New service contract is added customer benefit Rad Air has been seeking
The best automotive repair shops have been established and operate on one premise: to offer the best service and repair work possible to their customers. The thought of how profitable the business will be is secondary at most because, great shop owners who put their customers first know that profitability will be achieved as satisfied customers will keep coming back.
Andy Fiffick is certainly one of those shop owners. As the owner of 12 northeast Ohio shops, Fiffick lives by the adage, “Take care of the customers and they will take care of you.”
Fiffick expresses his customer commitment in what he calls three golden rules: 1) fix the car right the first time; 2) charge a fair price; and 3) make sure the customer is happy. With that kind of philosophy, it’s no surprise that his business — Rad Air — holds a minimum “A” rating with the BBB and all are BBB Accredited Shops. (Note: Most Rad Air shops have earned an A+ rating; however, newer shops cannot earn the “+” rating due to their limited time in business.)
Recognized for his customer focus His customer commitment is a primary reason that Motor Age has recognized Fiffick’s business as a Top Shop over the last several years. He goes way beyond what most independents do, including providing loaner cars just like most dealerships.
And like dealerships, Fiffick recognized that he wanted to offer another attractive customer benefit — service contracts. Unfortunately, after trying a few contracts from different service contract companies, he was left with a sour taste in his mouth. “Simply, they didn’t provide what they said they were going to provide,” he says. “Although offering service contracts is beneficial to my customers, I can’t offer them something that is not up to par with the service and maintenance we offer.”
Ready to give up on the thought of ever offering service contracts again, Fiffick heard about a new offering from Motor Age called the Motor Age Vehicle Protection Plan (MAVPP). “I was interested right away because in the back of my mind I had hoped someone would come along with a premium service contract plan that I could count on — and I knew I can count on Motor Age!”
Choice partners boost confidence Moreover, the companies that Motor Age partnered with even boosted his confidence more. “The two companies, Century Warranty Services, Inc. (CWS) and Automotive Product Consultants, Inc. (APC) are two leading service contract providers in the country. CWS underwrites the contracts and facilitates claims while APC handles business development and support, including recruiting, training and servicing shops. CWS and its affiliates are among the largest service contract providers in the industry.
“With this kind of reputation and support behind this new service contract program, I knew this was something that not only we could sell, but should sell for our customers’ sake,” Fiffick emphasizes.
While the other plans that Fiffick once offered were fraught with problems, Fiffick says Motor Age and its partners studied what shops and customers really want and put together a customer-centric plan designed for shops.
For instance, Fiffick says that customers want flexibility in how they pay for a service contract. “Our previous providers wanted upfront payments, which didn’t appeal to budget-minded customers. Instead, the MAVPP features interest-free monthly payments.”
Two major benefits Although Fiffick cites many benefits of MAVPP, two stand out from the rest. First is how easy it is to sell the contracts and, second is, how easy it is to handle claims.
Ease of selling is made possible by the portal software system installed on his shop’s computers. “We can easily start a conversation with every customer and quickly walk them through good-better-best plans,” Fiffick says.
“Frankly, most customers are surprised that they can even buy service contracts from us, but quickly see the benefits of the contracts that are tailored to their specific needs. Plus, they like buying from someone they already trust.”
Once the conversations are started by my service writers, they simply guide customers through the options which ultimately lead to the Motor Age coverage center at APC. “APC does the most time-consuming part of the sales process — their sales professionals close the deals leaving our service writers free to do their other work.”
Talking the same language As for the other major benefit — claims processing — Fiffick says it couldn’t be easier. “It starts with CWS talking the same language shops talk because a good number of their claims analysts are ASE certified and have many years of experience processing claims.”
Just as important, Fiffick says that claims are processed immediately. “Smaller claims don’t require an inspection. Larger ones, such as an engine or transmission rebuild, might require inspectors but they are quickly dispatched.”
To make sure that a shop’s profitability is not compromised, Fiffick says for covered repairs, CWS pays for diagnostic time, MRSP for parts and standard posted labor rates. And once a repair order is faxed to CWS and matched up to the authorized repair, Fiffick says the shop receives payment over the phone with a credit card number just like a customer. “It doesn’t get any easier than that,” Fiffick exclaims.
Finally after years of disappointment, Fiffick has found a service contract program that works for both his customers and his business. Perhaps the MAVPP is worthy of a fourth golden rule: help keep customer vehicles on the road well beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.