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Driving Dealership Claims Experience Through Efficient Claims Handling

By Brandon Hartfiel | May 23, 2024

Last updated on May 23, 2024

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In the automotive service industry, efficiency is key, especially when you spend your time managing the delicate balance between customer needs and business goals. 

The great news is that with the ongoing digital transformation taking place in dealerships, there are more ways than ever to drive efficiency while also creating lasting customer relationships and meeting service and repair targets. 

How can digital tools help improve the claims handling process?

The key to optimizing your dealership's claims experience is efficient claims handling. By leveraging digital tools, you can spend less time processing claims and more time interacting with your customers.

With the growing popularity of online claims processing tools, the traditional, slower methods are becoming outdated. In this blog post, we'll dive into the importance of claims handling in automotive dealerships and how the use of digital tools can enhance the entire process, from claim submission to completion.

Free Guide: 6 Ways to Boost Profitability, Performance & Service in Fixed Ops →

Why Excellence in Claims Handling Matters for Dealerships

In the fast-paced world of automotive dealerships, excellence in claims handling is not just a goal—it's a necessity. It stands at the core of customer satisfaction and loyalty, directly impacting your dealership's reputation and bottom line.

Effective claims management helps to streamline the claims submission process, ensuring quick, accurate, and hassle-free resolutions for customers and service personnel. This is significant because it accelerates the service cycle, allowing for a greater volume of repairs and maintenance work, and significantly reducing the potential for errors and disputes that can arise during the auto claims management process.

A successful claims handling strategy hinges on a few core components:

Online Claims Efficieny Submission Blog Design-01

  • Clear communication channels between service champions and customers to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the status and required parts, labor and timeline of any claim.
  • A robust digital infrastructure for claims processing empowers dealerships to manage claims more efficiently, from initial submission through to resolution.
  • A proactive approach to claims management—anticipating issues and addressing them before they escalate—can transform a potential customer service headache into an opportunity to demonstrate reliability and commitment to service excellence.

By prioritizing these aspects of the claims handling process, dealerships can turn claims management into a competitive advantage, fostering trust and loyalty among their customers.

The Claims Handling Process: A Blueprint for Efficiency

Navigating the claims handling process efficiently is all about finding the quickest and most reliable journey to your destination.

Traditionally, calling in claims one by one takes a significant amount of time, whether you’re waiting on hold, detailing claim information and VIN item by item, to waiting on claims authorization before you can complete the work and submit all the proof of work on the RO. This method is not only more time-consuming, but gives greater chance of human error, leading to further delays and customer dissatisfaction, all of which can negatively impact your bottom line.

In contrast, the digital claims handling process creates a straightaway to efficiency. Here’s how it works:

  • Submit a claim (or several at a time) electronically through an online portal designed for swift, secure processing, saving time and paperwork.
  • Automated processes automatically check the claim for completeness and accuracy, dramatically reducing back-and-forth communication.
  • The claim is automatically routed for review, utilizing predefined criteria to speed up decision-making.

Online Claims Efficieny Submission Blog Design-02Through this streamlined approach to claims processing, you can track the claim's status in real-time, significantly reduce processing times, minimize errors and elevate the overall customer experience.

How Digital Tools Can Revolutionize Your Claims Handling

A service advisor’s primary role is customer satisfaction, so being able to spend more time supporting customers and less time completing administrative tasks enables huge efficiencies in your dealership.

Imagine the potential you could achieve if you could increase the volume of appointments and decrease the average time each car spends in the service bay. Your dealership CSI scores would likely increase, along with overall customer sentiment.

Digital tools can help you grow these metrics by incorporating user-friendly interfaces that guide service advisors through the submission process, bridging the gap between operational efficiency and exceptional customer experience, and illustrating a clear path to success in the ever-competitive automotive industry.

The transparency offered by these digital solutions means that both the dealership staff and customers can track the progress of claims in real-time, setting clear expectations and reducing the number of status-update calls. More appointments and happier customers? Yes please.

By focusing on these aspects, digital claims processing effectively serves as the conduit for dealership success and customer satisfaction.

