We’ve all been hearing for years how vehicles are becoming more sophisticated, with electronic content on the rise each model year.
Sensors and on-board computers are communicating with each other to make constant adjustments allowing the vehicle to operate as fuel efficient and environmentally clean as possible. Telematics are allowing the vehicle to communicate with the OE dealer (and soon will communicate with your shop), while informing the driver of a “Super Size deal” at the McDonald’s three miles down the road.
The “Shop of Tomorrow” (www.aftermarket.org/tomorrow) will boast sophisticated shop equipment and management systems that can communicate with each other so that information about the vehicle, the customer and work order do not have to be re-keyed.
Information about the diagnostics procedures and parts needed for the job will be instantly available to the service technician to increase efficiency and productivity. This data will be used by equipment and parts manufacturers and distributors to assist in creating quicker solutions to emerging problems.
In some social circles, even vehicle owners are described as sophisticated. With all the information the driving public has access to on the Internet, I can see how this description fits. Nearly every company in the distribution channel and most parts manufacturers are working diligently to provide websites, videos, diagrams and photos to better explain why a vehicle needs service.
Arming consumers with this information gives them a better understanding of the importance and complexity of the various systems, which should make them more appreciative of the professional service a repair shop offers. But, this legitimate knowledge that is being accumulated by DIFMers and DIYers is often a source of frustration for the repair community.
A sophisticated vehicle taken to a sophisticated shop by a sophisticated owner needs a sophisticated shop owner, service writer and technician to make sure this vehicle service event is a positive one. Many in the service industry today, regardless of the product category, know they are communicating with a more knowledgeable customer.
It is just too easy to research anything and everything. But, this knowledgeable customer can be more discerning and may actually place more value in the service you are providing.
Shop personnel should not see the additional communication that is needed as an inconvenience, but an opportunity to showcase your own sophistication and expertise.