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Posts Tagged ‘customer satisfaction’

Collision Avoidance Systems, Layered ADAS Technology, and Collision Repair Needs

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Due to the expected decrease in accidents, fully autonomous trucks often bring feelings of uncertainty to virtually anyone involved in the collision repair industry. However, as was discussed during the 3rd installment of the HD Repair Forum’s webinar series; there is a silver lining.

It’s true, collision avoidance systems aren’t new technology. The industry was exposed to early forms of these systems years ago with the implementation of anti-lock brake systems (ABS). However, truck manufacturers continue incorporating additional ADAS features into their vehicles at an accelerated rate. Understanding the technology and repairability of these technical features is extremely important for repairers to gain a foothold of, because accidents are still going to happen and your credibility and liability are on the line. 

A company heavily involved in vehicle technology and of increasing importance to the heavy-duty collision repair industry is component manufacturer, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. Recently, administrators at the HD Repair Forum brought representative Jim Barber of Bendix, forward to speak directly with collision repairers in an one hour segment titled, “Evolve Your Business to Keep Up with ADAS Equipped Vehicles.” The newest OEM technical additions, the importance of proper repair and operation of the technological additions before returning affected vehicles to customers, as well as technological terms such as YAW, LAS, and SAS were just a few topics of importance that were discussed.

Although full autonomy seems to be the end goal of vehicle technology developments, it is not here yet and will not be incorporated exactly as some may perceive. Barber laid out clearly to those in attendance that the industry’s projected path in implementing all five levels of vehicle autonomy will take some time, “Today, we’re currently into level 1 systems and we’re crossing into Level 2 systems…The Level 5 systems (where a driverless vehicle will be implemented) probably won’t be a reality until the 2040, 2050 time frame.”  In fact, using the aviation industry as an example, he furthered this statement by adding, “We’ve had fly-by-wire aircraft for almost 30 years, where an aircraft can take off and land by itself… but yet the federal government still requires a pilot and a co-pilot.”

Still, the industry trend is to continue adding more sensors, gathering more information to achieve better performance, with driver lives and safety at the forefront. Thus, this educational episode was spent ensuring attendees understood the importance of getting acclimated with the latest additions in heavy- and medium-duty vehicle advance driver assistance systems) technology and that repair needs and processes are changing.

ADAS technology can be viewed as “building-block” technology, in which the newest ADAS technology is layered upon the pre-existing technology, or the ABS systems in this case. In other words, the ABS system serves as the foundation in which additional advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are built upon. An animated diagram provided during the webinar helped participants grasp the layering effect. 

Understanding the building blocks of ADAS is an important message, because it will help diagnose and repair vehicles when it enters the shop, especially when the vehicle involved has Bendix Wingman and Fusion technology. Barber further clarified that each layer of added technology provides another message for the ECU to read, thus an action to deliver.  

Essentially, the technology depends upon each other; ground-breaking comprehension in that each feature must be observed for complete functionality post-collision. The culmination of Wingman and Fusion components and technology brings the ABS, ECU (electronic controls unit), Radar and Camera together. “The camera may see something, but the radar does not, and it tells the system, no don’t worry about it, and vice versa…The system goes active when the two components agree.”

An underlying message for this webinar and even expressed as a question asked by a participant is, does a safe and proper repair begin with scanning the vehicle? Barber confirmed that every shop should have a document outlining the condition of that truck when it arrived at the shop, and more importantly the condition it was in upon delivery. The ACom Pro Diagnostics tooling and software referenced in the webinar is one such method to achieving that goal. It provides documented proof of active engine fault codes, battery voltage, and even provides technicians with needed information, such as the proper steps to recalibrate sensors. This is the documentation and proof that you need to show the fleet owner, insurance company or vehicle owner that you performed a safe and proper repair. It could mean the difference between a comeback, subsequent accident, fatality, or lawsuit. 

