By Riley Fletcher
The auto repair and service industry has come a long way in building trust with clients by focusing on front-counter customer service. Our reception areas are clean and comfortable, and our service advisors are efficient and pleasant.
But when it comes to building client trust, we might be neglecting one of our strongest assets: the skill and professionalism of our technicians.
I believe it’s time to start bringing them into the conversation.
Consumers are aware that vehicles are becoming more and more sophisticated. What they may not know is that our technicians have been keeping up with the times. Their technical knowledge is constantly expanding as they take training courses and get more hands-on experience with advanced engines.
Similarly, we’re investing in incredibly complex equipment that has unparalleled power to analyze vehicle systems and diagnose problems.
Our clients know what it means to put their faith in professionals. They do it on a daily basis, relying on lawyers, teachers, tradesmen, and doctors to solve the problems that they face in life. Just like these professionals, our technicians are great resources, offering knowledge and skills they won’t get anywhere else.
To give my clients a better sense of their role in the repair process, I’ve started referring to our technicians as doctors. They’re the real experts when it comes caring for vehicles.
As a service advisor, I can readily admit that I don’t know the more technical aspects of a particular work order. The service adviser is not the technician. The nurse is not the doctor.
It helps my clients understand the situation when I say, “The technician is a specialist when it comes to the work you need done. They’re like a doctor, running all the necessary tests to diagnose the problem and let us know where we stand. My job is to create an estimate based on the technician’s recommendations, and help you make a decision about what work you want to have done.”
This really shows that I trust the technician first and foremost, and that we work as a team to address the client’s best interest.
When working on a vehicle, technicians are rarely seen by the client, which can make it harder to build trust. In some cases, it makes perfect sense to introduce the technician to the client.
Involving the technician in the front-end conversations takes pressure off the service adviser, especially when the client has a lot of technical questions. Concerns are eased and doubts are banished when you simply say, “I’m sorry, I’m not the doctor. But our technician can get us that answer very quickly. Let me bring them in.”
Speak highly of the techs and praising them often throughout the conversation is critical.
Introducing them to clients shows them that their skills are highly valued.
Sharing the praise with them whenever you receive thank-you notes, kind words, or a box of donuts demonstrates that they’re part of the team.
Whenever a new client is nervous about all the work that has to be done, just smile and say, “Don’t worry, the doctor is in!”
Riley Fletcher is a former service advisor at T&H Autopro in Kamloops, B.C.