Most people like to take their car in for auto service and auto repairs about as much as they like getting a root canal! Often consumers feel uncertain, overwhelmed, and distrustful when they arrive at an auto shop.
The reasons consumers dislike service facilities vary. Expected poor service, confusing explanations, inconsistent diagnoses of a problem from one auto service shop to another, differing prices, general fear and distrust arising from ignorance of what the vehicle needs. All of these problems and more can contribute to consumers' car-care wariness.
The Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) is dedicated to helping the automotive service and auto repair industry cultivate consumer trust. Both the shop and the consumer will get off to a better start, MAP believes, if they share a common road map to the customer' car, something each could follow to help prevent misunderstandings.
MAP participants have such a road map: the Uniform Inspection & Communication Standards developed through MAP by the industry. The guidelines give the auto shop a customer relations/education tool to use before proceeding with any work. Service staff can review the guidelines with the consumer and give him or her a copy of the MAP required estimate, which explains in clear language what will be done to the vehicle and why.
Since the auto shop and the consumer are now following the same industry-developed road map, the consumer can have more confidence in the technician's identification of any problems and recommended solutions. Customers will have information that will help them ask questions...and understand the answers.
MAP facilities (auto shops) know how important trust is in working with the public. Participating in MAP shows that the shop respects the customer enough to communicate clearly and honestly about any work a vehicle requires, or may require in the future.
All MAP service providers use the very same guidelines and materials. This allows a shop to assure consumers they'll get consistent service and auto repair recommendations, based on the uniform industry guidelines, from any MAP participant.
MAP isn't some kind of PR ploy meant to paper over problems and get the customer to feel good about shops. Rather, MAP helps service center staff communicate more clearly with customers and it helps each customer become a more educated consumer of car care services.
MAP developed standards of service for shops to follow in communicating with customers. Written from the point of view of maintenance and repair shops, the standards expand on the ideas and promises established in MAP's Pledge to Customers.
1. MAP's recommendations are based upon the following definitions:
System Failure - Parts/system indicated are out of manufacturers' specifications, have failed or are unable to perform their normal function as intended or designed by the manufacturers. Service or replacement is required
Preventive/Scheduled Maintenance - Parts/system are scheduled for service/replacement per industry standards or are near the end of their useful life and repair/replacement is recommended in advance of parts/system failure. Service or replacement is suggested.
Improved System Performance - Parts/system indicated are recommended for repair/replacement to enhance/improve the vehicle's ability to perform as intended or designed by the manufacturer, or as requested by the customer. Service or replacement is suggested.
Auto shop personnel have acquired auto repair expertise through formal education or work experience. Where appropriate, personnel are moving toward certification (e.g. vehicle manufacturer, ASE, etc.) for the services performed. Continuing education is supported by all MAP participants.
3. Appropriate Company Approved Inspection
Auto shop will perform an appropriate inspection based on MAP Uniform Inspection & Communication Standards.
4. Written Estimates
Written auto service estimates based on inspection, in compliance with state and local regulations, will include parts (dollar amount), labor (dollar amount), and the total estimate.
5. Work Authorization
No work will be performed without the customer's prior approval.
6. Limited Warranty
Auto shop offers a minimum limited warranty for 90 days or 4,000 miles, whichever comes first, covering parts and labor.
7. Returned Parts
All customers will be entitled to the return of old parts, or if they choose, they may examine the parts prior to leaving the store. Where failed parts are required to be returned to the manufacturer in order to honor the warranty, the customer will be allowed to examine the parts.
8. Classification of Parts
Replaced parts will be identified as new, re-manufactured, rebuilt or used. MAP participants will inform the customer and indicate on the estimate and invoice whether a part is new, re-manufactured, rebuilt or used.