Use technology to improve customer relationships

Audatex has released a report urging UK bodyshop and repair businesses to use technology to improve customer relationships and future proof sources of repair work.

The An Extra Hour in the Day research of 250 independent and franchised bodyshops across the UK, found that a lack of efficiency across the workplace is costing UK bodyshops and repair businesses an average of one hour per day per employee. The third insight paper of the series focuses on how tech can drive customer retention and safeguard their future business streams amidst the ongoing shift towards service-centric business models.

The research found that that the main sources of work for bodyshops and vehicle repair businesses across the country are currently through insurance companies (70%) and off the street/walk in/personal recommendation (58%). Amongst those surveyed, a further 30% of repair work was stated as coming from other work providers.

However, industry leaders predict this business stream is likely to shift towards fleet and work providers such as accident management businesses over the next few years and businesses need to be ready to manage this. In addition, creating jobs, small accident repairs or ‘off-the-street repairs’ are expected to decline, due to the new technology making driving safer, e.g. advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

Amidst these changing sources of repair work, Audatex also explored how bodyshops are strengthening customer relationships to ensure a steady flow of work. The research found that most communication with the customer takes place over the phone (88%), compared to just 10% of bodyshops who utilise social networks and online portals to engage with customers.

Commenting on the findings, David Shepherd, regional managing director at Audatex UK and Africa said, ‘With so much uncertainty in the market, from changing vehicle technology to shifting work sources, vehicle repair businesses must focus on enhancing their service to deliver a quality experience and ultimately maximise their established sources of repair work in the future.’