Communicating with the personnel at your auto body shop is critical to the level of services you receive and pay for. It is important to understand all information that is shared during your discussions before committing to a specific auto repair shop to handle your repairs.
1. Know your problem – Understanding firsthand the problem you are having with your vehicle will greatly enhance the level of communication you have. When you are able to directly express your concerns and offer a thorough insight to the problem that exists, then the repair personnel will recognize that you are aware of the problem and are eager to discuss the necessary repairs to fix it. It is much better when the people you are talking to understand that you know what you are talking about and that the vehicle and its problems are not foreign to you. Carrying on this type of communication will discourage the repair personnel from trying to take advantage of you.
2. Know who you are speaking to – When visiting your auto body shop, before engaging in an in depth discussion, ask the person’s name and the capacity they serve in beforehand. A front desk receptionist is most likely not going to be as knowledgeable as the auto repair technicians or the facility manager, so be certain to ask to speak with a qualified representative of the shop when discussing your vehicle issues and getting a good estimate.
3. Ask questions – Unable to fully understand the variety of issues and problems that occur with automobiles, it is imperative that you ask questions about the problem itself. What may have caused the problem? What is the anticipated fix for the problem? In addition, be certain to ask questions regarding the length of time it will take to repair the vehicle since the majority of the costs you pay at an auto repair shop are labor costs. Further, you should ask questions about the parts that are necessary for the repair and inquire as to whether or not the shop carries those parts or are you going to have to wait on parts to be ordered and sent to the shop?
4. Use active listening – When you are talking to the mechanic or the auto body shop manager, be certain to give them your undivided attention and listen attentively to what they are saying so you don’t miss a word. You want to be certain to understand the suggested repairs, and you want to feel confident that the repairs are truly necessary. In addition, you do not want to be misinformed in any way, so paying close attention will avoid this.
5. Check for understanding – Before ending your communications and/or leaving your vehicle for repair at the body shop, be certain that you and the mechanics are on the same page. Specifically, confirm the actual repairs to be done, the parts involved, the length of time to perform the repairs which reflects the total labor costs, and the overall cost for the repair. Ask for a printout of the actual quoted estimate so you can compare the actual cost to the estimate when you pick up your repaired vehicle.
It is very important to communicate effectively and efficiently with the mechanic and/or manager before any commitment is made for repairs. Gathering all the pertinent information needed in a preliminary communication and obtaining a hard copy estimate of all the repair work to be performed, the parts to be used, and the itemized costs and taxes if applicable, will be beneficial to you, your vehicle, and your pocketbook.