Additional important messages were shared during this month’s webinar and included pre-scans and post-scans, steering angle sensor recalibration needs, proper replacement of cameras on windshields, which is OEM specific, and more. 

For a complete review of the information shared in this webinar, sponsors of the HD Repair Forum Webinar Series have made this information available to the industry on demand. Simply register to watch this episode or previous episodes by following this link. 

SCA Appraisal Launches Dedicated Department of Insurance (“DOI”) Re-inspection Unit: Names Jose Hermida Unit Leader

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Burbank, CA – In response to the growing demand of insurance carrier clients for Department of Insurance “(DOI”) re-inspections and regulatory compliance, SCA Appraisal has launched a newly-formed DOI Customer Success Unit.  Most SCA clients know Jose Hermida as he has been servicing SCA clients for over 20 years and is a client favorite. Jose will be leading the new DOI- CSU program.

“The regulatory environment in some states is becoming ever more complex and compliance is critical for our clients.  The establishment of a dedicated unit ensures that compliance.” says Tim Davis, President of SCA Appraisal.  “Being able to meet the unique needs of our clients in specifically-regulated markets with the DOI program further illustrates our evolution from an independent appraisal company to an integrated appraisal company.”

Clients will have three program options within the DOI program.  Specific vehicles can be assigned for re-inspection.  A selection of vehicles can be made by SCA based on geography and claim count.  Or, clients can opt for a fully-managed program that uses rental car logs to identify re-inspection opportunities in order to meet compliance.  In all cases SCA provides the necessary re-inspections and supplemental reporting.

In business since 1979, with franchise and supplier resources in all 50 states, SCA is a leading provider of private passenger auto, specialty, heavy equipment and financial services appraisals.  For more information, or to request a demonstration, please contact ClientServices@sca-appraisal.com.

SCA Appraisal Launches Customized Client Care Program

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SCA Appraisal Launches Customized Client Care:  Appoints Monica Diaz Senior Director of Customer Success, Lucano Figueroa, Yesenia Barreto & Amye Chow Customer Success Managers

Burbank, CA – To meet the evolving needs of its customers across a variety of industries, SCA Appraisal has implemented a Customer Success division and has re-allocated and added resources to specifically support clients across various markets. 

Monica Diaz has been appointed Senior Director of Customer Success and will be accountable for end-to-end delivery to clients across three unique markets: insurance, third-party administrators, and financial services/government.

“Our industry has experienced a lot of change over the 41 years we have been in business.  However, perhaps the most profound change has been our clients’ requests for company-specific requirements that leverage their own unique brands and identities” states Tim Davis, Jr., President of SCA Appraisal. “The IA space has long had a reputation for a one-size fits all approach, that is not acceptable at SCA. We are investing in our clients’ success and when they are successful, we are successful.”

Lucano Figueroa, an 18-year veteran of SCA will lead the Financial Services/Government group.  Yesenia Barreto, brings her 13 years with SCA to lead the Third-Party Administrators group.  Amye Chow, with SCA since 2011 leads the Insurance group. 

“All aspects of a claim will be handled by a vertically-integrated team that is familiar with our clients’ business objectives and processes.” says Monica Diaz.  “We know we are an extension of our clients’ claims resources and we are aligned accordingly. Customers will see industry-leading service.”

In business since 1979, with franchise and supplier resources in all 50 states, SCA is a leading provider of private passenger auto, specialty, heavy equipment and financial services appraisals.  For more information, or to request a demonstration, please contact ClientServices@sca-appraisal.com

SCA Distributes Over $30,000 Worth of PPE Appraiser Safety Kits Free to Industry

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Burbank, CA – In a period of 10 days, SCA Appraisal has delivered 550 Appraiser Safety Kits at no cost to members of the industry including independent appraisal suppliers, SCA franchise owners and even competitors.  “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our entire industry and we wanted to do something to give back to those folks who make it happen every day,” says Tim Davis, Jr., president of SCA Appraisal. “We put out notice via social media about the kits and within 5 days we had requests for over 500. https://www.facebook.com/scaappraisal/videos/542225729776383/?d=n

“I am proud of how our team mobilized to get them out within days and the testimonials have flooded my inbox.”  

