Filed Under:Claims, Education & Training

Driving Maximum Customer Satisfaction with AudaNet

Audatex is increasing its commitment to helping insurance companies and repair facilities manage auto collision claims efficiently, accurately, and cost-effectively for their benefit but, more importantly, for the benefit of the vehicle owner themselves.

AudaNet Comes to America

Optimized for the American automotive market, AudaNet is an intelligent, next generation automotive claims and collision repair platform that seamlessly connects insurers, independent appraisers, repair shops and vehicle owners. Built on proven technology successfully used for years across 20 countries throughout Europe, AudaNet already processes over 30,000 transactions daily.

AudaNet offers insurers optimized outcomes by maximizing efficiencies and customer satisfaction, and reducing loss adjustment expenses. For repair facilities, the platform delivers peak operational performance by increasing repair accuracy, and powering efficiencies for reduced cycle times, maximized customer satisfaction and optimized shop success. It also enables maximum driver satisfaction by informing and empowering customers to get them back on the road as quickly as possible.

AudaNet is the technology platform upon which Audatex’s U.S. solutions are built, offered and delivered. These solutions are:

  • AudaNet Enterprise for insurers and multi-shop owners;
  • AudaNet Expert for repair shops and appraisers; and
  • AudaNet Driver for vehicle owners

While each solution is comprised of a combination of various Audatex product modules, they all reside on the single-sign on, Web-based platform, AudaNet.  

The AudaNet platform harnesses predictive analytics, business rules engines, and external data connections to drive intelligent workflows. By seamlessly configuring workflows, AudaNet offers powerful, adaptable and valuable customer solutions. These solutions serve customers throughout the automotive claim and repair lifecycle – from the time of collision, to appraisal, and though repair or settlement.

FNOL: Starting Off on the Right Foot

The claims process begins with the first notice of loss (FNOL), when the vehicle owner first notifies their insurance company that they’ve been in an accident. AudaNet makes it easier for the insurance company representative to help the vehicle owner get the process of filing a claim started.  Moreover, Audatex’ FNOL solution provides intelligent real-time decision support tools to ensure the optimal route is taken which will result in high customer satisfaction with less costs.

With AudaNet Enterprise FNOL, information about the vehicle owner, the vehicle, and the accident are all combined to predict the outcome of that claim.  Based on the prediction, the Audatex solution will guide the call center representative through the process of quickly helping that vehicle owner get back on the road. AudaNet Enterprise FNOL goes further than score-based systems that are available now, according to John Smith, Jr., senior product manager for FNOL and mobile solutions at Audatex. Rather than simply assigning a score to each question about the airbags or the car’s drivability, the AudaNet Enterprise FNOL includes an “evaluate” button for the agent to click on that calculates a “probable outcome” for the claim. This evaluation creates a range of costs for the repair and compares those costs with that of salvaging the vehicle.

Based on that information, an estimate can be made of the cost to repair and from that determine the level of repair or if the vehicle is a probable total loss which means that more information, including an in-person assessment by an appraiser, may be necessary.

If the vehicle is determined to be repairable, then the agent then helps the vehicle owner decide where to have the car repaired. Insurance companies have their designated repair program (DRP) facilities and have their own internal rankings of which shops are suited best to do which repairs, where they’re located relative to the vehicle owner’s home and how much capacity they have. The vehicle’s owner can pick whatever garage they choose to have the work done, however AudaNet Enterprise FNOL gives the agent a full array of information to help the vehicle owner make an informed decision.  

AudaNet Enterprise FNOL informs the agent that Body Shop A is further away from the owner’s home than Body Show B, but Body Shop A has 10 bays reserved for vehicles covered by the owner’s insurance company and can start the repairs tomorrow, said Smith, which might help the insured make a decision.

“Cycle time is very important to insurers and it’s also important to the vehicle owners because they want their car fixed and they want it back in pre-accident condition,” Smith said. The key benefit of AudaNet Enterprise FNOL is that it guides the policyholder through the beginning of the claims process while also empowering them to make decisions, such as their choice of repair facility. It also gives them an important first impression about what the rest of the claims and repair process will be like. If you can get their confidence early on, it’ll make the rest of the process that much easier and greatly increase the chance that vehicle owner will continue to be a policy holder, long after the claim is completed.

AudaVIN: The Key Differentiator within AudaNet Xpert Estimating

Doing a repair right requires accurately evaluating the vehicle that is being fixed based not just on its vehicle identification number (VIN) but on its list of regular production options (RPOs), the options installed on the assembly line and, in some cases, options installed at the dealer. AudaVIN (a module available within AudaNet Xpert Estimating) is AudaNet’s solution for obtaining a vehicles total DNA, including RPO data, on millions of cars, and its database is about to get considerably larger.

