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Technology ADAPT Reports

Selling at a Distance? No Problem.

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Aug. 31, 2020—Customer interaction in the year 2020 looks completely different than it did in 2019. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing restrictions, customers are not coming into the shop to wait for their vehicles like they once were.

Now, shop owners are scrambling to find new ways to sell work, which can be difficult without being able to physically show customers the issue. One solution has been available for years, although many are still not taking full advantage—digital vehicle inspections. 


The Resistance  

The 2020 Ratchet+Wrench Industry Survey (ADAPT’s sister publication for automotive repair shops) found that less than half (47%) of shops utilize digital vehicle inspections (DVIs). Digital vehicle inspections, for those that are unaware, are when the inspection is recorded on a device so it can be sent to the customer to provide visuals, like photos and videos. The reason many shops have not yet adapted these is because of pushback received from staff. Many older technicians are stuck in their ways and don’t want to learn a new piece of technology.

For tips on introducing new technology to your staff and getting buy-in, click here. 


The Need 

Not using one may put you at a disadvantage, especially right now in the midst of a pandemic. Joelle Pollack, director of sales and marketing for NAPA AutoCare, says that during the pandemic, NAPA customers that were already using digital vehicle inspections were able to get back on track in just a few weeks when COVID-19 hit. 

“Some members weren’t interested [in DVIs] at all, this was the little nudge that they needed,” Pollack says. “Overall, they’ve seen positive results and it has been a part of their new norm.” 

Social distancing makes vehicle walk arounds very difficult. That doesn’t mean that customers will just trust you blindly, though. When the pandemic hit, shop owners that were already using videos and pictures to show customers what the issue was with their vehicles were already in a prime spot because they had the tools in place to connect remotely already. 

“We had a lot of shop owners that were very prepared without even knowing it for this new normal,” Jason Rainey, vice president, NAPA AutoCare, says.

Customers really do appreciate being able to see what’s going on with their vehicles and shop owners are catching on, although it’s still not mainstream. In 2016, using a digital inspection sheet was rare, with only 33 percent reporting they used such a system. In 2020, the number has risen to only 47 percent, according to the Ratchet+Wrench Industry Surveys. 

If you still don’t utilize a system, you may want to rethink it. Shops that utilize electronic inspection sheets significantly outperformed those that didn’t when it comes to making a sale. 


Utilize Electronic Inspection Sheet 

Closing ratio of 70% or higher: 46% 


Does Not Utilize Electronic Inspection Sheet 

Closing ratio of 70% or higher: 9%  


For more information on the need for DVIs, click here. 

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