Each kit contains PPE including gloves, masks, and sanitizer spray with a value of over $65. “I contract with several Appraisal Companies and no one stepped up to bat to help keep us safe the way SCA did!  Not only did I receive increased compensation & bonuses for putting myself into harm’s way, but they also sent me the supplies I needed and could not get anywhere locally,” wrote Leo Slosser of West Coast Appraisers. “Thank you SCA for the awesome masks, gloves, wipes & sanitizer you sent me!  I was getting worried I would not be able to find anymore and BOOM! Delivered.”

Another appraiser, Jimmy Wessel of Tulsa, OK sent a note after receiving the PPE. “During COVID SCA provided quick and proper guidance to protect the employee, shops, & owners we deal with on a daily basis. Trying to locate items locally was a nightmare. In an unprecedented time SCA was able to communicate to us not only the procedures, but provide the masks, gloves, & sanitizer we very much needed.”

As a leading independent appraisal company, SCA is committed to the well-being of its franchise and supplier network, which includes the safety of appraisers, vehicle owners and shop personnel.  “As a franchise owner for over 10 years, SCA has always provided exceptional support.  SCA once again showed their appreciation by not only providing “COVID Relief Compensation”, but also by sending personal safety kits.  They really do care and that’s why I’ll always be loyal to SCA. “, says Elizabeth Muradyan, SCA franchisee.

For inquiries: Clientservices@sca-appraisal.com

Property Damage Appraisers Launches Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service

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Property Damage Appraisers, Inc. (PDA), the nation’s leading independent damage estimating firm, provides clients with the fastest damage estimate turnaround times in the industry. In 2018, PDA began guaranteeing Same-Day and Next-Day Service for standard auto claims. Now, the firm is proud to announce that it will be expanding the Same-Day Service offering with Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service.

“PDA’s expedited Same-Day Service guarantee has helped our clients deliver outstanding automotive damage estimating services to their customers,” said CEO Tom Dolfay. “With the launch of Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service, we are helping our client’s customers minimize business interruption and downtime costs, and get back to business without needing to rent heavy or specialty equipment or store damaged pieces.”

With Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service, client’s customers can receive same-day service on everything from tractor trailers, emergency vehicles, busses, construction equipment, farming equipment, yachts, aircraft and every other type of specialty equipment.

PDA’s Same-Day Service is the result of a multi-year effort to improve efficiencies and reduce the time it takes to deliver damage estimates across the company’s national team of more than 650 local appraisers. PDA is the leader in providing fast, accurate estimates for all kinds of equipment and property damage, completing nearly 420,000 damage estimates a year.

“Our clients and their customers expect fast service and we’ve been aggressive in adopting and implementing new technologies to help our clients meet those expectations,” said Dolfay. “Every minute of downtime can cost a company thousands of dollars, especially for expensive heavy and specialty equipment. PDA’s Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service minimizes time and productivity loss by delivering fast, efficient and accurate damage estimates on all types of mission-critical equipment.”

When a Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service assignment is received PDA’s proprietary National Optimizer technology utilizes data analytics to dispatch the closest qualified appraiser to the damaged equipment. This technology coupled with PDA’s National Optimizer Team ensures PDA is on-site within 24 hours. Since launching last year, the National Optimizer has expanded PDA’s ability to build on industry-leading cycle times and estimating services on a national scale, and now offer Specialty/Heavy Equipment Same-Day Service.

