Why Women Don't Trust Automotive Repairs
Op-Ed by Ken Hite, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ClearMechanic
Every time I read news reports regarding automotive service centers not being honest or fair to women, I cringe. I’m also reminded of a recent visit with a ClearMechanic client, who shared with me that periodically he has to let technicians go because they won’t adhere to his company’s policies.
What are those company policies, you ask?
1) Complete a multi-point inspection form;
2) Provide customers photo or video evidence to support all recommendations.
These company policies seem pretty straightforward, not to mention easy to complete. It begs the question: why wouldn’t a service center and its technicians want to provide their customers with a multi-point inspection form and visual evidence to support all repair recommendations? Are they hiding something? Are the repair recommendations unable to be supported by visual evidence? Are they part of the problem, as noted by recent reports by ABC News and The New York Times?
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes. It makes you question not only the automotive repair industry as a whole, but your service center as well.
It’s not only women that don’t trust the automotive repair industry. Our society in general is very skeptical of automotive repairs. I recently visited with a prospective ClearMechanic client that shared with me that they have “loyal and trustworthy customers, and they purchase essentially everything we recommend.” I again cringed. To begin with, we all know this gentleman’s statement isn’t accurate. Customers are only loyal and trustworthy to an extent and they don’t purchase everything put in front of them. Even service centers that have been in business for 40 years and enjoy longstanding relationships with customers realize that they are easily susceptible to getting lumped into the “bad apple” group of dishonest service centers. All it takes is one ABC News or New York Times article to make the most loyal customers skeptical of their next repair visit.
Every day I continue to read about 18K franchise dealers whose customers continue to defect at an alarming rate. Simultaneously I read about 200K independent service centers all vying for customers. They all have one thing in common, a very finite group of customers that purchase a very small percentage of their service recommendations; why?
The automotive repair industry has a black eye, and regardless of women, men, or the Millennial generation, every service center must go above and beyond for their customers. If your service center isn’t willing to do the basics, i.e. provide your customers with a simple multi-point inspection form and visually validate your repair recommendations, then your service center will continue to struggle and ultimately become another statistic.
I applaud those service centers and their owners and management whose policies dictate that multi-point inspections be completed and that all repair recommendations be supported with visual evidence. We live in a very digital society today. Any customer with a smartphone, flip video recorder, etc., can instantly become a “journalist” and catch your service center in a poor light. Be smart, complete a multi-point inspection form, and take 20 seconds to visually validate your repair recommendations with photos and videos. Your loyal, trustworthy customers are only one visit away from trying out your competition.