Fylde Coast ARC offers digital solution for customers

In March 2019, Fylde Coast Accident Repair Centre moved into a purpose-built bodyshop in the Blackpool Enterprise Zone (featured in our Summer 2019 edition of Auto Body Professional). The stunning, 18,000 sq ft contemporary bodyshop has invested in the latest repair technology. Here we talk to Dane Hyland, Bodyshop Manager, about what’s been happening since it officially opened and the company’s IT development to improve customer communication.

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One year after Fylde Coast Accident Repair Centre opened its impressive facility in Blackpool, the UK went into national lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The company has invested heavily in technology and manufacturer approvals and the state-of-the art new premises includes all aspects of ADAS recalibration, EV specialisation and full aluminum repair capability.To stay competitive in this new business environment that COVID-19 has brought, Fylde Coast is taking the digital journey one step closer. “We have been sending SMS messages to our customers for quite some time now as one means of communication for regular repair updates, however, we wanted to improve on this and have recently created an online web chat,” said Dane Hyland, Bodyshop Manager, Fylde Coast Accident Repair Centre. “It’s something our website company has created for us, and we are looking at how to link this with our bodyshop management system data. People want to talk to people at a time that suits them. The first day we went live with the web chat, the interest immediately showed us how much our customers look at our website and proved to us that there was a need for this instant communication. It has reduced our phone enquiries and increased our net promoter scores. Not only does the web chat allow us to respond to customers quicker but we can talk to

multiple customers at the same time. It has allowed us to be even more efficient.”The web chat also illustrates what questions people are frequently asking. “We are hoping that some of the updates can be automated in the near future by voice recognition rather than requiring a manual response,” said Dane. “By looking back at the data and the conversations, we will be able to create some pre-automated questions, but we need the data first before we are able to plan the questions and that’s what we are in the process of doing.”

We are constantly looking at ways to improve our business and are looking at adding more manufacturers approvals to the 15 we currently have.

The web chat also means that customers don’t need to contact the bodyshop during normal working hours. “We can extend this web chat to out of hours, so rather than just say it cuts off at 5pm, we can keep it operating until 10pm at night and at weekends,” said Dane. “The staff have been fully behind us and we have spent time explaining our plans and what we want to achieve in our digital journey,” added Dane.

Fylde Coast has also made other changes since the official opening which include a fast-track facility where smaller repairs are completed in less than 24 hours. “The fast track facility is totally separate and has evolved with the growth of technology such as UV curing and low energy paint products,” said Dane. “It is really helping us secure new work and improve key-to-key times.”Since lockdown, the repair centre has also capitalised on its airport location and diversified into refinishing for private helicopters and light aircraft. “Our technicians involved in the aviation work have been highly motivated by working with new products, materials and processes,” said Dane.

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