Report: Technology’s impact on the auto repair industry

By Mike Gardner, VP Automotive Group at Fortegra

Technology in the auto industry has become a must-have rather than a nice to have. And adoption isn’t slowing down anytime soon — from the online car buying process to backup cameras and autonomous features.

We’re also beginning to see the overall impact that technology has on the auto repair industry. Vehicle technology that was introduced a decade ago is now reaching its peak and is in need of repairs.

This has a direct impact on the auto repair industry because repairing this technology requires new skills and software, while also introducing new expectations from customers.

Additionally, cloud technology is becoming more common in the industry as updates to the technology in cars becomes more advanced. Cloud services can also add an additional line of revenue to dealers, independent facilities and manufacturers by offering pay-as-you-go services and other features to customers.

How can dealers, independent facilities and manufacturers continue to generate revenue in auto repairs and upkeep maintenance?

If you’re going to be working on the latest technology in cars, you should be equipped with the most up-to-date resources. Start by investing in technology to increase productivity internally, ensuring you are able to provide a confident and efficient customer experience. From there, consider the following three takeaways to remain competitive and relevant to your customer base.

Looking for some advanced technology training?

Come to ASA’s Annual Business Meeting & Conference! CLICK HERE to learn more. Co-located events will include CARS & the Technology & Telematics Forum.

Continuing education

Before dealers and independent facilities can properly repair technology in cars, they must first train their repair teams to do so. Continuing education in the repair shop is essential — no matter the size of dealers. By staying up-to-date on technology capabilities in vehicles, teams are better equipped to handle repairs — no matter how intricate — from start to finish.

Additionally, dealers and independent facilities should clearly educate consumers on when repairs will need to be done manually — like changing a tire or fixing an oil leak — and which ones can be made automatically through the car’s system. Presenting these options upfront ensures transparency and confidence with the customer throughout the entire repair process.

Customer communication platforms

Through the same software mentioned above, dealers and independent facilities are able to provide a one-of-a-kind customer experience. For example, dealers and independent facilities have the ability to communicate with customers in real-time to inform them of what updates are being made and why they are being implemented. Certain technology can even produce detailed reports that can be sent to the customer to let them know exactly what was done. For dealers and independent facilities, building this type of customer relationship can increase customer retention, therefore having a positive impact on their bottom line.

When dealers and independent facilities invest in technology to enhance the customer experience, it gives customers peace of mind that they — and their car — are in good hands.

Increased revenue opportunities

Last, but certainly not least, dealers and independent facilities have the opportunity to upsell customers who own vehicles with advanced technology through F&I products, such as vehicle service contracts. When customers feel confident that they’re being taken care of should something happen to their vehicle, it provides them with relief and endears them to your brand. Partnering with an experienced underwriter can provide a seamless experience for you and your customers, and training to your sales team to fully understand how to sell these products to new and existing customers.

When dealers and independent facilities adjust their business operations strategy to meet consumer demand and evolving technology in cars, they’re able to stay ahead of the competition while maintaining a positive customer experience. But this will not come easily and will take time, effort, and investments. If you haven’t already, start investing in your company through software and advanced technology internally before you can fully invest in your customers.

Mike Gardner, VP of Automotive Product Group, Fortegra

Calling on more than 30 years of experience in the development of automotive and consumer credit insurance products and programs, Mike cultivates client relationships with Fortegra’s third-party administrative partners and spearheads the advancement of F&I programs like CLIPS, customer contact and reinsurance. Aligning strategic risks, Mike guides shared partnerships using reinsurance and works with current TPA clients to drive business growth.