Friday, September 23, 2011

The first scratch is the hardest

In late 2004 I purchased my first new car, a 2004 Honda Civic SI sedan. My girlfriend was living in Montreal and I was in Toronto. She came to Toronto shortly after I picked up the car and I drove up to her parents’ house to show her my prized possession. On the way I decided to stop at an automatic car wash to make sure the car looked its best. I paid my money and drove into the bay. I will spare you the gory details as I am still sensitive about the incident, but let’s just say I paid for a touchless car wash and in the end I did not receive what I paid for. Even though the owner took responsibility, I still had to choose how I would get the damage fixed. Should I go to an independent body shop or take it back to the dealer?

I am lucky to have family in the business so I can get honest advice whenever I need it, but what is an average consumer to do? When I went through driving school they did not teach us what to do if an accident occurs. What documentation do I need? Where should I get the car towed to? How do I order a tow truck? Should I call the police? These are serious questions that many of us do not have the answers to.

The Toronto Automotive Dealers Association has addressed this problem with Renewit. Renewit can be offered to customers as a service they can use in case of a collision and it includes a mobile app that provides collision reporting templates, safety tips and traffic information. Bob Redinger, Co-Committee Chair Person at Renewit Inc., explains that if a customer is in an accident, they can contact Renewit and Renewit will assist the customer in bringing the car to the dealership of their choice for repair. Renewit can organize a tow truck to pick up the car, contact the dealer to let them know the car is coming in for repair and it can also help put the customer in touch with the right sources to get answers about insurance claims and repair coverage. In addition, the application allows dealers to contact their customers to inform them of specials, etc. This program is completely free to customers.

For dealers, the program is seen as a customer retention tool that provides customers with peace of mind that if they are ever in an accident they will have support from a knowledgeable and trustworthy source. Dealerships pay a monthly fee to be listed as a Renewit-approved dealer and the service can be offered to customers when they are purchasing a new or used vehicle or servicing a car through the dealership. In order for the dealership to get the full benefits of this program, employees should assist customers in installing the mobile application and setting up their personal profile.

It is a challenge to gain a competitive advantage in any industry, and this program allows dealerships to offer ongoing service to customers as well as providing an opportunity to get referrals through being listed as a preferred Renewit dealership.

Go to for more information.

-- Bryan Redinger