Shop owner Jose Magdaleno says it’s inevitable in any shop that, occasionally, customers will pick up their cars and say, “This dent wasn’t here before,” or “We had more fuel than this.” That’s why Magdaleno has always used a customer check-in sheet at his Long Beach, Calif., shop, Number 1 Auto Collision. His process involved a staff member walking around the vehicle with the customer and circling all prior damage they saw on the car, as well as fuel levels and number of miles.
Still, Magdaleno says that the check-in sheet opened the door to disputes and the shop would end up fixing the issue and losing money. “Insurance companies today, they basically want us to do great customer service,” he says. “We as body shops are sitting ducks. We just say, ‘Yes, we’ll fix it.’”
HOW IT WORKS:
The Record360 app, which Magdaleno started using more than two years ago, acts as third-party objective verification to prior damage claims. Although it acts similar to the check-in sheet, the app creates an additional level of documentation for the shop. Magdaleno’s CSRs will use a tablet’s built-in camera to first scan the VIN and then shoot a walk-around video through the app, all the while talking with the customer and pointing out prior damage. The app also allows the CSR to add points of interest (such as dents and scratches), which will then be photographed and circled. Later, the CSR can go in and add notes or a description to those points. Altogether, he says the walk-around takes around one minute.
The app also has a date and time stamp, and a customizable checklist that allows the CSR to add mileage in/out, fuel-in levels. After doing the walk-around, the CSR will go over the report with the customer, have them sign it and send a copy via email. The report will then be stored in the Record360 database, which can be accessed online.
Although the app is more expensive than using the traditional check-in sheet, Magdaleno says it has cut down on comebacks and damages by 80 percent. “We used to get quite a few and now it’s very rare,” he says. “It’s a good tool to protect ourselves.”
Magdaleno says the major ROI comes from the money saved by not having to spend time either arguing with the customer over prior damage or fixing the disputed damage, which ultimately means the shop loses money. That occurred more frequently before, Magdaleno says, because he was looking for the quickest way to put out the fire.
In addition, it has also become an upselling tool for the shop, which has provided additional revenue and a profit center for customer pay work. “Customers sometimes don’t realize they have a scratch or a ding on the door,” he says. “We upsell quite a bit.”
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