Implementing Digital Solutions Without Disrupting Your Workflow

Introducing digital solutions into your dealership's claims handling workflow might seem daunting at first. However, with a bit of guidance from a trusted partner invested in your success, you can weave digital claims processing seamlessly into your existing operations, boosting efficiency without the fear of disruption.

Start by identifying the most time-consuming aspects of your current claims submission process. This often highlights where digital tools can make the most immediate impact, such as automating warranty and F&I claims processing.

From there, pilot a digital solution in a controlled environment. This allows you to iron out any kinks and ensure compatibility with your team's workflow. Encourage your service champions to provide feedback during this phase, as their insights are invaluable to ensure success.

By adopting a phased approach, you introduce your team to the benefits of digital claims processing, such as quicker turnaround times and fewer errors, without overwhelming them. Digital training resources can also help upskill your team in the early days of this change, ensuring they're confident in using the new tools. Through these strategies, your dealership can transition to a more efficient, digital-first approach to claims handling, effectively reducing bottlenecks and improving overall workflow.

Free Guide: 6 Ways to Boost Profitability, Performance & Service in Fixed Ops →

F&I Claims Processing: Aligning with Digital Trends

Finance and Insurance (F&I) plays a significant role in the automotive dealership ecosystem, including in how the F&I products sold translate into claims down the line. Especially for dealerships offering a full suite of F&I protection products, including GAP, tire and wheel protection, vehicle service contracts, maintenance and more, it is necessary to have a flexible claims processing system capable of handling different types of coverage.

Given the specific terms and conditions of vehicle service contracts and other F&I products can vary by coverage type, state, brand and model, it’s important that service managers are able to properly align customer claims with each product, and doing so can help ensure compliance and adherence to contract terms and benefits.

The trend towards digitizing F&I processes can enable smoother integration between F&I systems and claims management platforms, more easily transferring information, reducing manual errors and speeding up claims processing.

Aligning F&I sales with claims data can also help dealers create predictive models factoring in claims frequency, payouts and profitability goals for the short- and long-term. Layering on industry trends like vehicle valuations, lease return volume and more can inform key decision-making strategies for dealership leaders.

Of course, everything at the dealership starts with your customer, so maintaining a customer-centric approach is key, because happy customers are more likely to return for their next purchase and see the value in vehicle protection products they can rely on.

Mastering Warranty Claims Processing for Enhanced Profitability

Buying a vehicle with a warranty brings a greater degree of consumer confidence to the purchase, whether on a new vehicle or certified pre-owned vehicle. Knowing a vehicle’s quality and performance is backed up by the manufacturer or a limited warranty goes a long way for a customer, so if something does go wrong, they are protected.

Unexpected vehicle repairs are a big inconvenience for customers, so giving them as much peace of mind and transparency into the process as possible can help create positive experiences that reassure them they are being taken care of by helpful, knowledgeable dealership associates.

Integrating digital tools in this process can support proactive upselling – for instance if a customer makes a service appointment under their warranty, the system can prompt you if their warranty is expiring. Now, when they arrive in the service drive, your service advisor can offer them additional protection products specific to the year, make, model and mileage of their vehicle. This extends the customer lifecycle and also helps the customer protect their vehicle for longer.

More advanced tools for warranty claims processing include:

  • Advanced analytics and AI to analyze warranty claims data, identify patterns, predict failures, and optimize warranty coverage.
  • Digital imaging tools to capture and store documentation of warranty claims, such as photos or videos of damaged parts, improving claim accuracy and reducing the likelihood of disputes, leading to faster claim approvals and reimbursements.

Continuous Improvement for Success in Dealership Claims Handling

In the dynamic world of automotive, continuous improvement and staying ahead of the trends that influence the dealership is key. As the industry evolves, so do the expectations of consumers, who want transparent and seamless service experiences. By embracing digital claims processing, you can meet those expectations and set new standards in claims handling.

The benefits of incorporating enhanced technology in your claims process are plentiful, including streamlining operations, enhancing customer satisfaction, and significantly contributing to profitability.

And it's critically important you get it right, because it plays a big role in dealership success, impacting customers, the service drive, F&I and your dealership’s reputation. By instituting an efficient claims process, you can optimize profitability, streamline operations for your team and create fantastic customer experiences.

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