Close Encounters - Making Contact Is The First Giant Leap
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Close Encounters – Making Contact Is The First Giant Leap

Digital vehicle inspections can be a powerful customer service tool for your shop.

In the 1977 Steven Spielberg UFO movie, we learned about the concept of “Close Encounters.” What may seem like a creation of science fiction may actually have some basis in science.

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According to astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, there are actually different types of encounters people can have with other beings. A close encounter of the first kind is a visual sighting of a unidentified flying object. The second kind is an experience in which some physical effect is alleged.

A close encounter of the third kind, of course, is an actual meeting with an animated entity.

Dealing with your customers and their vehicles may often seem like an alien experience but, as proven in the movie, making contact is one of the most important steps in the process.


Today, customers may be less interested in a face-to-face meeting with you because of concerns over safety or simply a lack of time. What used to be a social interaction may now be a drop off/drive by encounter of the first kind.

That doesn’t mean that the need to communicate has gotten any less important — in fact, it’s more critical than ever. Luckily, today’s technology makes contact even more reliable.

Text messaging has rapidly taken over as the preferred communication means for many of your customers. Studies show that, where a voicemail or email may go unnoticed for hours (or days), a text will typically garner a response in minutes.


Digital inspections are a powerful customer service tool for your shop, allowing you to send detailed information to your customers about what their vehicle needs now and prepare them for future needs.

You can easily document the vehicle’s condition, highlight damaged components and point out potential safety issues. But simply doing the inspection does no one any good if you don’t share your findings.

What used to require a game of phone tag now just needs a cell phone number. When your customers know that they will receive a digital inspection via SMS text messaging, they can be ready to respond ASAP.


Notify customers ahead of time that they will likely receive photos, videos, notes and recommendations within the digital inspection link for a more personalized and detailed way of communicating.

Digital inspections provide your customers with full transparency to their services or repairs needed. Communicating this to your customers in advance is key and will add tremendous amount of trust between them and your shop. 

If you’ve already used digital inspections with previous customers, ask one of them for a testimonial that includes their experience and how they trust your shop because of the process. Not only will this add credibility, but it will give your prospects feedback from a point of view that they can personally relate to.


It’s not science fiction and it’s not just Hollywood magic. How you contact your customers is important — that you contact them is critical. 

Photo by Michael Herren on Unsplash

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