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Product aimed at boosting aftersales business to be launched at AM event

A new tool designed to help identify body repair upsell opportunties for service vehicles is to be launched to franchised dealers at the AM Hit for Six Conference on Tuesday (November 13).

Accident management company Innovation Group will be unveiling a two quick assessment applications into the sector: Rapid Assess for body repairers and Dealer Estimate for dealerships.

Rapid Assess is a web-based solution which allows an unskilled user to quickly generate an assessment of non-structural body repair damage, which is consistent with a full body repair estimate generated by a trained bodyshop Vehicle Damage Assessor using a traditional estimating system.

The application claims two specific benefits for dealerships: identification and conversion of body repair upsell opportunities and consistent body damage condition adjustments for part exchange vehicles.

Rapid Assess is based on a US application and Innovation Group has spent the last six months modifying the product for the UK market.

The application allows a user to select a relevant work profile (confirming appropriate labour rates and repair criteria), input a registration number, upload a live photograph of body damage, select the type and area of damage and generate an instant assessment. The application runs from a website and through a dedicated iPad app – allowing the user to walk round a vehicle and produce an assessment with the customer.

A detailed and transparent assessment can be generated by an unskilled user within 120 seconds.

The application includes the option of supplying both a full bodyshop assessment and a SMART repair quote – all fully configurable by the dealership. The assessment process can be tailored to fit the dealership’s local arrangements with supplying bodyshops.

Mike Paterson, business development director at Innovation Group, who joined from Thatcham in March (having previously worked for RL Polk and Glass’s), said: "The solution uses five key elements to generate an assessment - Thatcham panel replacement times, Thatcham paint repair calculator, OE parts prices, a unique panel repair calculator and a SMART repair calculator. It also utilises a unique technology of 'grid spec estimating', a patented process for uploading a vehicle image into a frame, overlaying a series of grids and generating an online assessment.

"We knew, when we started to scope the UK application, that dealers generally find it difficult to capitalise on body repair revenue opportunities – for a number of reasons – but primarily because of the complexity of generating a reliable quote quickly enough when a vehicle is in for a service. Market feedback suggests that almost every other vehicle coming into the dealership has at least some minor body damage, so there is a huge volume of uncaptured opportunities.

"We needed to tailor the product so that it could work quickly and easily within both service reception and sales departments. Time is precious and the assessment process needs to engage the customer. Capturing an image of the customer’s vehicle and offering a transparent, and reliable, quotation increases the likelihood of converting the opportunity.

"Initial feedback from pilot bodyshops and dealerships confirms that the product meets that market requirement. Timing of the product launch is great for us and the Hit for Six Conference is the absolutely ideal opportunity for us to introduce it to the franchised dealer community."

> Attending the Hit for Six Conference in Oxford on Tuesday.

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