In today’s world, it seems that the pressure for fleet- and claim managers to increase operational efficiency has never been higher. With the rapid developments in technology over the last few years, many companies are looking to digital solutions for help. And why shouldn’t they? Digitalisation can definitely be a very effective solution, as it offers many opportunities and can unlock tremendous benefits.

However, digitalisation is a very broad term. There are many different options out there, making it hard for companies to find the right fit. Implementing a digital solution without proper due diligence usually ends up being more costly and doesn’t deliver expected results. So, instead of carelessly jumping on the digital bandwagon, companies should consider the needs of their managers and find the solution that fulfils those needs best.

This article, based on our whitepaper "How digital automation transforms car damage repair", explores the most pressing needs of fleet- or claim managers dealing with car damage repairs in 2021, and how digitalisation can improve the repair management process.

At Fixico, we handle car damage repairs for over 150 companies across six countries and work closely with all kinds of fleet- and claim managers daily. As a result, we have narrowed down the 5 most important needs of fleet- and claim managers when it comes to handling car damage repairs in 2021.

1. Being time-efficient

Time is at the top of the list. Most managers already use a variety of efficient and digital solutions that help them in their day-to-day activities. The formula is simple; less time spent on an important, yet mundane task, means time to get more work done under far less stress. However, while innovation has transformed many workflows, it often seems that the process of handling car damage repairs is still stuck in the early 2000s.

Manually calling and emailing back and forth with drivers and body repair shops to get the damage assessed, acquiring an accurate price estimate, and arranging the repair under the best possible conditions is tiresome. By digitalising the entire car damage repair handling process, efficiency can improve tremendously. Every step in the process can be simplified, automated and streamlined. And the time-saving benefits for fleet- and claim manager go way beyond just the elimination of the manual intake process or reducing the number of phone calls and emails. Today, technology has been developed to the point where most car damage can be assessed accurately through photos. Next to this, important vehicle information is available at the touch of a button. It can be included in the damage assessment, eliminating the need for a physical inspection even further. By digitally pre-assessing each damage, fleet- and claim managers can better decide where to allocate the repair and save even more time.

2. Optimising costs

2020 has been an economically turbulent year for many companies, making optimising the budget expenses even more important than it already was. For fleet- or claim managers, it is crucial to find a body repair shop that will provide the most economically suitable solution for the repair of the vehicle, and limit the indirect cost spent on handling the repair.

Traditionally, repair prices and durations are vague, making it hard to control direct costs, and since the process is time-consuming, dealing with high indirect costs is usually inevitable.

With the help of digitalisation, fleet- and claim managers can clearly overview all important details and make better decisions. For example, they can compare price estimates beforehand and consider more criteria to ensure optimal prices and conditions. And due to a digitally streamlined process, repair handling is less labour-intensive and complicated, lowering indirect costs.

3. Having access to data and reporting

Reporting is an integral part of any fleet- and claim manager’s responsibilities, as it helps them analyse their operational results, look for new ways of improvement, and create new goals. But quite often, creating these reports can be a laborious task. Of course, it can be done with the help of tools such as Excel. But it limits the reporting data, quickly becomes outdated, requires a lot of manual input, and is prone to human error. Moreover, manual reporting does not provide real-time insight into the repair, which restricts the possibilities of the manager to make accurate decisions.

Periodic reports give managers the opportunity to see the full picture of the state of affairs of and at any time. For example, by how much did they reduce cycle times this week; optimise repair costs this month; or what needs to be adjusted to ensure the maximum efficiency of repair handling this year?

4. Keeping track of every repair

When multiple vehicles are in repair, it is vital for fleet- or claim managers to keep track of the status to ensure everything runs smoothly and all predetermined conditions are met.

Traditionally, managers have to reach out to body repair shops and drivers to request an update. Manual communication often leads to miscommunication, and at the very least, it takes up lots of valuable time for everyone involved.

But with a proper digital solution in place, communication between manager, driver, and body repair shop can be streamlined digitally. For instance, as soon as the vehicle proceeds to the next stage of the repair process, the manager can automatically receive an update. These updates can be sent out through multiple devices and channels such as email, SMS, WhatsApp. By having access to real-time status updates, managers can rest assured that everything is going according to plan, intervene when necessary and make sure the repair is handled adequately.

5. Meeting drivers' expectation

The rapid growth of digitalisation raised the bar in customer service across all industries. Nowadays, drivers expect nothing less than a seamless repair journey, an individualised approach, and a convenient solution. Fleet- and claim managers have their hands full, trying to meet these expectations, and the traditional repair handling process often isn’t up to par.

Digitalisation offers a plethora of opportunities to increase driver satisfaction. Technology gives managers the ability to treat drivers as individuals - empower them to have more control over their repair and simplify the entire process from arranging a damage intake to scheduling a repair to gathering feedback. Digitalisation makes it possible for fleet-and claim managers to offer a convenient repair journey that could even exceed drivers’ expectations.

Digitalisation meets a variety of needs that managers and companies have when dealing with car damage repairs. It simplifies day-to-day tasks for managers, but it also helps companies improve their performance. According to the survey by Finances Online, adopting a digital model has helped companies to improve their operational efficiency.

It is evident that repair management requires more than just a few digital solutions. As the repair process includes many steps and things to keep track of, fleet- or claim managers would benefit from a cohesive solution. Fixico’s end-to-end repair management platform meets managers’ needs by providing a solution that lowers repair costs, decreases cycle times, offers full control, unlocks valuable insight, and increase driver satisfaction.

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