Quality control (QC), in the professional automotive repair business, is the term used to describe the final phase of the process where a vehicle is inspected after servicing.
It is universally understood to be a critical part of any visit. Few would disagree. Fewer still would argue otherwise.
In agreement that QC matters greatly, let me ask: Could you report with accuracy, how many issues your quality control inspections catch each month?
When I ask this question the most common measure I hear owners offer is this: “We haven’t had any 1-star reviews in several months, so we’re doing good there.”
In full transparency, before I stepped away from the family transmission shop there was no way I could have answered my own question. I would have struggled to offer anything other than a ‘gut feeling’ response. I too would have fixated on reviews. After that, the number of comebacks.
A lack of complaints was the only measure of our quality control success.
This isn’t to say we didn’t have a QC process. We had several processes and routines. Granted, none of them were documented. We were similar to many shops I’ve met. We did the checks, corrected issues as we went, and when satisfied that all was well and good, shipped the car.
What we were missing was any true sense of the effectiveness of our QC process. The real value is in:
- Proving your process is capable of catching issues.
- Identifying the common issues that are caught.
- Celebrating QC findings and making improvements to prevent them from turning up.
Of course, no one enjoys being reminded of imperfection which explains why the count of issues found in a QC process is everyone’s least favorite KPI.
Consider these reasons to give this KPI another look:
- Most people are not confrontational and will never leave a bad review, but they might silently go away.
- The average lifetime value of a client is well over $20,000. It takes one mistake to lose trust.
- Performing Quality Control inspections digitally makes reporting automatic.
Once you begin tracking specifics, you’ll likely be encouraged to expand your quality control checks. Each phase of the ticket process can be measured and greater consistency in your operation realized. Soon, you’ll be able to specifically define the areas of your service that are quality, rather than generalizing.