ABOUT PROPERTY DAMAGE APPRAISERS, INC.
Property Damage Appraisers, Inc. (PDA), the nationwide leading independent damage appraisal firm, is revolutionizing the industry by providing consistent quality products at speeds never experienced before across the United States, including guaranteed Same-Day Service, using a combination of technology and human expertise. PDA completes over 420,000 estimates a year for heavy equipment, over-the-road truck, specialty equipment, auto, RV, boat, motorcycle and property damage through our national team of more than 650 local appraisers in more than 250 offices. Established in 1963, PDA’s corporate headquarters is in Fort Worth, Texas.

How Heavy-Duty Collision Repair Shops are Doing Their Part

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As the world watches the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, people and companies are doing everything possible to stay healthy, stay in business, and reduce the impact of this illness on the healthcare system and the economy.

Over the past few days we spoke with a number of shops and companies to find out what they’re doing to keep employees safe and healthy while trying to reduce the spread of the virus. The purpose of these calls was to gather information and share that with the HD Repair Forum audience.

Following are examples of the steps shops and companies across the US have put in place:

Steps for Staff

  • Every shop we spoke with has all employees wearing gloves at all times. There is a constant exchange of tools and wearing gloves discourages touching around the face.
  • Vendors and other non-employees are not allowed in shops in order to reduce contact and exposure.
  • Lunches and breaks are not at the same time for every employee, thus avoiding everyone congregating in one place at one time (physical distancing).
  • Some shops are purchasing lunch for staff; this reduces risk of bringing an illness from homes, and it supports local food-service businesses that may be surviving by pick-up or delivery only.
  • Some shops have altered work hours and created new shift times, so some employees start earlier in the day and leave earlier, while other employees come and leave later in the day. This establishes little, or no overlap while having fewer people in the shop at the same time.
  • Some businesses have opened on weekends to further spread out their staff’s time in the shop, and allowing some people, who have children at home to work more flexible hours.
  • To reduce bringing illness to the business some are offering a safe, clean place to change and asking workers to consider leaving work clothes and boots at the shop.
  • More hand-sanitizer stations are being placed throughout the business and a good supply of soap at every sink and wash station.
  • Anyone with so much as a sniffle needs to stay home until absolutely healthy.
  • If any staff can work from home, even for some hours, try to support that.
  • If a company has more than one location, no staff is traveling to other offices
  • Staff meetings in some shops are limited to no more than 6. Keep group meetings small, in open spaces if possible, and have people physically apart from one another.

It is critical to have staff buy-in for the measures you are taking. Some people are taking this situation more seriously than others, and it is very important everyone is in alignment with the steps and measures taken for the safety of all. One way to do this is to ask your team members for their ideas on how to keep everyone safe. When they feel they have a voice in the process, they are more likely to support new mandates.

Steps for Customers

  • No customers are allowed in shops. Customers are met outside and at a safe distance.
  • Some shops are requiring scheduled appointments only to spread out the number of people coming in for repair work.
  • Do not reuse pens; when a customer signs an estimate or invoice, give them the pen to keep.
  • Photo-estimating is being utilized as much as possible.
  • All vehicles are disinfected before any employee gets in a vehicle. Key touch points are wiped down including but not limited to:
    • Door handles (inside and outside)
    • Armrests
    • Steering wheel
    • Seat belts
    • Any push-button areas on the dash and doors (radio, electric windows, thermostat, etc.)
    • Cruise control and windshield wiper controls
    • Glove box and center console
    • Shift levers and knobs
    • Hazard light buttons

When all work is complete, the vehicle should be disinfected (following the same steps as above) before delivering it to the customer.
It is very important to communicate these measures with customers, so they know your procedures and feel safe when working with your company.

