How to Choose the Right Repair Shop
Our friends at CSN Collision Centres share their expert advice.
5 Things to consider when looking for a repair centre
SEARCHABILITYThe average customer isn’t packing up their vehicle and going on a roadie to find the right mechanical or auto body repair centre. It all starts online and as such, the right repair centre is easily accessible via a simple Google search. That’s simple enough to understand and seems intuitive, but it is always shocking to learn how many small/medium-sized business aren’t online. When searching for the right repair centre what a customer is looking for is a website that is easy to navigate, that has inviting photos, relevant information about the services they provide and most importantly, one that is teeming with positive reviews.
REPUTATIONYes, even collision centres use Google reviews! An auto body shop that deserves to see yet another customer services between 50-100 vehicles every month, which means there should be recent reviews of that facility from customers who got the type of service that matches their star rating. This is such an important aspect of the customer service process for businesses that work in the automotive repair sector. Ensuring that customers are receiving outstanding treatment goes a long way to securing their next service appointment. The reviews should be reflective of the kind of experience one would expect following something unfortunate like a collision. Staff should be genuine, empathetic, and willing to share information with customers on a regular basis so that there are no doubts about where the customer is in the repair process.
Automotive repair isn’t easy and don’t be misled by the stereotypes portrayed in TV or film. The modern vehicle is more complex than anyone who doesn’t repair or build them for a living is aware. A customer that wants a collision or auto body repair completed by a trained expert should be looking for a facility with certifications in specific makes and models — jack of all trades master of none is not recommended for today’s driver.
Here is a summary of what is required to complete a safe and proper collision repair:
- Pre-wash: That’s right, the vehicle gets clean first!
- Triage: Here, the vehicle is visually mapped and inspected by a repair coordinator.
- Assignment: Depending on the vehicle make, model, year it is assigned to a technician with a specific skill set and training credentials (remember that jack of all trades thing?).
- Disassembly: Exactly what it sounds like — and this is meant to identify any damage that isn’t visible in the initial triage.
- Research: The vehicle has specific manufacturer standards required for safe and proper repair called OEM procedures and the repair coordinator researches them based on the vehicle make, model, year.
- Planning: In collaboration with the technician, the repair coordinator establishes what repairs are necessary and orders parts to facilitate the proper repair.
- Approval: The customer and the insurance company sign-off on the work prior to the repair.
- Body work: The technician completes the repairs to OEM specification.
- Paint: Think taping and cutting in your bedroom is hard? Painting a vehicle is a science.
- Quality Control: Check the work before giving back the keys.
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QUALITYIt goes without saying that the importance of a quality repair is paramount. The second most expensive purchase in consumers life is their car and if it needs a little attention to get back to driving condition the work done to it needs to be up to a certain standard or loses value and in some rare cases can compromise the drivability or even safety features. The right repair centre will have a track record of success and that will be indicated by the reviews on their website and the approval of insurance companies that work closely with that facility. Ensuring that the repairer has certifications for certain vehicle makes is a form of proof that they’ve committed to using specialized training, tools, and equipment to guarantee a safe and proper repair. The quality of their front office staff is another important measurement to consider. Does the repair centre staff seem empathetic? Are they helpful? Will they communicate with the customer in their preferred channel (phone, email, text)? These are all viable ways to determine if the repair centre is one that a consumer can trust to do the right repair.
TRUSTShopping for vehicle repair isn’t something to be taken lightly. Selecting a repair centre that is going to complete your repair properly the first time is vital. Outstanding repairers take pride in being the trusted advisor to every one of their customers and that sentiment should be felt by consumers from the time they arrive at the facility to the moment they leave. Prior to arrival, do the research and know what to look for. When the customer arrives, what they see in person should align with the photos they saw online. The certifications the facility has should be on display. Make sure that the repair centre states what they will do and when they will complete it by and hold them accountable. The best repairers will exceed that expectation and over communicate with their customers if there is a chance that they will not meet that deliverable.
Be prepared to do the research and the positive results will follow. Consumers should feel empowered that the choice they are making is founded on good information. Now more than ever, they have a wealth of information at their fingertips to assist in making the right purchase decision when it comes to vehicle repair. If all else fails, consumers can use these steps to identify and arrive at the right mechanical or auto body repair centre, the first time. For a safe bet, ask your insurance provider for recommended repair shops and vendors — their approved lists will have done the work for you, and sometimes they may even guarantee the job.