Auto Service World
News   April 14, 2022   by Adam Malik

How to keep the human touch in your shop

In an age where more and more is being done digitally, don’t forget about the human touch, a shop coach advised during a recent conference.

What makes the human touch even more important is, as we emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the lack of human interaction and consumer desire for speed. Technology has reduced those old touchpoints that are still valuable to the customer experience, observed Clint White, a service advisor coach & shop consultant with CWI.

“In fact, I’m actually really a big fan of technology. I have used the text-to-pay, I have used the text-to-approve estimating process. There’s great things to be done with technology,” he said during the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in March.

“But the challenge is that we lose the human touch. I think there’s a place for it … maybe [we] have gone too far.”

Clint White speaks at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo

It’s important for shops to not lose sight of the fact that they’re looking to create successful, profitable and lasting relationships with clients, White said.

Though an advocate for change, he noted that he believes is wise to look back on things that have served the industry well and see how they can be adapted to today’s society and expectations. In an age where anything can be digital — yes, a paperless business can help a business run efficiently, reduces waste and may satisfy a customer’s desire for less paper — those human touchpoints are also reduced, and possibly eliminated.

So he asked shops to think about ways that they could give something tangible to a customer who comes into their shop.

“The tangible touchpoint is very, very important. … Customers can’t always see and feel the repairs. Very little of what we do changes the dynamic of the vehicle,” he noted.

He used the example of the conference. Attendees plunked down thousands of dollars each to attend. They’ll go home with a tote bag and notepad. Nothing too expensive, but it’s something they can hold in their hand as a reminder of the experience.

“It gives you something. it’s a tangible touchpoint. And when we don’t give anything to our customers, I think we lose,” White said. “It’s something that lets them know they were there. Our customers should always clearly understand their investment.”

One could argue the customer came in with a car that didn’t start and they’re leaving with one that does. But they also often come in for maintenance — an oil change, fresh fluids and so on. And it drives exactly the same when they leave the shop as it did when they arrived.

“Where’s the value?” White asked. “People complain … about price because they don’t feel they received the value they paid for.”

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