Streamlining Customer Service
Collision repairers’ daily challenges are many. For starters, repair costs are increasing, and insurers demand swift cycle times.
Yet, the expectations for stellar customer service are as high as ever.
Susanna Gotsch has studied the precise factors that can create an improved customer service experience these days.
“There’s been a fair amount of focus on hoping to improve the experience for the consumer over the last couple years,” notes Gotsch, director, industry analyst at CCC Information Services.
Her suggestions for providing impeccable customer service include the following:
PROVIDE FREQUENT UPDATES
Nowadays, repair facilities need to provide a response to customers’ emails and texts regardless of the time of day, ideally noting where their vehicle is at in the repair process (“Such as, ‘Hey, we fixed your car door, and we’re moving it to the paint area to paint it now,” Gotsch says). And, the modern collision repair customer wants multiple, daily updates regarding the status of their vehicle.
“What we find is we get some really interesting comments from people day and night,” Gotsch says.
The frequency of customer updates can significantly impact shop metrics like net promoter score (NPS), which notes how likely a customer is to recommend a business to a friend or loved one.
“One of the key variables to their willingness to recommend that shop is the fact that they were kept informed throughout the process,” Gotsch says. “Clearly, there’s a lot of interest and desire among consumers to remain engaged.”
“Putting that capability of streamlined communication into the hands of customers, in a way that they want” is important.
Recent research has shown that customer referrals are increasingly based on factors like how much shop information (like hours of operation) is available during a quick Google search, as well as how transparent shops are during the repair process.
Recent J.D. Power data, for example, notes that many consumers remain reluctant to report their first notice of loss online, and instead prefer their initial point of contact to be a living, breathing human being who can speak to them in “real-world speak” and avoid collision repair jargon.
From that point forward, though, most customers prefer to communicate via texts and emails regarding repair status updates.
“When you engage the consumer in the process and put more tools in their hands that are easy for them to use,” Gotsch says, “it helps. … It makes the experience much easier, and gives confidence to the consumer that they’re selecting the right shop.”