How are you sharing diagnostics results with the client?

Craig Service Advisor Grand Rapids, Michigan Posted   Latest  

The nature of the space I work in these days causes me to look at vehicle analysis very differently.

I feel shops are becoming much more accustomed to communicating things digitally, but a lot of times this ends with basic inspections.  

What about communicating the results (and proving the value) of a complex diagnosis to the client?  

I have my own ideas about this already, but I'd be curious to hear how folks in this network are showcasing their results with the CLIENT.  IMO, a little effort here can dramatically change the "grease monkey" stigma our industry is still stained with... and the service staff will have a much easier time turning analysis into revenue.  The problem is, the effort here requires additional time from the technician.  (I hear a lot of "That's the service advisors problem... not mine.")  Is it?

Matt Diagnostician
Red Wing, Minnesota

It's a tight rope to try to walk.  

First of all, I/we just try to be open and honest.  I guess, just try to be realistically transparent.

Second, I/we really try not to dowse them with techno-jargon.  Sometimes it comes to that, but it's usually driven by the client and generally avoided on our part.

It may start out the SA's "problem", but it really is a shop-wide "problem" that is addressed by anyone involved or qualified to.

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
John Diagnostician
Springfield, Missouri

I tend to mirror what Matt said, we obviously share our digital inspections and minimal test results that these offer. As for scope patterns and scan data, even detailed service info or tsb's, that is seldom presented at the sales counter. We have a solid reputation of trust and a high level of professionalism that our clients can see, so like Matt suggested, unless they ask for it, we won't waste their time. Our line item labor op's will report code descriptions, certain test results like pressure, volts, current etc, as compared to specs. We will often add image files to the invoice, and sometimes this will include data and test results.

+3 Ð Bounty Awarded
Bruce Technician
Spring Hill, Tennessee

We use Autoflow DVI and I created a custom inspection specifically for diagnostics. Document all codes related to concern and any additional codes not related to the concern. Type them out or take a picture of code list. Then document tests performed and the results of the test. And if additional testing is needed, write that up. Then that gets sent to the customer/client. Update that with results of the additional testing, if any, or the results of the repair verification. Gives them something they can see and maybe better understand what they are paying for. Try not to be over technical in what I write up and sometimes edit code descriptions to not be over technical

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
Craig Service Advisor
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Bruce, I'd love to have to look at that custom sheet sometime. I get a lot of clients asking for ideas on that. I have my own presupposed ideas based on experience for what will work, but no test environment to prove the concept!

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Joe Technician
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

It really depends on the customer. Some of our fleet accounts have a manager that we share photos of the issues or they stop by and get shown the vehicles in progres. If there is involved diagnostic work we need more time than asked for at the start we give a detailed list of the testing preformed and what will be tested going forward. It takes a lot of communication with everyone to work. 

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Luis Technician
Lake Forest, California

I try to do a health check scan on every car possible, I have catch dtc’s that do no set the light yet and inform the customer and make them aware

0 Ð Bounty Awarded
Pete Mechanic
Newark, Delaware

I find that it's usually best to take what's perceived as a negative and use it to my advantage.

Contrary to the popular opinion of many leaders in our trade I have no issue with terms like "grease monkey", nor do I care what someone outside of my immediate circle thinks about me or my shop. My shop is purposely located in a hard to find area with some 30+ shops in my immediate area (2 miles) . I focus on accuracy and thoroughness above all else and because I'm pretty good at that I have more work available to me than I am willing to schedule. Oh did I mention I's some 40% more expensive than pretty much anyone (including the dealers) in our quad state area?

My shop is semi clean, far from as nice as many of the big shops out there. We don't crap up our customer’s cars but sometimes we do go home wearing our "warpaint" after a hard day of work. We work in a trade where it should be OK to be dirty and frankly the kind of folks that would be offended because our uniforms got soiled working on their car probably represents the kind of folks who are gonna fight about their bill after the job is done. I think reasonable folks expect that their mechanic is gonna get dirty and so long as we aren't soiling their car of course. I owned and ran a "soap, paint, lights" shop back in the early 2000s. No regrets, I made money at that too, but it was a harder life and it wasn't authentic, not to me and that is something I . I think we live in a time where there is a subsection of society that craves authenticity and are willing to pay for it. .

Oh yeah, customer communication :o), we do some 90% of our client communication via email, text and digital portal. We are so converted to digital that I've started using having an email address as a qualifying factor to become a new client. We answer the phone maybe 50% of the time now and our answering machine directs folks to email us. 99% of our estimates, including in depth testing results are emailed to our clients. An example of an instance we will always make a call is if we screw something up, knock on wood that isn't too often. :o).

Digital communication is more transparent, it removes the pressure of having a person on the phone and asking them "what do you want to fix". We've pretty much eliminated all buyer remorse and our clients buy more because they feel empowered to control their auto repair experience. Going digital has been 100% win for all involved for my shop.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Oscar Service Manager
Claremont, California

We use a management system that allows us to post/ attach photos, diagrams and analysis procedures to better support the recommendation. Most importantly the technicians understand that with the small amount of time they take to add value to their analysis the better chances are the customer buys the services. This is not a “service advisers problem” because if the customer is not getting a clear picture of the recommendations from our facility then they will get it from someone else.

Communicating the inspection/ analysis results, the correct way, to the customer is just as important. The management system we use also allows us to send an encrypted link of the repair order were the customer can view the inspection, photos and approved recommendations. Upon check-in the customer is notified that they will receive this link and about 5 mins after we will call them to review the recommendations together.

Today’s technology allows us to be able to communicate with the customer in a more direct way however, these are still tools used when calling the customer. This is you can add even more value to your inspection and/or analysis procedures. I believe this is more important than having the ability for the customer to view their inspection. At the end of the day the service will not sell itself so we must use the tools to better service the customer's vehicles.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
Pat Technical Support Specialist
Westfield, Indiana

We have RO writer as our main shop management system integrated with RO touch. This allows us to attach pictures to a courtesy inspection, its great for the basics. Beyond that we have a shop drop box account that we use for diagnostics or in-depth issues. We create a customer folder and then attach a health check/system scan. From there we will attach TSBs or flash/update descriptions if applicable. If not we continue the diagnostic process and document with scope screenshots or maybe questionable data PID captures. We always send this to the customer but its not always done just for them. If for some reason we made a bad call it gives us data to fall back on and learn from where we went wrong. It has also saved us when a vehicle comes back a couple months down the road for similar issues, we have data to back up that its not the same issue. As others have said I doubt the customers care about it. But we have found that doing this has helped us all grow and teach each other as a unit. It also gives us a great data base to learn from and use a tool in the future.

+2 Ð Bounty Awarded
William Diagnostician
Ashland, Virginia

We do a fair job of explaining on the ticket what we did, the results and what we advise next. If needed we back that up with printed waveforms and pictures of found issues. Many of our customers use email, texts to communicate, but more still use the phone call. Some want an in-depth explanation, but others just want to know the costs and when it will be done. We try to provide the customer the level of information they want.

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded
William Owner/Technician
Surrey, British Columbia

I use printouts of scan tools, scopes and pictures to communicate the vehicle problems and severity on repairs. It doesn't matter if the client understands what the printout is saying. You can explain if the client wants an explanation. Just the fact you can lay a printout on the table is proof to them you are doing a lot of work to solve their problem. You tell a customer I had to take front of engine off to do those phasers and the easiest way to do that was to pull the cab doesn't have the impact when stated verbally as when you state it and present the pictures to them1

+1 Ð Bounty Awarded