Steps for Leadership

  • Lead by example; if you ask your team to take certain safety measures, you should be abiding by those same measures or they won’t take you seriously.
  • Listen to your team. Many people are losing jobs right now. Kids are at home because schools are closed. Some products are not available on store shelves. All of this is creating stress. Anything you can do to give your employees some level of comfort in their roles will help with productivity and their overall well-being.
  • Look at opportunities to acquire products that your staff cannot get at a store. One shop had a large order of paper towels and toilet paper that they were able to share with their staff.
  • Stay informed of local, regional, and state mandates; they are changing, sometimes daily, and you need to be ready to make adjustments. Some states are requiring shelter in place or mandatory quarantines.
  • If possible, keep in touch with local officials. Your business may be able to help in some way.
  • Contact other shops and share ideas, challenges, and solutions. The HD Repair Forum was designed to promote networking within the industry and now is the time to take advantage of communicating with your industry peers.
  • Most importantly, keep yourselves, your team, and your customers safe. This is your highest responsibility.

In speaking with some of the vendor companies, many are cutting travel for their staff so communication and orders should be made by phone and email. Be patient with them as some of those companies are able to shift their efforts to the medical community. Gloves, dust masks, and head socks are difficult to come by right now, because they are being sent to medical establishments. Within your own shops, DO NOT REUSE THESE ITEMS! But do not be wasteful either, they are in high demand right now.

In addition to the many steps listed above, if you are taking additional actions at your place of business and you would like to share them, please let us know. Information is empowering, and this is certainly a time to help one another any way we can.

If you have any questions, are looking to connect, or would like to share the additional steps you are taking, please contact us: www.hdrepairforum.com/contact-us/

Customer Satisfaction Measurement – How to Use it in the Shop

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In our last installment, we asked- somewhat tongue-in-cheek- Does Customer Satisfaction Exist? The premise being, how do we define “customer” today when HD owners, fleet managers, OE’s and insurance companies can all be important influencers in the repair process? Undeterred, we pressed on with the “why’s” of measurement, including components of successful measurement (The Six C’s of CSAT Measurement).  You can reference the last installment here

This month, we are going to explore more specific uses for customer satisfaction measurement to demonstrate the value of such programs. Since there are a variety of uses, we will separate them into two main categories: Internal and External.

Internal uses are those that are more operational in nature, that owners and managers use to run their business and help their staff.  External uses are defined as those applications that are more sales and marketing oriented, or those that involve communication or contact with those outside the organization.

Internal Uses

      1. As an Essential Part of Core Strategy, Management Philosophy

Buy-in from the top owners, executives, and managers is crucial to the success of your Customer Satisfaction Program. The Program should transcend reports, numbers, and information so that it is an underlying philosophy of business operations. In that way, it becomes integrated into your entire system of managing the company. 

It serves us well to recall that we use the term “customer” with the understanding that in the HD repair environment, there are many people and organizations that impact successful service delivery- not only vehicle owners, but also fleet managers, insurance companies, and others. As such, we construct our program with all those people and organizations in mind.

Most companies have a Strategic Plan that guides the direction of the organization. Some common components of a Strategic Plan may include a mission statement, budgets, sales, marketing and operational plans; IT and HR plans, and the like. Best practice would dictate consistent meetings to review the Plan, confirm you are on course, and make adjustments as necessary. The Customer Satisfaction Program should be part of the Strategic Plan.  Inclusion in the Strategic Plan sets the foundation for integration into company culture.

Some of the following initiatives and ideas will demonstrate to your staff why you included the Customer Satisfaction Program in the Strategic Plan. 

2. As an Integral Part of Compensation Plans

Your Customer Satisfaction Program should measure performance by employee. This information can be incorporated into compensation or incentive plans. The example below shows a report Estimator. Other staff can be rated on overall satisfaction scores or other metrics provided by the program. 

Usually, plans are devised to operate on a month-over-month basis. This is a great way to keep the Customer Satisfaction Program at the forefront of the minds of the employees.

 A word of caution: as with any program that impacts compensation, keep an eye out for attempts to inappropriately influence outcomes and results. 

