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New RepairPal survey reveals techs' thoughts on customers, care, costs and more

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 09:00

RepairPal recently released the results of their RepairPal Certified Shop Index, which surveyed 162 auto repair shop owners within RepairPal’s Certified Shop Network. The survey revealed attitudes and trends from automotive repair shop owners, including a broad awareness of mechanics’ reputation among consumers. The survey also uncovered shop owners’ points of view in relation to the auto industry as a whole, consumers, repairs and automotive trends.

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“RepairPal’s Certified Shop Network sets the bar for quality work, fair prices and customer satisfaction,” said Art Shaw, CEO of RepairPal.  “Our goal is to acknowledge the realities of our industry, bring them to the attention of consumers and ensure meaningful solutions are put into place for both automotive business owners and consumers alike.”

Education Key in Successful Experiences
The automotive industry is one that grapples with its reputation – certainly, a history of a “few bad apples” and subjective pricing has made many consumers nervous about trusting their mechanic. Of the RepairPal Certified shop owners surveyed, 80 percent said they were aware of unfortunate situations in which consumers may have been taken advantage of. This makes it all the more necessary to continue to educate car owners and ensure that they are aware of resources available to them, such as the RepairPal Certified Shop Network and the RepairPrice EstimatorTM, to help guide them.

Results of the survey also found that 90 percent of auto repair shop owners agree that the most important factors consumers should consider when choosing a shop are certified mechanics and trustworthy consumer reviews. Armed with positive reviews, mechanics can combat the sometimes-unflattering stereotypes surrounding the auto repair industry and consumers can find confidence when choosing their next auto repair shop using RepairPal’s Certified Shop Network.

Maintenance and Repairs 101
The survey findings emphasized the need for shops to continue to go back to the basics with their customers – teaching them “Repairs & Maintenance 101” not only ensures they feel more comfortable with their experience at a repair shop, but also establishes the mechanic as trustworthy, skilled and knowledgeable. Moreover, the same is true for mechanics in repair shops – continued education of automotive staff is crucial to provide high quality service. In passing along points of interest to car owners, mechanics advise the following:

• Before purchasing a car, do your homework – Over 94 percent of auto repair shop owners agree that maintenance history records and evidence of accident damage are the most important factors in a vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Both the consumer and the mechanic should do an evaluation.

• Ask to understand the different needs of various repairs – Certain damage or maintenance require different things, and asking questions can save you money, especially as 85 percent of shop owners believe that more expensive auto parts do not always mean better quality.

• Your mechanic should be your guide… literally – Nearly 85 percent of respondents believe that a repair shop should provide guidance to the consumer when it comes to explaining any issues with the vehicle, why the repairs are necessary and why additional repairs may be needed.  

• What would you tell your mother? 62 percent of those surveyed agree that the most valuable piece of advice they would give their mother when searching for an auto repair shop is to find one with a third party certification (like that of the RepairPal Certified Shop Network). 

• Don’t miss scheduled maintenance, such as timing belt repairs or replacements and oil changes - According to 80 percent of those surveyed, these two issues are the most often ignored, much to the detriment of the vehicle.  Scheduled maintenance appointments are the most important investments consumers can make to save money in the long run.

• Looking for “old faithful?” Over half of those surveyed say that Toyota is the brand to beat when it comes to overall reliability on the road.

Millennials, Mobile Apps and Green Vehicles…Oh My!
The survey also found that 49 percent of auto repair shop owners believe that Millennials are the generation that is least likely to routinely care for their vehicles, while Baby Boomers account for the most car-care conscious group (62 percent).  These differences may also account for the way each generation approaches understanding their automotive ownership experience, even contributing to their research and overall understanding (or lack thereof) when it comes to finding a qualified mechanic.

Shops are also more tech-savvy than you may think – the overwhelming majority of shops surveyed say they already offer online appointment scheduling (91 percent), and over half provide access to services and information about their shop via mobile friendly websites and/or apps.

Repair shops are also going green – 68 percent of RepairPal Certified shops repair electric  and/or hybrid vehicles, with 35 percent doing so for over five years. These shops are also looking ahead and are preparing now for the expected increase in electric and hybrid vehicle repairs, with 67 percent stating that they plan on investing in training for their technicians in repairs and maintenance for these types of vehicles. An additional 38 percent see green as the future, and are investing in new technology and tools to fix hybrid and electric cars.

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