Once the vehicle is sold there remains another responsibility to the dealer. This is to assure the customer is confident that should they require collision repair, you are the one to provide it. Your recommendation of a collision repair facility is counted on as assurance the vehicle will be made whole through the repair process. As the dealer, be diligent in that recommendation, or there could be heavy consumer and financial ramifications related to improper repairs (as an example, read about a recent legal situation in Texas, and the outcome).
After the sale of a vehicle, which the manufacturer has guaranteed and warranted will perform for a specific manner for a specific amount of time, often double-digit years, the consumer expects that it will. You take on the maintenance of that promise as part of the sale. It is the BRAND that is being protected through the guarantee and warranty. The vehicle is manufactured to perform and as the dealer you will be held responsible to guide the vehicle through its life in a responsible manner. Should there be question as to the performance of the vehicle, post-collision repairs, you will be the first to bear the brunt of the responsibility and may be asked to be accountable for any deficiency in the repair. Beyond that, a deficient repair will cost you, and the manufacturer, a future sale along with consumer discomfort and dissatisfaction. It is known that when a customer experiences a troubled issue relating to the performance of their vehicle, their next purchase may not be of the same BRAND. A customer’s perception that they will share at any opportunity they have.
With this said, I would like to encourage you to engage with the collision facility, internal or external, that you recommend for collision repairs. Support their needs and require that they meet all current standards in equipment, materials and related product and OEM-required training. With the myriad of technical advances and critical calibrations required in today’s collision repairs the vehicle cannot be “remanufactured” by just anyone and not performed in every facility. The tooling, training and customer service level that is expected to satisfy the vehicle repair and customer needs are enormous and not taken on by every collision repair facility in the industry.
I am happy to see that many manufacturers have chosen to certify collision repair facilities by implementing specific criteria of capabilities that must be met and are aimed at assuring the facility is, and will remain, capable to equip, train and demonstrate quality manufacturer specific repairs. With this move they are saying out loud that all repair facilities cannot repair our vehicles properly. There is now active periodic auditing of repair work going on, delving deep into the quality, completeness and accuracy of repair work performed. Check to see if the collision repair facility associated with your dealership makes the grade.
I hope that most of you are aware of this need and have a Standard Operating Process in place, outlining the requirements and expectations placed on these facilities to protect your BRAND. With this in place you are doing your best to assure that the customer receives a collision repair product that aligns with OEM standards. Engage in the assurance that those you work with in this important service to the customer provide you predictable, reliable, and consistent performance. As a dealer protect your BRAND and engage in knowing you are doing your best to avoid an accident.
Author: Bill Sefcek
Bill Sefcek is a collision industry consultant who is well-versed in quality of repair standards. He is president of Stan Mitchell Enterprises, where his effort is to bring awareness to the areas within the control of the workplace. Bill also works with VeriFacts, traveling the country to perform once a month facility coaching sessions that bring attention and awareness to the technician for the demonstration of repeatable, accurate and complete repair tasks.