3. A Way to Help Attract and Retain Talent

One of the biggest challenges for owners and managers in today’s environment is attracting and retaining good employees. Demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction also demonstrates a commitment to employee satisfaction as the two are closely related (more on this in a future installment). Compensation programs can be mentioned in the interview process and, once an offer is tendered, be an important part of the on-boarding process. It can also be included in the Employee Handbook. 

      4. As a Conduit for Cross Functional Management

Sometimes, strategic initiatives remain in company silos. For example, maybe the owner or President does the financials. The IT Manager updates the management systems. The Marketing Manager deals with the web site. Technicians and administrative employees focus on daily tasks. Depending on the size of the company, collaboration can be difficult as the day-to-day tasks need to be completed. The Customer Satisfaction Program however, is a reason to bring all functions together as it impacts all functions. 

Consistent meetings should be held to review results- as, ultimately, all silos and functions depend on the customer for the company to succeed. In the meetings, accolades can be bestowed on employees’ positive results, and challenges can be discussed too. Best practices can be shared, while go-forward initiatives and goals can be established. 

      5. Operational Measurements for ROI

Your Customer Satisfaction Program should provide opportunity to monetize some of your results, which may be of particular interest to owners and managers. For example, surveys often include some type of a “return” question, such as: 

After your repair was completed, was it necessary for you to return to the shop for additional work? 

Results could be displayed in a graphic like the one below:

The donut graph demonstrates that over the past 90 repairs, about 82% of them have not returned for supplemental work, but that about 18% of them (or 16) have. “Comebacks,” as they are often called, throw a wrench into the efficient workings of a repair facility, since there are administrative, scheduling, operational, and workflow interruptions that often accompany a comeback. Therefore, there is a cost associated with every comeback.

The average cost will vary with the type of work the HD repair facility does, but based on previous studies done by TenPoint Complete, it is estimated to be at least $400 per unit and could be much higher. The first step to reducing your comeback rate, is to actually track your comeback rate. 

You can then dig into root causes (potentially in the aforementioned cross-functional meetings) and set about lowering your comeback rate. This provides real ROI- but it also provides a platform for collaboration, and when improvements are implemented successfully, improves employee morale. 

Comebacks affect the overall efficiency of shop operations in the form of workflow and scheduling updates. There is an administrative expense that impacts everyone from the front office to the technicians. Potentially, parts need to be ordered and/or returned. The actual labor put into the return make be the greatest expense if gratis or at a reduced rate. And, everything hour you incur on a less profitable or non-profitable job takes that same hour away from a more profitable one. 

Instead of an expense, shop owners and managers should look at Customer Satisfaction Program data as information that can help improve financial results. 

External Uses 

      1. Marketing and Advertising 

Without even looking it up, I know that GEICO has a 97.1 customer satisfaction rating, because they have made it a priority to incorporate that number into their messaging. Few companies have the advertising spend of GEICO, but there are still plenty of opportunities available to communicate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Positive customer satisfaction results should be incorporated into your marketing strategy. This can include your website, advertising (print, radio, billboards, etc.) in your customer waiting area, press releases, most public relations activities, hiring events, and other customer facing activities. 

You may be able to incorporate a message in communications with customers, current and former, as well as prospects. Examples may be e-mail campaigns, direct mail, newsletters- whatever your methodology. 

Consider incorporating the premise of customer satisfaction into your brand promise- which could include your tagline or slogan, that is used on company documentation from RO sheets to business cards.

      2. Insurance Companies and OE’s

Insurance companies play an important role in many HD repair and are very much concerned with policyholder loyalty. They understand that it costs them a lot more money to recruit new customers than it does to keep current policyholders. The amount of churn they have, or policyholder turnover, is meticulously tracked.

Insurance companies in the automotive repair space have put CSI programs in place, often in conjunction with their Direct Repair Programs (DRP’s). In the HD space, we are beginning to see the emergence of some managed programs that have some similarities to DRP’s. 

HD shops can solidify and expand their relationships with their insurance partners by being proactive with regards to a Customer Satisfaction Program. They can also use the information the program generates to attract additional work from insurance companies. 

