Jul 10, 2024

How To Enhance Technician-Client Communication

How To Enhance Technician-Client Communication

Have you ever watched a movie where things could have gone so much easier if characters just talked to one another?

Take zombie movies, for example: someone in the main group always gets bitten, and of course they don’t tell the other survivors right away. Instead, they hide their bite until the worst possible moment, making life even harder for the people who trusted them.

As it turns out, clear communication is just as crucial for heavy-duty repair shops. Sure, these businesses aren’t usually plagued by zombies (though if yours is, we’re not here to judge). But if you don’t take this topic seriously, your shop could soon be under attack by something even scarier than zombies—dissatisfied customers.

Even if you make an effort to keep people in the loop and hire outgoing techs, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your business’s relationship with its customers. With that in mind, keep reading to learn how Fullbay can help your shop enhance its technician-client communication…or face a terrible fate.

The Cost of Client Communication Breakdowns

Okay, in this context, “a terrible fate” may be less fitting than “a poorly-managed repair shop.” But when your technicians and your customers aren’t on the same page, your business could suffer from:

  • Delayed repairs. Without reliable communication, your techs will find themselves waiting for clients to approve necessary work on their vehicles. As you might expect, that could put their repairs on hold indefinitely.
  • Frustration and disputes. By keeping in touch with your shop’s customers, you can give them an accurate idea of the work you’re doing. On the other hand, insufficient updates could result in a mismatch between a client’s expectations and your shop’s services.
  • Missed upsell opportunities. If you find additional issues with a customer’s vehicle during a routine maintenance appointment, you have a chance to bring in more money while providing services a client genuinely needs. However, you can’t take advantage of this opportunity if your techs aren’t able to explain the situation at hand.
  • Damage to reputation. When customers have a negative experience at your repair shop, they won’t hesitate to let other people know. Eventually, this could have a serious effect on your repair shop’s public image.

Strategies to Improve Technician-Client Communication

As you can see, poor technician-client communication is at the root of all sorts of problems. Because of that, you’ll want to maximize your busi-

Hold on. What are you looking for my arm like that for? Because that mark isn’t a zombie bite—it’s a cool tattoo I’ve had for a few months now. If anything, it’s weird that you didn’t notice it earlier! (Also, the fact that it’s still bleeding is normal.)

Anyway, if you want to keep your customers happy, improving communication between your shop’s techs and clients is a must. While working toward this goal, be sure to:

Set Clear Expectations from the Start

One of the biggest communication-related issues shops have to deal with is unmanaged expectations. To stop this potential problem in its tracks, give your clients a detailed initial estimate containing everything they need to know about their repair.

Ideally, your estimates will include:

  • A full rundown of the problems you’ve found. Merely listing these issues isn’t enough—you should also make it easy for customers to understand what services their vehicles need. To do that, you can provide a system-by-system breakdown of the tasks your techs will handle.
  • Your labor rate and the amount of time you expect to take. Whether a job will be done before a customer knows it or it could take hours or days to finish, be sure your clients know what they’re getting into.
  • The parts you’ll use. Obviously, you shouldn’t include parts in an estimate at cost. Instead, you’ll need to calculate your ideal parts markup first.
  • An estimated total. Any estimate should include the approximate amount of money a customer will pay when everything is said and done. The price included in your estimate may or may not precisely match the final cost of your work, but tools like MOTOR Labor Time Guides can help you come up with a reasonably accurate figure.
  • A clear disclaimer. Funny thing about estimates—they aren’t set in stone! As their name suggests, estimates outline what you expect to happen during a repair job. Since a customer’s service needs could shift based on what your techs find in this process, always include language stating that your shop’s estimates are subject to change.
  • Brains. Brains…brains…

While a detailed estimate is an excellent starting point for any repair job, this is only the first step in the process. Fortunately, modern heavy-duty shop software can keep things moving forward by converting estimates to service orders with the press of a button. (You can also save time by creating one-page Quick Service Orders for your jobs.)

Leverage Technology for Transparency

Transparent communication can help your heavy-duty shop keep clients happy, but sending messages to customers can be challenging for busy techs. That’s why the best heavy-duty shop software comes with a full suite of customer communication features.

You should be able to tell customers about any unexpected issues you find—without making them think you’re inventing problems to justify increased repair costs. With today’s advanced heavy-duty shop software, your techs can take a photo or video of any discoveries they make and send that file to a client, clearly demonstrating why their vehicle needs extra work.

When your heavy-duty shop uses the right software, you can also automatically send text and email updates to customers while their repair is ongoing. That means your customers will remain in the loop at each stage of the process, and your techs won’t have to spend valuable time keeping them updated.

Train Technicians on Client Communication Skills

When the professionals employed at your establishment persist in deploying esoteric, field-specific lexicon while delineating their forthcoming endeavors, a portion of your clientele will invariably find themselves in a state of perplexity.

In simpler terms, “jargon makes people confused”—and if you had trouble making your way through that sentence, imagine how your customers must feel.

To avoid this problem, encourage your techs to keep technical language to a minimum and put themselves in the customer’s shoes while they explain repairs. Role-playing scenarios for approval requests (especially requests involving difficult clients) is a great way to help them prepare for this task.

Simplify the Approval Process

If your heavy-duty shop software accepts digital approvals with e-signatures, you can reduce your turnaround time for approvals (and increase your business’s productivity). That’s just one of the ways these programs can speed up this process, of course. They can also send automatic reminders to customers, gently letting them know you’re waiting for them to sign off on a request.

Empower Front Desk Staff

Finally, technicians aren’t the only people who can keep customers satisfied with the help of technology. When your service advisors have access to real-time information on your shop’s jobs, they’ll be able to provide updates to customers, too. It’s also wise to give these employees the training they need to provide non-technical answers to common customer questions.

Night of the Living Demo

In order to fully optimize your shop’s technician-client communication, you’ll need the help of powerful heavy-duty shop software—and that’s where Fullbay comes in. Our software includes all the features listed above and more, so your techs won’t have to use their big, juicy brains to think about things like warning customers to stay away or boarding up your shop’s windows. Instead, they’ll be able to stand perfectly still, far from any shotguns or oth-

What? No, I-I already said I didn’t get bitten! Look, I can prove it—would a zombie be able to finish writing this conclusion? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Now, where was I? Oh, right: thanks to our software’s powerful features, availability on computers and mobile devices, and customizable pricing, it’s not hard to see why heavy-duty diesel shop owners overwhelmingly choose Fullbrain. Schedule your free debrainification—sorry, demonstration—today!

Emilie Vecera