Across the United States, every dealership has an inspection process for vehicles. Whether for a service appointment or for a trade-in appraisal, someone runs through a checklist.
But there are glitches in walkaround inspections that are bound to affect a dealership’s ability to effectively use the inspection when it’s done manually. In most situations, automating the inspection process alleviates the concerns. Artificial intelligence-based systems can make this process a lot more efficient.
Challenges of Manual Inspections
There’s no question that an inspection is a value-adding process. The customer perceives that the service advisor or appraiser is engaged and caring. For dealers, it undoubtedly adds to revenue and improved CSI scores. However, challenges exist that limit the effect manual inspections can have.
• Manual Inspections Take Time:
Perhaps the busiest position in any dealership is at the service desk. Service advisors often juggle 20-plus customers per day, and a walkaround inspection becomes just another task to perform during the repair order write-up.
• Unrealized Potential from Inconsistent Inspection Standards:
When a day becomes overwhelming or an advisor is simply having an off day, an inspection’s thoroughness begins to slip. Now compound that among multiple service advisors on any given day and it’s suddenly possible for issues — major or minor — to slip through undetected. That could be leaving dollars on the table or, worse yet, lose the customer’s trust.
• Portions of the Vehicle are Inevitably Missed:
Even for the most thorough vehicle inspections by experienced advisors and appraisers, certain areas of a vehicle are missed. The undercarriage is one of the most obvious, but what about the inner sidewalls or suspension components?
How Automation Changes the Game
The human interaction as a main component in the automotive service experience is critical to customer retention. But is it the best use of time, and are there better ways to build trust with the customer? When the inspection process is automated with AI-powered technology, it elevates the dealership’s benefits and improves the customer’s experience in one.
• Improved Efficiency in the Process:
Regardless of how busy service advisors get, an automated inspection system doesn’t get tired or distracted. A customer entering the service drive can pass through the cameras effortlessly and the service advisor receives a report in seconds, and in more detail than a service advisor can capture.
Meanwhile, your human capital is performing functions that enhance productivity like reviewing the report’s images with the owner.
• Better Opportunities for Upselling:
With an automated inspection, the same inspection is performed every time, identifying opportunities for upsells that an advisor’s human eyes and limitations could easily miss. Whether it’s underinflated tires, a leak underneath or damage that has gone undetected so far, the precise nature of high-resolution image capture encourages better upselling.
• Enhancing the Customer Experience:
Naturally, customers have developed a mistrust of service advisors who “sell,” even when they have good intentions. With automated inspections, the service advisor is at arm’s length from the inspection process so they’re merely making recommendations based on data. As well, customers can see that the same inspection is performed every time their vehicle enters the service department, establishing trust based on consistency.
Manual inspections are beneficial for dealers when they’re done correctly, and when they’re done on every vehicle, every time. You can’t guarantee that level of consistency with people, and there’s a labor cost involved with every inspection.
Tackling the above challenges aren’t easy but recognizing that things could be done better while utilizing technology is a first step of this journey.