, confusion often reigned among Five Star Collision Center’s customers, as they tried to get a feel for expected repair timelines. It’s an issue Haney knew needed to be fixed fast.

The Issue

A few years back, the staff at Five Star Collision Center (FSCC) had a hard time keeping tabs on repair work. When customers made calls to check on the status of their vehicles, they rarely heard the same voice twice.

That caused irritation among portions of the clientele.

“If a customer calls in wanting an update on the status of a vehicle,” Haney says, “and you get a different person every time you call, you’re going to get a different answer, [too].”

The handful of employees in FSCC’s office struggled to get on the same page.

“The only way you could really keep up with [explaining vehicles’ statuses] was you’d have

to make written notes on a form,” Haney explains.

And that was anything but efficient.

The facility could also check on work in process by utilizing a point-of-sale

system, but that could only be done once per day.

Haney knew there had to be a better solution.

The Answer

By mid-2017, FSCC found its path to improved customer satisfaction. Haney learned of, and began utilizing, CCC ONE’s Repair Workflow estimating software and the new piece of technology immediately made an impact.

The new estimating software allowed employees to take notes on the repair process in one consistent location digitally, which kept staffers and insurers on the same page. And, once the facility received parts for repairs, Repair Workflow provided notifications. The estimating software also provides a live production schedule that’s updated throughout each day, and notes an estimated completion date for each job.

All of a sudden, when customers made calls to the body shop wondering about their vehicle’s timeline, they received quick, clear, informative responses.

“No matter who you talk to, you get a correct answer,” Haney notes, “and that person can tell you exactly what process that car is in. You don’t have that, ‘I don’t know, I’ll have to get back to you’ scenario.

“You know, the customer has got their car at this particular place because that’s where they feel it’s going to be best repaired. We want to give them the correct answer. That way, they feel comfortable with our process.”

Simply put, the new estimating software has lent a tremendous assist to Haney’s staff.

“The customer satisfaction, at the end of the day, is better now,” Haney notes, “because of the technology we have.”

The Outcome

Overall, since 2017, FSCC’s staff has redoubled its efforts to provide clear communication to

both clients and insurers.

These days, when employees are in the process of repairing a Nissan, BMW, or

Mercedes, they provide unsolicited updates each Tuesday and Thursday. If a supplement issue arises, they promptly reach out to customers.

“Timelines [have] definitely changed over the last 4, 5 years,” Haney notes. “The insurance companies hold us accountable, you know?”

Now, more than ever, Haney tries to avoid overpromising and under delivering. Now, he simply focuses on exceeding expectations for his facility’s repair work.

“You need to have that vehicle repaired within 15 days if that’s the expectation,” Haney says. “You can’t keep giving somebody an excuse for why the car’s not ready. You’re held accountable now; you’ve got a certain amount of time to repair a car, and our insurance partners, that’s all built into the repair.”

Spurred by the addition of their new estimating software—along with the overall desire to

provide greater transparency—FSCC has seen its CSI score improve significantly since 2013. While customer satisfaction languished at a little below 90 percent five years ago, it recently reached 95 percent in Florence.

That fact puts a smile on the face of Haney, who’s as motivated as ever.

“If you give someone a goal that the car’s going to be ready on Friday,” Haney says, “make sure it’s ready on Friday. Or, better yet, have it done on Thursday―that’s what we try to do.”

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