As mechanical break down inspectors, we all face certain challenges during the course of our day-to-day duties. One of the biggest challenges can be getting the service advisor and/or technician to readily assist in the inspection process. I am well aware that some of the service contract providers could do a much better job of explaining to the repair facility the purpose for the inspection, and exactly what their role in the process is, but the best tool for dealing with negative perception from anyone is a positive attitude.
Responding to resistance or frustration with statements such as, “I'm just an independent inspector," or "I don't work for the warranty company," are only perceived as excuses and typically are not very helpful in gaining the assistance you need. Relaying that you understand the difficulties and delays created by the inspection request is usually more positively received.
Also assure them that your verbal or written report will be given to the warranty company and/or the inspection agency before you leave the repair facility to ensure that the decision making process moves along as quickly as possible. This lets them known that you all have the same goal – which is to get the vehicle repaired and back to the owner.
We must also remember that most of the technicians we will deal with are on a flat rate pay plan and in their mind, the time spent with us is unpaid time. I have found that being direct and straight to the point, telling them exactly what information is needed to accurately answer all of the service providers’ questions and complete your report works best. Once they are aware of what you need, let them take the superior role during the inspection. Defensiveness and resistance are the "knee jerk" responses if a technician feels his abilities are being questioned.
A firm hand shake and a sincere thank you at the conclusion of your inspection can do wonders for all future inspections. All people are more apt to be helpful and giving of their time to someone they like and have a mutual respect for. Along with the challenges, there are numerous benefits to our chosen profession. We all encounter service personnel on a daily basis who would love the opportunity to do what we do. Keep in mind that your outlook is the lens that you view every situation through. Stay positive and the rest will follow.