What do multipoint inspections (MPIs) and root canals have in common? Few people enjoy hearing either term. Speaking to the latter, service managers often fear that their techs pencil-whip MPIs and overlook their customers’ vehicle safety issues while customers view MPIs as a tool that dealerships use to scare them into paying for unwanted services. Clearly, both perceptions are not accurate, but all fears reflect some degree of reality. In a perfect world, MPIs are a tool that dealerships use to build customer advocacy and trust. That said, discussing the results of an MPI with a customer is an art rather than a science. The critical component to this conversation is providing customers with objective information that enables them to make a decision that satisfies them while they maintain agency over the entire process.
To begin our discussion, let us analyze our problem through the lens of both the customer and the dealership. For the customer, money is often tight and very few people have the means to pay for services that do not immediately affect vehicle safety. Further, customers have little desire to sit in a waiting room for hours while a dealership services their vehicle behind a veil of secrecy. These factors result in customers viewing service recommendations with a high degree of skepticism.
Meanwhile, the dealership depends on its techs to perform a MPI to standard. The dealership certainly does not want a customer operating an unsafe vehicle upon which they just completed a MPI nor do legitimate service reps want to sell customers repairs that they do not need. As a note of caution, using the MPI as a tool to pressure your customers into buying unwanted services is toxic to building advocacy and there are few better ways to send them to your competition. Pressuring customers into buying new, and unnecessary, brakes is almost as bad as sending them out the door with brakes that immediately fail after a haphazard MPI.
The implications of failing to mitigate these issues are significant and all culminate in a poor customer experience while your competition reaps the benefits of your mistakes. Past studies conclude that every lost customer costs your dealership $2200 due to lost labor and parts (drivesure.com). It doesn’t take a NASA engineer to understand the potential costs of MPIs creating negative customer experiences. One can take things a step further and include problems such as lawsuits associated with unsafe vehicles and disgruntled customers voicing their discontent in online reviews for the world to read.
The first step towards avoiding this nasty salad of lost revenue, scorched earth online reviews, and potential lawsuits is rather simple: be transparent. As previously stated, winning looks like a customer being satisfied with the decisions they make using objective information. MPIs are an excellent opportunity to build trust and advocacy to facilitate this end. Good MPIs look something like a real-time dialogue during which the customer makes informed decisions. Bad MPIs can involve sticking a customer in the waiting room for hours and asking them to trust you that the issues you discovered behind the secret curtain of your service bay are legitimate.
Further pulling the thread on transparency, dealerships should strive to eliminate any subjectivity from the process. A car is either safe to operate or it is not; therefore, MPI results are binary and are depicted as “pass” or “fail” on the final report. Discussing potential issues tells a customer that while their vehicle is safe to drive, your team thinks they should buy more services to be “extra safe.” Keeping the MPI’s results in a pass/fail context facilitates an honest dialogue and puts your customers in charge of the conversation rather than them second-guessing your subjective opinion.
Next, MPI results should occur in real time. With modern video call technology, there is no reason to make a customer spend three hours watching HGTV in your lobby before you discuss the results of their vehicle’s MPI. Video calls enable your techs to show your customers exactly what they are seeing and eliminates the secrecy of the service bay. Data from Cox Automotive states 54% of consumers are willing “to pay more for service when pictures or video are offered.” Cox goes further to explain how video calls reduce the number of declined services. According to one of their studies, closing rates without video average 25%, but increase to 31% with a photo and 51% with a video. Also, your customers can receive these video calls anywhere and eliminate the need for them to spend all of Saturday afternoon in your lobby. Now, they can drop their car off in the morning, chat with a tech when they must decide to authorize additional services, and pick up their vehicle in the afternoon.
Finally, implementing digital MPI checklists within your dealership eliminates the potential issues associated with hard-copy checklists. Digital checklists both create an auditable source of information that enables your team to identify local trends and serves as a quality control mechanism for supervisors. Additionally, a digital record of a customer declining a service can legally protect your team. Paper copies get lost in archaic filing systems and fail to establish accountability whereas digital copies can instantly share information or after it’s archived in a cloud. And as much as everyone loves the traditional fire hazard of the oil-stained bundles of paper jammed into a filing cabinet, your team can now both avoid spending time searching for a copy of a service performed in 2008 and replace the filing cabinet with a fancy Keurig or other caffeine-dispensing wonders.
We have described many disparate parts that combine together to create a transparent MPI process for your customers. And while you can certainly “Frankenstein” a solution, Auto Labs recently launched its all-inclusive service application that streamlines and optimizes your MPI process. One app to do all the things required to keep your customers safe and informed…what a time to be alive.
In closing, MPIs offer an excellent opportunity to achieve Customer Advocacy Nirvana, but long is the road and hard is the way to the Promised Land. To build advocacy, your customers must trust you enough to recommend your dealership to friends. To build trust, your customers must first have a great experience. And for them to have a great experience, your team must provide timely, convenient, and transparent service. Modern technology paves the way and can help you achieve two very basic goals: keeping your customers in safe cars and making money. Therefore, contact us today and learn how we can join your team and deliver the service your customers deserve.
Learn how Sophi CX can take your MPIs to the next level. Call us today.