Vehicle health checks (VHCs) are valuable tools for aftersales departments. But there’s a world of difference between a good VHC and a great one. Digital tools may hold the answer.
Chances are you already know that VHCs can help your dealership boost revenue and increase satisfaction. If you didn’t, you can read my blog on the subject to get up to speed, but in summary: by pointing out extra work that customers should have done on their vehicle, you can create additional paid work for your business, and demonstrate to customers that you’re looking after them, increasing their satisfaction with you – and their loyalty, too.
The thing is, though, that VHCs themselves aren’t very convenient. Many dealers use paper-based VHCs, but our research into dealers and their customers found that 63% of customers want to be able to see what on their car needs fixing and why via photo or video. A paper-based VHC isn’t something your customers will welcome with open arms.
In this blog, I want to explore 3 ways this digital-first mindset can be applied to VHCs, maximising their potential as brand-boosting revenue generators for your business.
1: use video to deliver VHCs
There’s no rule that says your VHC has to be written down – or at least, it doesn’t JUST have to be written down. Our survey revealed that over half of dealers (55%) are now sending videos to customers – it seems that the VHC of the future will be delivered via video.
This has several advantages for the dealership. Firstly, it’s more personable than a written document on its own. The mechanics can talk to the customer, and the customer feels a part of the discussion (even if your mechanics aren’t naturals on camera!)
Secondly, by talking the customer through what they’ve found – with accompanying visuals – your mechanics demonstrate their expertise to customers, building trust and loyalty to your brand.
Finally, video actually educates the customer by showing them what’s wrong. It’s no secret that most people don’t understand the workings of modern cars; a video makes it easy to understand what work needs to be undertaken, which makes the customer more likely to sign off on the work.
2: make sure you can share that video with customers in a premium way
I’m not talking about a red carpet premiere, here – but you do need to think about how you share that video to your customer. If the video has just been recorded on your phone, it won’t have your branding on it, and might look a bit unprofessional compared to a video that’s got your logo, contact details, and so forth on it. There are several solutions out there that make the shooting and presentation of your VHC videos look much more slick than some home-made footage.
You also need to think about how you’ll get that video to the customer. It’s likely that email won’t work, as most email servers won’t accept large attachments – which includes most videos over 2 minutes. Simply showing them on a screen at the dealership is one option, but it means you have to wait until the customer has come to pick up the car to show them – and if you’re recommending extra work, that will no doubt leave the customer feel messed around.
VHC video tools come with solutions for sharing your videos with customers – perhaps a link they can click to view it. It’s worth thinking about whether that solution gives a premium enough feel to it, though, or whether you need a more all-encompassing digital communication platform that you can use to share video.
3: ensure your customers can authorise extra costs remotely and quickly
We’ve already touched on how the subject of additional work needs to be handled carefully. Done right, the VHC should show the customer that the work is necessary and that it’s in their interests to get it done. But the customer won’t want to find that out just when they’re trying to pick up their car at the end of the day, or on their lunch hour.
Instead, consider a solution that lets you send the customer the VHC, detail the extra work required (and its cost) and gives the customer the ability to sign off on that work there and then. This is where some VHC video solutions may fall short, as they’re primarily concerned with capturing video and delivering it to the customer. A digital platform that customers can use to communicate instantly with your service advisors would be better here. That way, the customer can be notified as soon as the work is identified, they can see what the work is and what it will cost, and they can approve the work. This increases the chances that the work can all be done by the end of the day – or if the car will need to stay with you overnight, then at least the customer is forewarned and can plan their journeys accordingly.
It might feel like a small touch, but digitising this part of the process will go a long way towards showing the customer that you have their best interests at heart, increasing their satisfaction with your business – even as you possibly increase their invoice total.
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"If you lob a half-baked video VHC solution into your customer journey instead of investing in a fit-for-purpose tool, your customer experience may suddenly feel a whole lot less premium."
Adopting digital tools can feel daunting for dealers. It’s an investment, and it needs to pay off. Some dealers may be tempted to experiment with free alternatives and workarounds while they dip their toe into the water – but this approach carries its own risks. For many dealerships, their customer experience is a major differentiator – their premium service keeps their customers coming back for more. If you lob a half-baked video VHC solution into that environment instead of investing in a fit-for-purpose tool, your customer experience may suddenly feel a whole lot less premium.
Some providers may let you trial their solutions, so you can test them out without providing a poor experience to customers. The key is to start conversations with different solution providers, get a feel for how they work, and understand how they can help you ensure that their solution is a success in your dealership. The right partner won’t just sell you something and walk away – they’ll be there with you to make sure it does what it’s meant to do, and that it (and you) deliver customers the winning experience you’re aiming for.
VHCs are just one way of giving your customers a digital service experience that delights. Our whitepaper Transformation in Aftersales shows you how you can map out an entire customer journey that’s digital-first, and tailored to the individual needs of your customers.