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Aftersales: Accident management firmly back on the agenda thanks to 'racket' claims

“Ford was ahead of the game by being the first to remove the traditional practice of a referral fee,” he said.

“This means its customers are not targeted by ambulance chasers asking if they want to make a personal injury claim, nor are they encouraged to take up an unsuitable courtesy car.

"The result should be that the average total cost of a claim is reduced and cars get repaired quicker.

“If referral fees are banned then some companies will need to look at alternative ways to fund their programmes.

"Of course, there is the possibility of a referral fee simply coming in under another name – exactly what constitutes a referral fee will have to be carefully defined.

“Clear communication with the end user remains the real challenge. The customer often does not know what options are available.

“At MSX we are looking at best practice in dealerships – engagement with the customer at every touch point will drive customer retention and satisfaction.”

Another well-known face in the claims industry is Chris Ashworth, who worked in the insurance broking, legal and credit hire sectors before setting up solutions business Crashworth.

“The outlook and opportunity for franchised dealers is strong and positive,” he said.

“But on the whole they have not given it the same love and attention they give to other aftersales.

"That tends to be the case for accident management – it is the poor relation.

“However, from a customer journey point of view it is much more compelling in terms of the power of the event. Unlike servicing, a crash is a life-changing moment.

"It drives not only parts sales, but also future vehicle sales, whether that is immediately or six months down the line.

"The statistics show that following a crash people change their car earlier than they would otherwise have done,” Ashworth said.

“The problem, particularly for prestige dealers, is that for the last 10 years they have been taught that accident management is free – something that gets them a big, fat commission cheque.

“What needs to happen is for this to evolve to the point where if you have an accident it does not matter who you are insured with or whether it was your fault; the brand you have put your trust in – the manufacturer – will make the problem go away.

“With potential regulation of the non-fault market, there has never been a better time for dealers to build a sustainable solution.”

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