Results of a survey conducted for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) show that automotive service providers have gained more trust and respect among the public since 2013.
Nearly 1,500 vehicle owners were surveyed across the U.S. and 70% reported increased levels of trust in manufacturers, dealerships, independent repair shops and/or service technicians compared to the last study conducted for ASE in 2013. The younger portion of respondents, those younger than 40, had the highest increase in trust at 77%, followed by male respondents at 74%.
“Trust is something that is earned over time through a series of positive experiences with service providers,” said Tim Zilke, ASE president and CEO, in a news release. “From the results of our survey, we are seeing that automotive service professionals across the country are doing an excellent job earning trust and keeping it with their customers.”
The top three things respondents said they want service and repair facilities to have are great value for the money (48%), knowledgeable and friendly staff (46%), and conveniently located providers (43%). Respondents said “staff knowledge” includes the ability to communicate thoroughly and certified technicians.
The survey also asked respondents about three other considerations they might make when they’re choosing a facility to take their vehicles to — completes service when promised (35%), communicates thoroughly (32%), and employs certified technicians (19%).
Although 30% of respondents were not aware of ASE as the industry-recognized credentialing body for automotive technicians, 41% said ASE certifications factored into their consideration of a service or repair facility or that they used only shops employing ASE-certified technicians, according to the release. When provided with a brief explanation of ASE and the benefits of using ASE-certified technicians, 77% said that whether or not technicians are ASE-certified would influence the facility they choose in the future.
While many shops take on increased work amid a technician shortage, it’s important to remember that public perception is key in keeping businesses afloat and growing the industry, as was pointed out during a panel discussion at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC)’s April meeting. The panel, made up of collision industry educators and shop managers, discussed how shops are still thought of as being dirty and smelly whereas nowadays, it’s the complete opposite, especially for the sake of working on electric vehicles and calibrating ADAS-equipped vehicles that require a clean space.
And maybe part of the answer to changing the perception is shop tours.
Ron Perretta, owner of Professionals Auto Body in Pennsylvania, said during a panel discussion at CIC’s July meeting that his shop offers potential customers tours to show them their equipment, certifications, the procedures they go by, and to give them literature to study so they can make more informed decisions about their repair plans.
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