As a driver, having car damage is already frustrating enough, and arranging the repair is usually quite difficult. Many organisations today still offer a repair journey that is mostly dependent on manual steps and filled with inconveniences. Drivers are usually asked to make multiple phone calls, drive back and forth to a body repair shop, and send numerous emails before the repair can even be scheduled. On top of this, they often cannot express their personal needs and are not kept up to speed during the repair. All these elements combined can lead to precisely what any organisation aims to avoid; unsatisfied drivers.

Companies can benefit greatly by enhancing the repair journey they offer to their drivers. But where to start? Today’s expectations are higher than ever, so before being able to improve anything, it’s essential to understand the needs of drivers.

At Fixico, we keep careful track of the driver satisfaction for all our customers, and in doing so, we identified the five most important needs a driver has when dealing with car damage repairs. This article, based on our whitepaper: 'How digitalisation increases driver satisfaction', explores those needs and highlights where companies can start when they’re looking to improve their driver satisfaction.

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1. Experiencing a quick and convenient journey

The speed and ease of arranging a repair are at the top of the list. Generally speaking, drivers are already busy enough without having to spend lots of time and attention to getting their vehicle repaired. Because traditionally, arranging a repair can be quite a complicated process.

After a damage occurrence, drivers would have to:

  • notify the fleet- or claim manager to report the damage;
  • contact a body repair shop to make an appointment for a physical inspection;
  • drive towards the repairer so that the damage can be assessed;
  • receive a price estimation;
  • relay this information to the fleet- or claim manager;
  • get approval to get it repaired;
  • wait to hear the date on which the actual repair will take place;
  • (potentially) move other appointments to fit the repair in their schedule;
  • get the car repaired.

Unfortunately, this picture only paints the situation wherein everything goes without a hitch. What if the driver or fleet- or claim manager has additional questions; or what if the body repair shop needs to reschedule the appointment? Any additional action will be added to the already long list of inconveniences and will demand even more time from drivers.

With all the technological developments of the last few years, drivers now expect to be able to arrange everything with the touch of a button. This expectation is justified, as there are digital solutions available that can smoothen and speed up the repair journey tremendously.

In our driver web app, for example, drivers can handle every aspect of their repair on their smartphone. Drivers can quickly provide the fleet- or claim manager and body repair shop with everything they need, before going on with their day. Next to this, managers will have all the information in order to better cater to the driver’s specific needs. With the right system in place, they can make sure to select the most suitable body repair shop in the direct vicinity of the driver that offers the right service, is specialised in repairing the specific damage on the driver’s vehicle, and will have it repaired in no time.

2. Having access to support

Technology has made our lives significantly easier. All of us have access to the internet at a hand reach. As a result, we have gotten used to finding any information quickly and being able to communicate in real-time with just about anyone. According to a recent SalesForce report, 69% of European consumers expect companies to communicate with them in real-time. Drivers are no different, and want easy access to a customer service that’s there to help them get their car repaired as smoothly as possible.

Something that happens often, and can be quite frustrating, is that drivers are contacted by multiple people that want to check or clarify something. All good intentions aside, this often leads to drivers having to repeat information they’ve already shared, sometimes even over and over again. Because none of this communication is logged (or shared automatically with other relevant stakeholders), miscommunication and uncertainties are almost inevitable.

Having a centralised system that provides access to general driver- and vehicle information, and summaries of earlier contact moments will save lots of time for everyone involved. Also, it will allow the customer service team to help the driver without having to ask for information already shared during previous touchpoints.

3. Communicating through preferred channels

Innovation and customer service are continuously developing across all industries. Companies are expected to be available not only at any time but also anywhere and through any channel of the consumers’ preference. According to a Gladly report, 86% of consumers expect to have a seamless conversation with organisations across all channels. Why should this be any different for drivers?

Being able to call, send a text message, write a short email, leave a message in a social media inbox, or in some cases, even speaking to a computer-generated chatbot, can all have the driver’s preference. However, an organisation cannot make this choice, because after all, it’s up to the driver. Next to this, the selected channel is never set in stone, as it will always depend on the situation, the drivers’ preference, and the time of day.

In order to provide a quality service, companies should consider what communication channels have the preference of their drivers, and make sure to be present in all of them. This way, drivers have the opportunity to choose the most comfortable channel, which, in turn, will increase satisfaction.

4. Being treated as an individual

Every driver, organisation, vehicle, and even damage occurrence is unique in its own way. So to offer a satisfactory repair journey to drivers is to personalise this journey as much as possible. According to a Salesforce report, 84% of consumers say that being treated like a person, not a number, is essential.

Digitalisation opens a plethora of possibilities for drivers to experience a journey that is specifically tailored to their needs. With Fixico’s platform, for example, organisations can identify the optimal body repair shop for each repair that comes in. This shop is identified by intelligent systems that connect unique driver- damage- and vehicle information to suitable repairers. This means that the selected repairer will always have the necessary certifications, expertise and equipment in-house, but also that any other requirements are met with. Think of, for example, being in the direct vicinity of the driver, offering preferred additional services, having an outstanding rating, and being available at a moment that suits the driver best. By personalising the approach, drivers will feel like they are treated as an individual, which raises their satisfaction.

5. Receiving regular updates

Regular updates prevent miscommunication and keep drivers in the know. After submitting a damage report, most drivers would like to know if it is received, approved and what to do next. As soon as a body repair shop is selected, drivers want to receive information about the repairer, how the damage is getting repaired, when the repair can get started and when it’s done. During the repair, drivers prefer to know if everything is going according to plan.

Having access to the real-time status of a repair will raise drivers’ satisfaction, even if the repair doesn’t go as planned. According to research conducted by Mitchell, a customer who will receive their repaired vehicle a day late but is kept informed will be more satisfied than a customer who received their vehicle on time but was not updated during the process.

Of course, having a damaged car will always be a frustrating event for drivers; making the way they experience their repair journey even more important. Digitalisation offers many opportunities for organisations to accommodate better to drivers’ needs. By understanding those needs and offering innovative ways of meeting them, organisations can substantially increase driver satisfaction.

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