By Warner Jones, senior vice president of product at TruVideo
The days of popping the hood and telling a customer what’s wrong with their vehicle are over. Lives are busier, cars are more complicated, technology is better.
Today, service technicians can record a video inspection on a mobile phone and immediately text the video to the customer, saving time at both ends and raising confidence. Customers better understand what’s required to keep their vehicle in top shape, while repair order (RO) approval rates and upsells increase for the dealership. It’s a win-win.
But when should you make videos, what’s involved in making them and how can you encourage your technicians to get on board?
When to Make an Inspection Video and Why
An inspection video on every customer-facing repair order, regardless of discovered problems or vehicle miles, sets both context and expectations. Additionally, inspection videos shared with a used car manager can help create an official inspection record for internal ROs. Recalls especially give you a unique chance to impress a customer who has not visited your service department.
But, why make a video?
Think of traffic light codes. When you send a vehicle inspection video after 5,000 miles, for instance, vehicle components should be in the green zone. In other words, the brakes, tires, filters and such are all good — all systems go. By the third or fourth video, the customer should notice how those items are wearing down and approaching yellow condition, which means they will need to be replaced soon. By the time a specific vehicle component reaches red (and needs to be replaced), the customer will fully understand the RO.
Ultimately, on-going transparency through video offers a level of service customers won’t get from an independent or aftermarket shop. It helps your service department stand out from the competition.
Who Should Make Inspection Videos?
Some dealerships assign one person to serve as their videographer. At best, this is a short-term solution. Obviously, one person can’t get to all the cars, all the time. And when he or she is out sick, no videos get recorded at all.
Typically, the sole videographer is a former advisor, which comes with good and bad news. The good news is the videographer knows what it takes to service a vehicle. That person understands the ins and outs of the vehicle and the service operation.
There’s a catch, however. Because of that person’s previous service experience, the sole videographer is also the one most likely to be asked to step in for an advisor who goes on vacation or is out sick. During that time, it is unlikely any inspection videos will be taken. That’s the bad news.
The smart and safe long-term solution is to spread the responsibility to each of your technicians. Train them appropriately and make taking videos a normal part of their standard multipoint inspection process.
How to Convince Your Technicians
Initially, you might face pushback from the team. In all likelihood, more than one technician will tell you they are not comfortable taking a video. Don’t panic. This is normal. You can dismiss such concerns by having the technician record three brief videos.
The first video would be the ice breaker and should take no more than 15 or 20 seconds. The technician would send this first video to his or her own mobile number and watch it. The second video would be longer and sent to another technician in the shop or to a spouse, friend or partner. For the third, the technician would record a real inspection (or something close to it) and send that to the service manager for feedback.
Once your technicians have jumped the how-to hurdle, you may want to remind them that recording their inspections will make for faster responses from customers and more approved work, which means the vehicle spends less time on the lift and more billable hours for the technician and more money in their pocket.
Empower Your Technicians to Succeed with Tools
Using gauges, the technician can show tire tread depth and brake pad thickness, which allows for a visual demonstration of the measurements and can serve to educate the customer on the normal wear of these key components of a car. If the technician is showing the results from a battery test, place the battery tester or a printed report of the battery condition on the engine compartment and include that in the video.
For better audio, technicians can use a plug-in microphone designed to reduce background noise, to help ensure the technician is clearly heard and understood.
Finally, your pointer device can be as simple as a screwdriver or your finger, or as advanced as a laser pointer. And don’t forget to use a flashlight to illuminate specific components.
Video inspections improve CSI and dollars per RO significantly when sent to customers. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the customer is at home, at work or waiting in your shop, seeing is believing and believing is buying. That’s the real beauty of video.
Warner Jones is the senior vice president of product at TruVideo, a leading provider of an all-in-one, video-first communication platform that enables dealerships to deliver trusted and effective customer engagements.