One of the critical services that a franchised dealership provides to a customer is an accurate assessment of their vehicle when it is brought in for service. Technicians usually inspect every vehicle throughout the course of their day, but the paper form used to communicate the results often causes internal staff frustrations, is not completed accurately or not delivered to the customer at all. With the recent advancements in digital inspection technology, transitioning from paper to digital inspections is now cost effective, easy and often results in more sales.
The Problem with Paper Inspections
Paper forms can cause internal dealership frustration, reduce customer retention and often don’t help the dealership sell additional services. It’s not uncommon to see a rift develop between advisors and techs when it comes to inspections. Techs report that advisors rarely present paper inspection reports and advisors report that techs don’t complete the inspection reports. No matter who is right (or wrong), over time, paper inspection reports are often less accurate and can be perceived by dealership staff as a waste of time.
For service managers, narrowing down where the problem is (techs or advisors) is extremely time consuming and may not be accurate. Imagine all the hard-copy repair orders you’d have to pull to determine where the problem is. Not to mention checking to see if each includes an accurate vehicle inspection. Even if every RO includes a report, how can the service manager tell if it was presented to the customer?
Paper forms can negatively impact the customer experience as well. Customers often don’t receive inspection reports when they need them or they receive inaccurate reports. If a vehicle component that was graded as “green” fails shortly after leaving the dealership, it’s highly likely that customer won’t be returning to your dealership. Our business is fast moving and repairing a vehicle is, by nature, a dirty job. Paper forms unfortunately often have greasy fingerprints or wet marks all over them. Our business is unique, but it’s not so unique that we should give customers dirty paperwork.
How Digital Inspections Can Help
Digital inspection products are recently becoming more cost effective. Some OEMs are requiring digital inspections and often tie earn-back programs to platform usage that can significantly reduce the platform cost.
Implementing a digital inspection can reduce internal team friction by increasing accountability. The detailed reporting that is provided to the service manager helps him or her precisely identify if techs or advisors are the root cause of any inspection problems.
Most digital inspection products create a significantly better customer experience. Digital inspection reports, including pictures and video, can be sent directly to the customer’s mobile device in a matter of clicks while the vehicle is being serviced. Consumers can quickly make a purchasing decision and techs can complete the work without taking the vehicle off the lift. Finally, it goes without saying that a digital form can’t have greasy fingerprints on it!
Digital Inspection Platform Must-Haves
When considering the transition from paper to digital, there are a few key features that you should review. Ease of use, speed and integration are critical. Can a technician quickly complete the vehicle inspection? How easy is it for the advisor to send the results to a customer? Do repair orders seamlessly integrate into the system and do all functions of the digital platform work together? How easy is it to access usage reporting?
Given the importance of communicating vehicle inspection results, the digital inspection product should also include easy customer communication, preferably text messaging. Text messaging has proven to be a highly effective means of customer communication in the dealership.
To create a great customer experience, the product should include photos and video to increase transparency. Adding in the ability for customers to seamlessly pay for the service from their mobile device adds up to a great customer experience. A good digital inspection product will also help you re-market to customers if they have declined certain jobs.
Finally, consider how the digital inspection product will improve the overall shop flow. Some products include real-time internal communication that reduces the amount of time your team spends walking around trying to communicate with each other.
Consider Switching Today
In general, now is a great time to transition from paper to digital and it is often much easier than perceived. Most products are web-based and run on nearly any dealership computer. They can be learned in a matter of minutes and start generating results for the dealership in the same day.
Given all of the OEM funding available for these products, it’s a great time to consider making the switch from paper to digital.