Your “check engine” light comes on, you need new tires, your vehicle is making an odd sound, or it is time for an oil change – whatever the reason, you can’t postpone it any more. It is time to bring your vehicle to your automotive service provider.
There are a myriad of reasons around why we delay having service and repair work done – mostly related to the impact on our pocketbooks – but knowing and trusting the person working on our vehicle also has a significant influence.
This past summer, the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) partnered to run a series of consumer focus groups examining the vehicle service and maintenance habits of Canadians.
When participants were asked about how they select a service technician, some interesting and insightful information emerged. It appears the majority of us are very loyal customers, using the services of the same shop and service technician repeatedly. Building a relationship with our automotive service technician is important because we want to trust the information and advice they provide us. Even if we are uncertain about the quality of service we are receiving, we perceive switching to another shop as “risky.”
The focus group results also found that as consumers we feel there is an imbalance in information when it comes to automotive repair. Automotive service technicians possess a great deal of knowledge when it comes to maintenance and repairs, while as consumers we know very little.
To build that trust relationship and to feel more confident in our decisions, we want our service providers to give us options and help us prioritize – our service technicians need to explain what choices we have for repair and service work. We want to know what needs to be done now, what can wait in the short-term and what are longer term fixes that will eventually need to be addressed.
If service required on our car or truck is not the area of expertise for our service provider, we want to be referred to a subject matter expert. That tells us the shop has our best interests in mind, not just how to make a dollar.
With more than 22,000 automotive service outlets across the country, the competition in the service and repair industry is stiff. While it may seem risky to move to a new service centre, if you don’t have confidence in their advice or work it’s worth making the switch.
Ask for options, insist on timelines and use the resources provided by Be Car Care Aware to stay informed. You and your service provider need to have a strong, trusting relationship.