31st July 2020
Measures you can implement in your dealership to help keep your customers and their vehicles safe
For autoVHC’s partner dealerships and their customers, maintaining operations throughout the pandemic has been vital. It’s been important to make sure that key workers, food supply logistics, community support workers, medical providers and other critical providers have been able to maintain continuity in their daily professions and many of the dealerships we work with have been committed to supporting these customers by keeping them mobile during the pandemic.
Now that the lockdown is easing, services can begin to safely resume for many vehicle customers. After a long period of closure, getting these services back up and running safely and efficiently will be challenging. It’s likely, for example, that after the DVSAs extension of MOT deadlines in March, there’s going to be a surge in MOT customers, and recent research predicts that 1 in 10 vehicles could be unsafe as a result of this extension.
Although dealerships are now permitted to open, and accompanied test drives are permitted if the driver and passenger are wearing masks, demand for contactless services from dealers remains, with 76% of prospective buyers looking for virtual dealer appointments, at-home test drives, or home delivery. In light of this, we decided to share some advice with our dealerships on what you can do to keep your customers and their vehicle safe during this challenging period, in particular additional safety measures which aim to maintain social distancing and minimise customer contact.
Remote Customer Contact
If possible, it’s a good idea to use video call technology or email to remotely demonstrate any work that’s required to keep a customer’s vehicle safe and running well, or to show them any parts that are being removed.
You could also implement a completely contactless customer system. When a customer needs to come to the centre, they can call when they arrive. The dealership can place customers in a queue based on arrival order and call them back to discuss their requirements. Customers can remain in their vehicle until you’re ready to work on it, at which time they can wait outside or leave and come back when their vehicle is ready to go.
For dealerships with lounges, we strongly recommend temporarily suspending refreshments for customers to minimise unnecessary contact in this area.
Some customers looking to buy a new vehicle might not yet feel ready to visit the dealership in person to view vehicles. Dealers can provide a video walk-around of a new or used car, giving the customer a better idea about the ins and outs of a new car. Plus, by using live video technology, the customer can ask questions as the dealer walks around the car. It provides an extra level of interaction to those who are currently in the market for a new car.
Most businesses are temporarily changing their policy on signatures. Rather than asking customers to sign any paperwork or tablets, you can instead ask for a text, email or audible authorisation before carrying out work on their vehicle.
We also advise sending quotes and invoices to customers via email to minimise contact.
It’s best practice to temporarily suspend any cash payments, and ask instead that customers pay by card or contactless payments only. This helps to keep your customers and staff safe by reducing contact through cash.
Keeping your team and your customer’s vehicle safe
Make sure that your team members are taking extra hygiene precautions wherever possible. Staff should use gloves which are changed for each vehicle that is worked on and wash their hands between every vehicle job. Within the workshop, team members should be extra vigilant on personal space and maintaining social distancing guidance as much as possible.
After working on a vehicle, wipe down common contact areas, such as the steering wheel and door handles
autoVHC extends its support to all our dealerships as they start to reopen during this challenging time.
Service Visuals has a library of over 450 animations showing many vehicle parts and systems, the animations make complex descriptions easy to explain and understand, breaking down the technical language barrier that prevents customers from understanding the reason for essential servicing and repairs. Service Visuals can be added as a module to autoVHC to help customers decide on whether to proceed with any work identified during their vehicle health check.
Check out this video about contactless solutions to keep your customers and employees safe here: