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The Best Relationships Are Built On Good Communication

Back in 2015, something was bothering Joe Shaker. As the owner of the Shaker Auto Group, Joe had a long list of loyal customers who brought their cars in for service on a regular basis. They always approved whatever service or repairs his technicians recommended and they always came back. And yet, Joe sensed that something wasn’t right. So, he called those loyal customers and asked them a simple question: Do you ever have any doubts that the suggestions we make are really necessary? To a person, all of those loyal customers replied that, while they loved doing business with Joe and his dealership, they were always going to have doubts. That’s when Joe realized that the missing piece of this puzzle was trust. And loyalty without trust is like a house without a foundation. It might stand for a while, but the first time there’s rough weather it will come crashing to the ground.

Building the Foundation of Trust

Building that foundation of trust, Joe reasoned, required complete transparency. At the time, his service departments were doing business the same way they had for the past forty years. A customer dropped off their vehicle, the technician did an MPI (multipoint inspection) and then filled out a standard form populated with green, yellow and red boxes. They passed that form along to the service advisor who then showed it to the customer while attempting to explain what needed to be repaired or replaced. Unless the customer had a good working knowledge of automobiles, that form was a mystery. No wonder customers didn’t trust the service department. They were being asked to pay for things they couldn’t see and didn’t understand. With this realization in mind, Joe and noted technologist Douglas Chrystall created TruVideo, a video and messaging communication platform that finally gave customers the transparency they were looking for. With TruVideo, service technicians could record their vehicle inspections and show customers exactly what needed to be fixed and why. They could easily explain things like tire tread wear while using a gauge to show the actual depth of the tread. They could measure brake pad thickness and display dirty air filters and even give a quick lesson on fan belts and distributor caps. Then, with TruVideo’s messaging platform, they could send these videos directly to the customers.The more customers saw the more they understood. And the more they trusted Joe’s service departments.

Fixing the Communication Chain

Now, what Joe didn’t know when he and Douglas introduced TruVideo to the automotive industry, was that they had solved a problem that was just as big as customer transparency. This problem was all about the communication chain. Earlier, we talked about the old way service departments operated. The technician filled out the MPI form and then gave that form to the service advisor who went over it with the customer. Well, it turns out that service advisors weren’t being completely forthcoming with their customers. Instead, they were hedging their bets.If the technician had six recommendations, the service advisor would only tell the customer about four of them. They reasoned that the customer would be overwhelmed by six line items and much more likely to approve four. So they’d eliminate the items they deemed too costly or too hard to explain. On the other end, the customer would listen to the explanation of those four items and then decide to talk to a spouse or friend before approving them. Often, the customer would only remember or understand two of the four items when describing them to their confidant. In this scenario, only two of the technician’s original six recommendations get approved—at best. With video, there is no more hedging or second guessing. The inspection video goes right from the technician to the customer with all the recommendations and explanations intact. If the customer has any questions, they can message the technician directly. And if they want the advice of a confidant they can easily share the video with them. The result is an increase in dollars per repair order and an improvement in customer satisfaction scores. All because TruVideo fixed the communication chain.

Commitment to Trust and Transparency

It’s been nine years since Joe Shaker had the revelation about transparency and trust that would lead to the creation of TruVideo. In that time, our customers have recorded and shared over 30 million videos. What we’ve learned from the responses and reaction to all those videos has fueled some of the most significant innovations to our communication platform. We’ll cover those in future blog posts, but the first piece of acquired knowledge we want to share focuses on implementation. In order to reach that huge number of videos, we had to get TruVideo into as many service departments as possible. We installed our platform in thousands of dealerships across the country and trained tens of thousands of technicians and service advisors on the best practices for using it. And it wasn’t always smooth sailing. We heard objections, excuses and straight-up refusals when we sat down with technicians. To make things easier, we created a training and webinar series to help dealerships implement and optimize TruVideo successfully. If you’re wondering what the big deal is about recording a video on a phone, especially in an era when hundreds of millions of people use their phones to record and share everything from the mundane to the spectacular, it goes far beyond simple mechanics. Sure, the basics are the same:

  • Record a video of the vehicle inspection
  • Upload it to the cloud
  • Send a link to the customer so they can watch it

But, the real magic in building trust with your customers is in making the highest quality videos possible. Paying attention to details like resolution and file size makes the viewing experience even better. It makes a difference having a clear view of what the technician is describing and which issues need to be addressed. On the back end, tracking mission critical data like opens, views and shares requires service managers to stay on top of software updates and changes. It’s a responsibility which requires a time commitment that many busy dealerships don’t have. To alleviate this challenge, many dealership management system (DMS) software companies have partnered with TruVideo to power their existing video solutions. After all, we’ve already gone through the trials and iterations of creating a video and messaging communication platform. So integrating TruVideo into their DMS means that they don’t have to think about things like viewing optimization and technology updates because we’ve already done it for them. For our own customers, we can monitor important items like utilization and compliance to ensure that each dealership is getting the most out of their TruVideo relationship. It’s the kind of support that no other video and messaging platform can match. Of course, nobody else has nine years of experience and knowledge behind them like we do.

Interested in Learning More Insights?

For more insights into what we’ve learned along with details about how to film and narrate inspection videos and overcome barriers to successful implementation, order a copy of our comprehensive new book The Ultimate Guide to Inspection Videos.