Condition reporting is critical to ensuring your customers get their vehicles back in the same condition in which they entrust them to you, and it’s also important for ensuring that your loaner cars are cared for when they are in the hands of your customers. Below are five of the most important tips for creating more complete and accurate condition reports every single time.
#1 – Don’t Use Pen and Paper
For years, pen and paper were the only real way businesses could keep logs. Even your medical records were kept strictly on thick paper files before the mid- to late-1990s. However, times have absolutely changed, and if your dealership is still relying on a clipboard and a pen on a chain to take condition reports, it’s time to take a few steps into the digital world. Even a simple text document is better than a piece of paper that could be lost, damaged, or altered.
#2 – Create Condition Reports Immediately – Don’t Procrastinate
Another thing that can have a serious impact on the quality and accuracy of your condition report is the time it takes you to complete the report in the first place. If a customer brings back a loaner vehicle and parks it outside in the lot, but you don’t get around to the condition report for another two days, anything at all could happen. Never procrastinate when it comes to condition reporting. Better yet, create the report with the customer there with you so you can note any discrepancies right away.
#3 – Digitally Document the Car’s Condition with Video
It’s one thing to make a note of a ding, scratch, or dent, and it’s something else entirely to include a high-definition video of that same damage. Whereas it may be easy for you or a customer to say, “that wasn’t there before” when it comes to damage, when you have video made easy with the TruVideo platform, you can prove it. You should always digitally document every single car that needs a condition report. In some cases, it protects you, and in other cases, it protects the customers. Either way, it protects your reputation.
#4 – Use Text Messaging to Document Conversations
When there’s obvious damage to a vehicle – whether it’s a dealership vehicle or your customer’s car – it’s important to document how that damage occurred and who was at fault. Using the TruVideo text platform to communicate with your customers is the easiest and most straightforward way to do just that. For example, if one of your service technicians accidentally dents the hood of a customer’s car, you can admit this fault to your customer and explain what you plan to do to rectify it. This also works in reverse; you can have documentation if a customer admits fault, as well.
#5 – Don’t Rush It
If there’s one tip that will help you improve the accuracy and completeness of your condition reports, is this one: don’t rush your reporting. Though you and your service technicians probably have plenty of other things they could be doing, a botched condition report could cost you dearly in the end and set back your productivity more than a 10-minute walkthrough of a vehicle ever could. It also helps if you have a premade checklist that will guide you through the process every time.
Accurate and complete condition reports can not only save your dealership tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, but they can also help you build trust with your customers. The five tips listed above are the most important things you can do to create the best possible condition reports every single time.