I have a extremely strong opinion at the moment on dealer health checks and I need to get it off my chest.
I come from a main dealer background, so have seen our industry from both sides.
As a service manager at a Vauxhall main dealer, I experienced the pressures from above to increase technician efficiency and to upsell to our customers.
Honestly, it was horrendous.
During my time, the dealership introduced a paper health check and was soon replaced with an electronic check and later video.
I understand technicians want to earn as much money as possible for the job they do but, in my opinion, this has changed their role.
What we once understood as a service-driven job now seems to be sales-driven, at least that’s what seems to be the case among the nationals.
I now run an independent workshop and our job is to serve our customers and, using our expertise, advise them on their vehicle’s service and maintenance needs.
Of course, every garage wants a full workshop but the best approach to long-term success has to be honesty and by being approachable.
We have had some unbelievable health check reports given to us for a second opinion.
“Unbelievable health check reports”
A three year-old-mini, which had just been tested for the first time and had done 24,000 miles, supposedly needed almost £1,000 worth of work doing to it, according to the dealership’s health report.
And it wasn’t for tyres or brakes.
The customer was told the ‘poly V belt’ was cracking and that the rear suspension bushes were showing some signs of wear, silly little advisories but the car was spotless.
Then there was an Audi RS4.
It’s main dealer health check report showed that it required £4331.49 worth of work.
We were asked for a second opinion and our own health report suggested that the vehicle required £1,147.26 worth of work and that’s using genuine parts.
Second-opinion health checks
We offer second-opinion health checks for free and it’s working well for us.
I only show our technicians the original health check report after they have conducted an inspection for themselves, we then compare reports and take another look at the vehicle.
There will always be a difference of opinion but blatant scaremongering by telling customer that their vehicle “needs” this, that or the other shouldn’t be as common as it is.
An honest garage with experienced technicians will always be best placed for good old-fashioned customer service.
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