Much of the world has embraced technological advancements, and many auto repair shops are doing the same to improve operational efficiency and drive growth. As an increasing number of vehicle components have become digitized over the years (such as the odometer and infotainment system), it’s only natural that car inspections follow suit.
Digital vehicle inspections (DVI) are a must-have for any auto repair business, and this article explains why.
What are digital vehicle inspections?
While conducting inspections, techs can use photos and videos to keep track of any work being done and send proof of repair to customers. Using this method, shops can send customers a clear visual of the work their cars need while they sit home watching TV.
Traditionally, vehicle inspections involved using pen and paper. A technician would check each item and mark it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard, and use that to invoice customers.
Without any way for auto repair shops to show worn-out components, customers would often feel like they were being overcharged. But they had no option but to blindly trust the technician at every step with no way to tell what the vehicle’s condition was. This made it nearly impossible to build trust with customers.
A survey by the AAA revealed that two out of three car owners didn’t trust auto repair shops and felt like they were presented with higher repair bills than justified. Another concern was the poor service quality forcing customers to visit shops multiple times.
What does a digital vehicle inspection look like?
Here’s how a DVI works:
An inspection checklist is made
The technician will create a checklist of all the items covered in the inspection. This could include simple tasks such as checking the oil, brake fluid, suspension, or more advanced tasks such as running engine diagnostics or conducting wheel alignment.
A repair order is created
First, a repair order is created for the vehicle in question. This is where basic information like customer name, car make/model, and phone number are added.
Records of the inspection are taken using media
Using the app, the technician documents the inspection findings by taking pictures or videos. For instance, they can make a video of a non-functioning tail light or take a picture of a worn-out air filter. The vehicle’s condition can be marked using three colors—green, yellow, and red. Green means all is good, yellow indicates a slight problem, and red indicates that a part requires urgent attention.
An inspection report is created and sent to the customer
Finally, with just a few clicks, the technician can create an inspection report. This report summarizes all the findings from the inspection and sends them to the customer. In this menu, you can also view the inspection history for the vehicle. Accompanied with proper media, this could allow you to look at a vehicle’s repair history and notice something that would have not been discovered otherwise.
What are the benefits of DVI?
DVI offers a wide range of benefits, some of which include:
Modern digital tools allow technicians to speed up the inspection process significantly. Coupled with the latest automotive shop software, they provide a record of all previous diagnoses, which can be helpful for current and future inspections.
Use of media
Smartphones allow mechanics to record voice memos, and take pictures and videos of the car, which can be archived to help with future repair jobs. Considering how high-tech today’s vehicles are, customers are more likely to trust a shop that uses modern digital tools.
By cutting out the clutter of paperwork from inspections, service advisors don’t have to waste time looking through a stack of paper. Plus, shops can cut down paper costs and save the environment!
Increased customer satisfaction
By adopting DVI, you can better cater to each customer’s needs. A busy customer will prefer knowing all the work their car needs and getting it done in one visit. On the flip side, customers who can’t pay large amounts in one go would prefer knowing their expenses upfront and defer jobs that can wait for a future visit.
Knowing that an auto repair shop allows them to budget and plan out future expenses can build customer trust and encourage repeat business.
Since customers can see a record of each inspection on their devices, they’ll always be in the loop regarding their vehicle maintenance. This leads to greater transparency and trust.
A greater average repair order (ARO) size
Since customers can see the damaged components, they’re more likely to agree to get all jobs presented in the estimate. This would lead to a larger average repair order size. Picture this: a customer goes in for tire alignment because they feel a sway in their car. Under normal circumstances, the technician would simply fix the vehicle’s alignment.
With DVI, technicians can present evidence of all jobs customers’ cars need. During the inspection, techs may find a worn-out axle to have caused the sway. Mike DelaCruz, Elite Worldwide’s Vice President of Sales, says that without DVI, there’s a 70% chance that customers would reject additional jobs they consider unnecessary. So, if a part broke, they’d hold the shop accountable, despite rejecting jobs service advisors suggested.
When asked about how auto repair shops have benefited since implementing DVI, Alan Beech, auto repair industry veteran from Beech Consulting says:
“They benefit in 3 main ways. They begin to inspect every vehicle more completely and consistently. This identifies more work. Secondly, when they send photo reports out to customers, they build tremendous trust. Thirdly, as can be expected, when customers trust more, they decide to purchase more and sales, and profits go up—usually about 20–30%. It is significant.”
DVI has helped countless shops streamline their process and save time. If your shop hasn’t implemented it yet, it’s not too late. You can start now and see the benefits for yourself!