Any reputable vehicle workshop wants customers to leave with a good impression of the service they received – and to return, of course.
Dewald Ranft, Chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says there are a multitude of factors that can impact your service. He says when customers’ expectations are unrealistic this is often where the problems start.
“Workshops have limitations and for customers, just understanding how to get the best out of their service can make the whole experience that much more seamless and avoid any subsequent frustrations,” he says.
Here are his top 10 hints to assist customers and ensure all runs smoothly from booking their vehicle in to collecting it:
1. Booking your car in – It should not come as a shock if the workshop is not able to book your vehicle in on the same day; perhaps only three days later. Workshops provide a service to many customers and allocating quality time to each vehicle is imperative. Be assured that if they could help you immediately, they would, but overloading the workshop does not do anyone a favour. The same goes for cancelling a booking. If you decide to take your vehicle elsewhere, be courteous enough to cancel the booking you made with another workshop instead of being a no-show as this will open up space for other customers.
2. A service is a service – If you booked a service, the booking is made for the timeframe of a service. It is not a bumper-to-bumper repair. A routine service does not include the repair of additional faults. These faults need to be specifically pointed out and an additional booking made to avoid disappointment, or they need to be discussed upfront on the phone to allow the correct amount of time to be allocated.
3. Be organised and honest – Have all your paperwork on hand when you arrive; ensure all valuables are removed from the car and be honest about the problem/s you may be experiencing with the car. Give the workshop the full background, even if another workshop has worked on the car but it is still not fixed. It makes life much easier to know the history and it also saves time diagnosing repairs.
4. Top up the fuel – If your car has been cutting out, for example, it would be imperative for the workshop to drive the car until it cuts out to make a proper diagnosis. The reason customers freewheel into workshops is they think the staff are going to syphon their fuel. If you don’t trust the workshop, you are at the wrong place. Make sure there is enough fuel to at least get the car around the workshop and maybe do a test drive.
5. Bring a battery – Contrary to popular belief, workshops do not have working batteries lying around. If your car is a non-runner, you need to come in with a working battery. The workshop can’t fit a “loan” battery and it is unethical to use a battery from another customer’s car.
6. The deal on parts – It is a major problem when customers insist on bringing their own parts. Most accredited workshops do not allow this practice. It creates two problems. Firstly, if the part is fitted by the workshop and a malfunction occurs later causing collateral damage, the question is who will be responsible for that damage? Secondly, if the part is incorrect, the entire service is delayed creating a backlog in the workshop.
7. Claiming from warranty policy – If you intend claiming from your aftermarket warrantee policy you need to be aware of the following: the content of the policy and specifically what is covered; claiming procedures; policy provisions on parts (is wear and tear covered). Remember if your claim is rejected you will be responsible for the ‘strip and quote’ expense.
8. Anti-theft devices – Remember to tell the staff if the car has an aftermarket alarm system, anti-hijack button or anti-theft wheel nuts.
9. Finding the problem – A reputable workshop will keep you informed if there are any delays on your car as finding a problem can take time. Also remember diagnostic testing is not free unless specified by the workshop.
10. Workshops are not storage facilities – It really helps if you can collect your car as soon as the service is complete. Not all aftermarket workshops have the space to store your car overnight and where they do, a storage fee may be payable.
“As you can see, there are many ways customers can ensure their service goes smoothly. In a busy workshop environment, the more prepared you are for the day your car is booked in, the better for you, for the workshop and for other customers. And of course, if you are satisfied, always remember to give positive feedback using a social media platform. A good google review is always appreciated,” Ranft concludes.