The Right to Repair initiative recently passed as law in Massachusetts creates a win-win-win-win (4X win) scenario for auto manufacturers, auto dealers, automobile owners, and independent repair facilities alike.
Auto manufacturers have a lot to gain from Right to Repair. Most notably, they have an opportunity to increase brand loyalty through improved customer satisfaction, improved reliability of their maintenance, service and parts information, and a new layer of dealer support.
Customer Loyalty. According to the National Business Research Institute (NBRI), “Customer loyalty is important because it drives increased same-store sales. Customer service drives intent to return. Intent to return is the measurable indicator of future same-store sales.”
That means that positive repeat customer service interactions have a direct correlation to customer loyalty. Buying a car or truck is only the beginning of a long-term relationship. And while OEMs have traditionally relied on their dealers to forge the all-important relationship of trust and loyalty with customers, Right to Repair now provides the single biggest reason for a customer to maintain a direct interaction with the OEM following an auto purchase.
As the primary source of maintenance and service information, OEMs are well positioned to establish new, more personal relationships with customers and offer additional information on accessories, recommended maintenance schedules or other topics that have real value.
Reliability. OEMs are responsible for the accuracy and consistency of diagnostic and repair information. That information positively influences the customers’ experience with—and perception of—the brand. Right to Repair encourages OEMs to have a direct conversation with customers, allowing for online feedback via electronic notes. That feedback improves product design and increases overall product reliability.
Dealer support. While dealers have a strong propensity to purchase authorized OEM aftermarket parts, DIY customers and independent repair shops may not share that same sense of brand loyalty. By authoring and managing their own information and interacting directly with customers and independent repair facilities, as Right to Repair suggests, OEMs are in a unique position to provide diagnostic guidance, and make parts and service recommendations.
Naturally, a recommendation to the closest authorized dealership supports the OEMs dealer network in a very direct and measurable way.
Authorized auto dealerships also benefit from Right to Repair by becoming the go-to source for DIY customers and independent repair shops for parts and extended service. Recommendations from OEMs regarding parts needed to complete a repair help customers and independent repair facilities find reputable and reliable parts to complete the work.
OEM recommendations of where service work can be performed if the difficulty of the repair exceeds the customers’ or repair shops’ expertise also provide a high level of customer confidence that the OEM and its dealer network are committed to supporting the vehicle through the life of the auto.
For a long time car owners have been driving in the dark, endlessly searching the internet chat rooms and forums for tidbits of automotive information or blindly relying on the word of a mechanic or dealership as their sole source of maintenance wisdom. Right to Repair ensures that customers have direct access to reliable, authorized information they need to make informed maintenance and repair decisions for their vehicles.
In many instances, OEMs are starting to respond to customer desires for more information access even without the mandate of Right to Repair. In fact, some OEM brands are taking the opportunity to begin a personal, one-to-one relationship with car owners to make it easy to learn about and maintain their cars for the life of the vehicles. Much in the way that Lowes Hardware is rolling out MyLowes.com, the MyLowes new "home asset management" website, auto OEMs like GM, Mopar (for all the Chrysler brands) and Enigma customer Ford, are gearing up to help customers track their cars' maintenance history and future needs with websites designed specifically for owners.
Independent Repair Facilities
Right to Repair gives independent repair shops access to the information they need to service vehicles requiring technical diagnostic equipment to evaluate. This allows them to broaden the range of makes and models of vehicles they can work on, putting them on an even playing field with larger maintenance shops.
Right to Repair changes the dynamic of dealer/independent shop interactions to a more convivial one where independent repair shops search and find the repair and parts information from the OEM and are then directed to their local dealership to source the parts. Independent repair shops can become part of the feedback loop when they are encouraged to provide service and repair insights to the OEM. These insights help OEMs increase product reliability and ultimately help the small shop mechanic improve his/her repair. The feedback to the OEM from a professional mechanic decreases the mean time to repair as more users read and apply the documentation. The steps and instructions are improved as more people use the data.
In Right to Repair, we see an opportunity for OEMs to build stronger ties with customers and dealerships while opening new channels with independent repair shops.
Yes, but how will OEMs know their outreach to customer is increasing their loyalty?
Good intentions aside, can adherence to Right to Repair turn resistance into market opportunity?
Measuring success would be difficult without analytics, Big Data technology and business intelligence. Luckily, forerunners in service and parts catalog software like Enigma are introducing advances in reporting capability and trend spotting. Newly developed dashboard reporting tools capture and display electronic parts catalog activities and purchases, presenting them as easy-to-read charts that highlight pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs).
The InService EPC Dashboard provides OEMs with real-time, data-driven insights into their aftermarket. It adds a layer of business intelligence not found in other electronic parts catalog software. The Dashboard gives OEMs a strong competitive advantage when developing aftermarket service and sales strategies by identifying patterns in equipment repair, parts ordering and dealer, customer or independent repair facilities behavior.
The Win-Win-Win-Win Recap
OEMs are happy because they now have a means to deliver information to help all participants in the vehicle maintenance process. They improve their customer loyalty in the process and support their dealer network through referrals.
Dealer are happy because they sold the parts to the independent shop and perhaps picked up some more complex service work that the small shop was not suited to complete.
Customers are happy because their car or truck is fixed. Independent repair shops are happy because they are paid for service work and are able to broaden their base of makes and models that they can work on.