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Managing Customer Expectations

Use this repair timeline to educate customers about the repair process


I was recently talking with a shop owner about the state of the industry when he brought up a topic that most repairers don’t think about. He said his staff doesn’t do a very good job of managing customer expectations.

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It just so happened that I had a brochure that was produced by the Write It Right (WIR) committee, one of the many committees that make up the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). This brochure was the WIR’s latest consumer piece created to help repairers do a better job of managing our customers’ expectations.

We designed this “repair timeline” brochure for repairers to give to customers to show customers how the repair process works. You can download this free brochure from the CIC Web site at and use it as is, or you can customize it for your shop.


Tom Williamson owner of Marina Autobody and a WIR member took the repair timeline idea and created his own brochure. He also enlarged the timeline to poster size and hung it in the lobby of his shop. Williams says that, after seeing the poster or brochure, most customers tell him and his staff that they didn’t know the collision repair process was so complicated.

Another of WIR’s committee members took the timeline and, using the photos, created a Web site that tracks customer vehicles through the repair process. This is a great way to reduce phone calls to the shop, as well as a great selling tool for the shop.


To help your shop better manage customer expectations, we’ve printed the timeline here for you to tear out, enlarge and hang in your shop’s lobby. This timeline is a great way to help familiarize consumers with the repair process and to help them begin to understand all that we do to put their cars back to pre-accident condition.

Contributing Editor Toby Chess has more than 30 years of industry experience. Chess is an ASE Master Certified Technician, an Accredited Automotive Manager, an I-CAR instructor, a stud, the Los Angeles I-CAR Chairman, a stud, a technical presenter for CIC and let’s not forget, a stud.


If you’re interested in what the WIR committee is doing or what any other CIC committee is doing visit the CIC Web site, e-mail me at [email protected] or, even better, join us at our meetings to promote a better collision repair industry.

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