OE’s can be another important source of referral business. Make it a point to have a professional presentation on hand for conversations with your OE and insurance business partners. It could be a hard copy binder, a PowerPoint, or a PDF for e-mail. Make your Customer Satisfaction Program an important component of this marketing piece. Other components would be items such as your mission/vision statement, facility capabilities and equipment, certifications, recognition and awards, community involvement, etc. 

      3. Service Recovery

Service Recovery is one of the most important components of your Customer Satisfaction Program. How many times have you gone to the trouble to reply to a survey or give feedback on an experience only to be ignored? It is vital that you recognize and respond to low scores and negative feedback in a constructive manner that turns a negative into a positive, or at least neutralizes the negative!

There are entire courses designed around service recovery (too much to get into here), but whether in person, over the phone, via-e-mail or social media, make sure only skilled employees are dealing in service recovery. Use surveys as a way to determine the satisfaction level of customers, and then follow up accordingly. 

On a 0-10 scale, we can generally divide responders into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. Promoters are rating you a 9 or 10, and are your biggest fans. Passives are rating you a 7 or 8 and are just lukewarm about your service. Detractors are rating you between 0-6 and likely have some serious issues with your company. A basic goal is to move the Detractors up into the Passive category so they are not actively involved in harming your brand, and to move the Passives up to Promoters, so they are actively involved in positive word of mouth, or social media advertising. 

      4, Performance Groups and Best Practices

Many shops are involved with performance groups that promote best practices between non-competing repair facilities. Sharing customer satisfaction results with peers is a great way to build on victories and learn how others have successfully navigated dealing with the most complex and angry customers and situations. 

Performance Groups often have veteran and skilled leaders that have vast experience throughout the country. Often, paint company, insurance company, OE or other executives are invited to speak and share their experiences. This is often an excellent way to discover solutions to specific problems, relative to customer challenges and issues: from peers and industry experts. 

Next Steps

Previously, customer satisfaction has sometimes been difficult to quantify. The “I know my customers” strategy that has proven at least partially effective in the past, will not be considered as appropriate or sufficient moving forward. While personal relationships remain the foundation for many if not most business activities, measurements, data and information are becoming increasingly important to assist in the development and sustainability of those relationships. 

What we have presented here are some use cases for using a Customer Satisfaction Program both internally and externally, that can prove valuable to shop owners and all their “customers”: employees, HD owners, fleets managers, insurance companies, OE’s and strategic partners. 

TenPoint Complete has been helping clients design and measure their customer journey for over 20 years. John Webb is a company Partner and a Net Promoter Score (NPS) Certified Associate. He can be reached at jwebb@tenpointcomplete.com 

 

Customer Satisfaction Measurements Should Be a Priority

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Does customer satisfaction exist? No. Not in the HD repair industry, anyway.

There are too many players, too many constituents, too many people that are not “customers” that influence the process and the outcome of an HD repair. We are not selling T-shirts online. Some days, we probably wish we were. This is a more complex business. There are nuances to be considered in every unique repair.

Still, we have an innate desire to do the right thing. To provide great service to the HD owners, fleet managers, insurance company representatives, TPA’s and OE’s; to work efficiently with paint companies, parts providers, and multiple other vendors.

To help keep ourselves on track and ensure we are doing things the right way, we rely heavily on measurements. We have financials that include P&L’s, balance sheets, income statements and breakouts of business units that tell us how much money is in the bank. We measure cycle time, and parts, and paint usage. We track how many hours our employees work and how much money we are spending on marketing as a percentage of sales. Measurements are everywhere.

But for many of us, measurements of customer satisfaction- commonly called CSAT- remain an afterthought. But-there are those words again– customer satisfaction. Although it is probably not an adequate descriptor, I may have to revert to using it in a very generic and holistic sense, since there is no word (that I can think of) that more accurately describes everyone and all the organizations that influence a repair in the HD industry.

