Now the Government’s MOT extension has come to an end; if it hasn’t happened already, there will soon be the expected influx of bookings from customers wanting to book their vehicle in for an MOT.
You’ll no doubt be nervous about how you and your team will cope. And if we could give only one piece of advice, it would be this: Communication with customers will be critical to how you manage the rush.
As you’ll know, answering a phone enquiry with a standard response of ”Sorry, we’re fully booked” will not only frustrate them but if they decide to go elsewhere there’s a high probability they won’t come back. That’s a valuable customer lost.
So, how do you ensure they stay patient?
As we said at the start, keeping the lines of communication well and truly open is key. There’s a lot of information you can share that will help to educate customers; old and new. And if they can see you’re going the extra mile it takes away some of the stress they’ll be feeling about their, possibly overdue, MOT.
Now, of course, if a customer’s MOT is overdue, it’s overdue. But putting together a simple list of questions for whoever answers the calls for your MOT Station or garage could be the answer because it will allow you to free your diary up for more urgent situations.
For example: by asking when the customer’s MOT is due, you could offer them a slot closer to that date; leaving more appointments available for those whose MOTs are due sooner. A simple Red/Amber/Green system could work – if their MOT is due in two months or more, they could be allocated a ‘Green’ diary slot as close to that date as they would be happy with. If their MOT is due in the next few weeks, they’re given a RED diary slot (which is as soon as possible).
What’s important is to reassure them about whichever slot they have been allocated. For example, if you’ve put them in the diary for several weeks away, they need to understand that won’t cause them any issues and there will be plenty of time to perform the MOT and any subsequent work required if the vehicle should fail.
If you decide to use this system, remember to keep a couple of slots open every week for those real emergencies! If you don’t get any, you can call a customer and ask if they want to move their appointment forward. Many would be more than happy to do so.
Another way to support customers is to give them information to make their car ‘MOT ready’.
The benefit of this approach is three-fold.
It gives them tasks to do that make them feel like they’re taking action. They see it as excellent customer service. And most importantly, it buys you time!
A lot of failures will come from issues that could have been addressed before the MOT. And we all know that many of those failures are down to relatively minor issues.
So why not give your customers a handy checklist of what to look at beforehand?
You could put this on your website, or Facebook page and refer customers to it when they call to book an appointment. Or if you use a CRM system, you should be able to log dates when your existing customers MOTs are due and send them the checklist a few weeks before – that’s great customer service!
Some customers will not be remotely interested in ‘fixing’ things on their car, of course. But even those customers will appreciate the gesture and will see you as a business that’s helpful and trustworthy; and again, it keeps communication lines open.
And remember, by helping them to help themselves, you’ll be able to push more vehicles through the system giving better customer satisfaction, and those customers will return time and again.
What should be on the Pre MOT Handy Checklist?
The RAC Have done most of the hard work for you here – but you may have a few of your own to add too.
They suggest you share the following information with customers:
Clear your car of rubbish and clutter. Most garages will have experienced the necessity to refuse to conduct an MOT because they can’t get access to things (like seatbelts or the spare tyre) that have to be checked as part of the MOT.
Clean your number plates. If they are too dirty to read, it’s a fail.
Check the windscreen wipers. They need to be in good, working condition.
Check all lights are in working order. You’ll need someone outside the car to help with this.
Check tyre pressure and treads. You can use the 20p technique for the treads, and most filling stations have easy to use air pumps showing tyre pressures.
Top up all fluid levels. This includes oil, brake fluid, and even screen wash.
Check that the horn works. Give it a honk – but don’t annoy the neighbours!
Check your mirrors. All of them, inside and out, should be intact and secure.
Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The number on your car’s bodywork must match the one in your V5C logbook.
Note: Giving them this information doesn’t mean less work for you – it builds trust and loyalty.
We don’t promise any of this advice is going to be the ‘magic formula’ to a manageable few months. If it was, we could probably retire from the proceeds made from our ‘words of wisdom’ over the years!
But we would like to think it may help point you in the right direction to a less stressful time while the general public put extra demands on you. We work with many garages and MOT Stations and get to see first-hand what you guys have to deal with. Our job is to try and ease the daily grind a bit if we can!
Don’t forget, one way to ease the stress is to make sure your testers are fully ‘up to speed’ on their training and qualifications.
If you haven’t left yourself much time and need to book your team in ‘pronto’
call Karena on 07734859604
You may be interested in our new online and Zoom training options too.