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New technologies in sound dampening

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 08:00
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To that end, higher-end and luxury vehicle customers often have certain expectations for sound quality within specific automobiles. Tailoring vehicle acoustics to meet OEM preferences or to set the manufacturer apart from competitors is becoming more commonplace.

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The driver or passenger in a luxury vehicle often has certain expectations about its acoustics. He or she may anticipate nearly full isolation from any airborne or structural vibration noise. If a customer returns a vehicle to the body shop because it “just doesn’t sound right,” a technician now has to re-evaluate the repair.

Regardless of whether the vehicle comeback is because of noise from an improper or incomplete repair of NVH material or due to structural noise or vibration, it can still affect customer perception. Autobody shops need to be proactive and prevent any negative thoughts about the repair job or facility, which influences the overall customer experience. This in turn may have an effect on Customer Service Index (CSI) scores, one of the key performance indicators (KPI) essential to a collision repair shop’s success.

Shop management and technicians should consider using this as an opportunity. Collision repair facilities could suggest using a sprayable seam sealer in the wheel wells or underbody– even if the vehicle OEM did not originally put NVH materials in these areas – because it will reduce noise inside the vehicle. Using a DTM product with sound dampening in these locations also will provide better corrosion protection.

These are opportunities to upsell to a customer, which can create revenue for the shop and help ensure customer satisfaction. The customer may not be able to differentiate inherent structural noise from a vehicle (that was there before the repair was done but just not previously noticed) and noise or vibrations from not properly replacing NVH materials.

Regardless, it may make for a dissatisfied customer. Shop management can help prevent customer complaints through upselling to improve sound dampening above and beyond proper vehicle repairs. Note that shops should provide full disclosure with any upsells – it is being offered to provide the best experience for the consumer – but is not necessary for proper vehicle repair.

NVH restoration materials, along with all other “non-liquid” supplies, need to be included on the estimate/blueprint for cost recovery when required. Insurers, or the customer if a self-pay cash job, will pay for those products necessary for completing a repair when they are itemized and have a logical explanation.

Boosting your business with satisfaction

Ultimately, the goal for any repair job is to structurally and aesthetically restore a damaged vehicle to its pre-accident condition by fulfilling both OEM guidelines and safety requirements – and having a satisfied customer. 

Although a properly repaired vehicle technically should result in customer satisfaction, it’s not always the case. Autobody shops should embrace this as an opportunity. By providing the latest in sound dampening technology options, shops can help work toward complete customer satisfaction while helping out their own businesses.

For tips on how to confidently choose and use seam sealers and foams to reduce noise, vibration and harshness during vehicle repair, see “The Art and Craft of Repairing With Seam Sealers and Foams” in the November 2018 issue of ABRN.

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