Results of a survey conducted for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) show that automotive service providers have gained trust and respect among the public since 2013.
Nearly 1,500 vehicle owners were surveyed across the United States and 70% reported increased levels of trust in manufacturers, dealers, independent repair shops and/or service technicians compared to the last study conducted for the ASE in 2013. The youngest part of the respondents, those under 40, saw the greatest increase in confidence 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,” ASE President and CEO Tim Zilke said in a press release. “Based on our survey results, we see that automotive service professionals across the country are doing a great job of earning and maintaining trust with their customers.”
The top three things respondents said they want from service and repair facilities are great value for money (48%), knowledgeable and friendly staff (46%) and well-located suppliers (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 take into account when choosing a facility to take their vehicles to: performs service when promised (35%), communicates thoroughly (32%), and employs certified technicians (19%).
Although 30% of respondents were unaware of ASE as an industry-recognized credentialing body for automotive technicians, 41% said ASE certifications were considered in their review of a service center. service or repair or that they only use workshops employing ASE certified technicians, depending on the version. When given a brief explanation of ASE and the benefits of using ASE certified technicians, 77% said whether or not technicians were ASE certified would influence the installation they would choose at the coming.
While many workshops accept an increase in work due to a shortage of technicians, it is important to remember that public perception is key to keeping businesses afloat and growing the industry, as was highlighted during a panel discussion at the April meeting of the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). . The panel, made up of collision industry educators and store managers, explained how stores are still considered dirty and smelly when nowadays it’s just the opposite, especially for working on electric vehicles and calibrate vehicles equipped with ADAS that require a clean space.
And perhaps part of the answer to changing perception lies in store visits.
Ron Perretta, owner of Professionals Auto Body in Pennsylvania, said in a panel discussion at CIC’s July meeting that his store offers potential customers guided tours to show them their equipment, certifications, procedures they follow up and to give them documentation to study so that they can make more informed decisions regarding their repair plans.
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