The comparison of financial statements and customer satisfaction is an interesting exercise. And, if not an actual exercise, (likely due to inadequate CSAT data points), at least an interesting philosophical discussion. Where does CAST show up on the balance sheet? Well, it doesn’t. Assuming you are making money (let’s hope so!) how can you therefore determine if the numbers in financials represent good profit or bad profit? Is there such a thing as bad profit? Yes- but let’s just say not-so-good profit. What is not-so-good profit (NSGP)?

  • NSGP values policy over relationships, making it more likely that costs will be driven up in the future due to short-term gains in the present
  • NSGP allows customers to remain unsatisfied, causing future brand deterioration by negative word of mouth
  • NSGP allows customers to remain unsatisfied, driving up future service costs that you may not be able to get compensated for
  • NSGP measures cycle time, but not comeback percentage
  • NSGP gums up the works by tying up your resources with complaints or re-work, that as an additional side effect is also quite de-motivating, if prevalent enough

Interestingly, without customers, there would be no need for financial statements, paint, parts, or much of anything else for that matter. Yet, some owners and managers relay on the old “I know my customers”, “I know everything that is going on in my business” mantra. There are two major reason why, even if partially true, it is best practice to systematically verify your beliefs.

First, customers won’t tell you everything they will tell a computer screen or a live agent with whom they have no history or personal investment. And, with your best source of future work being a recommendation, it is vital to harvest this feedback. Even customers that are completely satisfied can provide valuable information for future operational improvements and future products and services.

In a study of thousands of customer satisfaction surveys, TenPoint Complete found that even those customers that rated the overall experience a 9 or a 10 on a ten-point scale, approximately 25% of them had some aspect of the experience they thought could have been improved.

That brings up a second point, which is that expectation levels are constantly changing. You are not only compared to your peers in the industry, but to other service providers, some of which are doing a very good job. Many, however, are still not exceeding expectations, or creating raving fans. This is actually good news, as you have the opportunity to step-up and position yourself in the mind of the customer (insurance company, fleet manager, OE, TPA etc.) as an exceptional provider.

A recent personal example of a service failure occurred when I ordered checks from my bank (yes, still need the paper kind on occasion). Long story short, it took over three weeks and several frustrating phone calls to accomplish this task. My feedback was straightforward: Providing check re-orders should be a core service competency. The expectation level today is not two or three weeks on a request of this nature- it is two or three days.

There are certainly many additional advantages to CSAT measurement. If this has at least provided some food for thought, I’ll wrap up with some best practices or characteristics of CSAT measurement.

The Six C’s of CSAT Measurement

Commitment From the top. The owners, executives, and managers that sponsor or initiate the programs must be fully invested in their implementation, or it will be very difficult to achieve the goals.

Customer Focused Strategy Sounds obvious, but the measurements need to create action. For example, customers need to be followed up with upon receipt of negative feedback. How many times have you given negative feedback and not been acknowledged? Not good!

Consistent Many companies produce an annual CSAT measurement. While this is better than nothing, it leaves a lot on the table, like the opportunity to impact corporate culture and the ability to use results as part of an overall management tool and philosophy.

Complex Not! Complex measurements and formulas are interesting to statisticians and people who work in the industry, but not many others! Survey questions, reports, and other tools should be straightforward, intuitive, and easily understood.

Comprehensive From a methodology standpoint, you may want to consider a company that utilizes omni-channel communication. For example, the ability to survey via SMS (text), E-mail, and live agent. Also, having the option of an invitation to social media may be of interest.

Credible Measurements need to be credible to influence your important stakeholders and constituents. Producing the measurements yourself or relying on a company that does not have a core focus in CSAT measurement may dilute your efforts.

In future installments, we will explore more specific uses for the measurements in the HD environment and some of the most widely used tools for this type of strategic initiative.