Can OEMs can find a way to improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty through “Right to Repair?
Recently we posted a blog article about the passage of a new law in Massachusetts
called “Right to Repair
” that promises to improve choice and reduce costs when people get their cars serviced. On several occasions Enigma has written about what we perceive to be the false claims behind Right to Repair (RTR) however, now that RTR has become law it is time to focus on how manufacturers (OEMs) should respond to this new reality. As unpleasant as RTR may seem to OEMs, this law gives them an incredible opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
While dealership groups have been vocally opposed to the passage of RTR, the OEMs have kept their concerns more muted. There are two reasons for the OEM’s caution: 1) OEMs would be hard pressed to publicly oppose a bill that promotes consumer rights without alienating their customers; 2) given the potential for bad publicity, OEMs must focus on protecting their own spare part sales rather than protecting the dealer’s service revenue. (OEMs don’t get paid for dealer service, only for parts.) Dealers, on the other hand, raised concerns about independent repair facilities’ (IRF) ability to ensure quality and safety of repairs. The reality is, OEM and dealer concerns that RTR will add cost, complexity and uncertainty to an already fragmented automotive service and support environment have yet to be proven.
Moving forward OEM’s have two primary concerns: 1) protecting their service parts business, including the intellectual property associated with parts, diagnostic tools and service procedures; 2) finding ways to increase revenue and profits for vehicles and service parts. Curiously, these are the same concerns OEMs had before RTR legislation was approved. Both of these challenges become more manageable if OEMs can find a way to improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Improving customer satisfaction and brand loyalty were the key points of a recent Right to Repair blog post
by Enigma and now an IRF is making the same claim for OEMs that cooperate with IRFs (not just dealers). The challenges IRFs face from overly protective OEMs was highlighted in this Accurate Automotive
blog post but more importantly was the observation that OEMs like Toyota have significantly improved customer satisfaction and brand loyalty by making it easy for IRFs to get the information needed to fix Toyota’s cars. Accurate Automotive claims that whenever customers feel they can get reasonable service performed quickly, accurately and inexpensively they are happier about their vehicle choice, which benefits the OEM.Carlisle & Company
is seeing something similar and has highlighted the customer satisfaction problem in a recent blog post that offered a first-hand description of a recent dealer service experience
, comparing it to an episode of the TV show “Seinfeld.” (I’ll let you read it for yourselves but it’s a fascinating, first-hand account of a service visit gone wrong.) Carlisle however didn’t stop with a complaint; They took action and recently announced the creation of a dealer forum
– a website called MyGuy
. It’s Carlisle’s attempt to help dealers learn how to improve customer satisfaction while still staying profitable. In fact, the web site promises “if [dealers] employ consistent ‘MyGuy’ practices, you can achieve significantly higher levels of service retention, customer service satisfaction, and vehicle sales retention [brand loyalty].”
Ideas like MyGuy are a great way to help OEMs and dealers figure out how to profit in the RTR world. But OEMs have an opportunity of their own to improve how dealers and IRFs service their vehicles. By rolling out a comprehensive electronic parts catalog (EPC) that combines parts and service information, diagnostics and service bulletins OEMs can revolutionize how their cars are serviced (by dealers and IRFs) and score major customer satisfaction points and lock-in brand loyalty. Products like Enigma’s InService EPC
have helped companies like Ford
ensure that repair decisions are always based on accurate parts and service information. Offering an OEM-branded EPC to IRFs (delivering it beyond the dealer) provides an incredible opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty that is both fast and easy. And an EPC may help OEMs comply with the Right to Repair law at the same time.