Win Them Over with DVI

March 29, 2023
Helping customers create repair plans through inspections is smart business.

Trust is one of the best ways to create lifelong customers. If your customers don't trust that you have their best interest at heart when recommending repair options, they won't return to your shop. In an industry where perception varies widely among customers, one of the ways to garner trust is by helping customers understand and plan vehicle repair through digital vehicle inspections (DVI). 

"We've been doing DVI's for nearly 10 years, and they're visual. We have a 15-picture minimum—the more pictures you can do, the better we've found," says Joe Tilson, owner and operator of Tilson’s Auto

"Our service advisors go through the DVI and add notes about what the customer needs to know. We make sure what the customer sees makes sense. We use software called AutoVitals that helps customers understand the issues better. We bring up as much information as possible, so they understand what's important."  

Here’s how to help customers interpret digital vehicle inspection findings so they can make confident buying decisions with your shop. 

Teach Customers How to Read DVIs 

No one wants to pay for services they don't understand. When customers spend money, they want to feel comfortable knowing they're getting exactly what they need to repair their vehicle. DVIs help them see what's wrong, see the significance of the repair and why it’s important to fix sooner than later in most cases. 

When discussing DVI with customers, help them to understand what they’re seeing. Teach them how the DVI findings provide the information needed to service their vehicle best and that having the information is the best way to ensure their vehicle runs smoothly for years to come.  A lot of information is coming at your customers every day—they're inundated with things they need to understand. Just receiving a DVI is not enough if they don't understand them. Be clear but know when to stop and allow them to process the information. 

"For our shop, DVIs allow us to be as transparent as possible with our customers," says Diego Cardenas, service manager of Motorhaus, owned by Martin Lopez Da Cunha. "It helps when you show customers what's needed in an inspection. DVIs have made a world of difference for our shop and helped us create long-term maintenance plans when we explain the DVI findings. We show customers what's important now and in the future.” 

Show Customers How to Choose a Feasible Repair Plan Based on DVI Findings 

Money is tight these days, especially with talk of inflation and a recession. Customers are conscious of where they spend money and must decide what they need. A smart customer retention strategy is to help customers create a repair plan they can afford based on DVI findings.  

If a customer can't afford to fix everything the DVI findings show, what do they really need, and is there a way to make it cost effective for the customer? You may offer payment plans or the ability to finance repairs, but whatever the case, show customers how the repairs are needed and can be affordable.  

"People get fixated on price compared to what's wrong with your vehicle," says Tilson. "We send customers the DVI findings, not the estimate to give the customer time to make the best choice for them. Then, we call them and walk through the findings visually. The customers can see what we're seeing when we help them interpret DVIs. They've also helped us close more business because it gives people a sense that we're doing a thorough job. It builds trust by showing that we're not hiding anything." 

DVIs Can Create Lifelong Customers 

Digital Vehicle Inspections are an essential part of the automotive repair process and industry. DVIs are one of the best ways to understand the value your shop can provide, and they build trust. Use them properly and carefully walk customers through the findings, showing them which repairs are necessary when, and what repairs impact overall vehicle safety. 

"A picture is worth a thousand words, and visual DVIs are best," says Cardenas. "Visual DVIs show the customers the important work that needs to be done in a way they can see and understand. We use a software called Shop-Ware that allows us to send texts and emails regarding DVIs and other important information. It's modernized communication and made things easier for technicians to standardize DVIs. Long term, it helps the customer save money."