AudaVIN already has access to data for the following makes: Mercedes, BMW, Mini, Smart, Volkswagen and Audi. But by early in 2013, the AudaVIN system will add information on vehicles from General Motors along with Nissan, Jaguar, Infiniti and Range Rover, with other U.S. manufactures to be added shortly thereafter.

The AudaVIN system can already decode the VINs of all automakers but with these specific makes, AudaVIN can obtain the ever-so-specific DNA makeup of a particular vehicle, according to Patrick Schmidlin, Vice President, Product Management, Audatex. Schmidlin demonstrated Audatex’ industry-first AudaVIN by entering the 17-digit VIN of a BMW. AudaVIN sends a request to a BMW database server in Munich, Germany, the server reads the VIN, pulls the relevant option code and build information for that car from the database and sends it to an Audatex server in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Now AudaVIN has detailed RPO information about that car, including what color, what type of rims, whether it has a spoiler, what option packages it came with, all linked to the Audatex vehicle database to help inform the insurance company and the body shop about how to repair that vehicle. “This happens in split seconds,” said Schmidlin.

AudaVIN’s enhancements shorten the time it takes to do such a vehicle inspection by seven minutes per vehicle. Saving time saves money and getting an accurate estimate avoids mistakes when the wrong parts are ordered or an incorrect repair is done because the right options weren’t considered and documented.

AudaVIN also enhances the accuracy of salvage appraisals when a vehicle is totaled. Accurately determining what options and other equipment were on the wrecked vehicle is critical to calculating the salvage value the owner deserves. If errors are made, a customer might complain to the insurer about an oversight. “I had leather seats and you did not see that. I also had a navigation system,” Schmidlin said.  As the vehicle owners confidence decreases, so does his level of satisfaction.

Estimating Enhancements to Further Improve Efficiency and Accuracy

Instead of just dropping the existing estimating solution into AudaNet, Audatex decided to make significant investments into improving the workflow and estimating engine to further increase accuracy while improving efficiency. 

For vehicle identification, in addition to AudaVIN, we’ve added an innovative feature that allows users to search for vehicles very similarly to how they search the internet using Google or Bing today.  “Using predictive, auto-complete technology, the new vehicle search anticipates what you’re searching for as you type”, according to Neal Lowell, senior director of product management at Audatex.  If you type “’11” it starts to suggest all the 2011 makes available, then as you add “S550” it eliminates all the other makes and models and quickly understands that you are trying to find a 2011 Mercedes S550.  At this point, it dynamically shows you the different S550 styles that are available and waits for the next keypress or menu selection.  Once a user selects the vehicle they are looking for, all drop down boxes are automatically selected.

This layout replaces cumbersome systems of pull down menus for whether the car was Asian, European, American, etc. that weren’t very helpful, Lowell said. “That’s not how people think. They say ‘I have an ‘2011 S550.’ So we design the search to mimic how people think and describe their cars,” he said.

“Next, we added some significant improvements to our 3D Vehicle and Parts database.  First, we improved the quality of our 3D graphics, adding additional shading, colors, and reflections to mimic real vehicles.  Next, we added a 3-D Navigation Vehicle that shows users a complete 3D representation of both the exterior and interior of the vehicle they are estimating.  Users can quickly select a section of the exterior or interior to jump to that section in 3D,” he said

“Last, but certainly not least, Audatex has introduced a new technology called Dynamic Display.  Users can now mouse over all of the available options of a vehicle and it will Dynamically Display the part changes in 3D that would occur if that option were selected.  This helps when AudaVIN is not available or when users are identifying dealer installed options.  These enhancements are just a sample of the many features that we are very excited to showcase at NACE and release with our new AudaNet Xpert Estimating solution,” Lowell said.

AutoWatch: Following the Progress of a Repair

To maintain a high customer satisfaction index (CSI), insurance companies and repair shops find that keeping the vehicle owner informed is the best way to keep them happy. AudaNet Xpert AutoWatch is using the latest in communications technology to keep vehicle owners in the loop while their cars are in the shop.

The AudaNet Xpert AutoWatch process starts by aggregating information from the repair facility’s and insurance company’s information management systems and presents them in one portal that the insured can access from either the body shop’s or the insurance company’s Web site. The information can be packaged any number of ways and even customized to match either company’s logo or other branding features.

More important is the information about the status of the repair job with updates along the way. The vehicle owner can choose how to receive alerts each time a milestone is reached ,via text or e-mail, such as when the bodywork is done and when the painting is done. The system can be set up to warn them when something is amiss, such as if the project falls behind schedule. They can also see digital photos taken of their vehicle each step of the way and if they want to, post them on their Facebook or other social media page.

AudaNet Xpert AutoWatch keeps the customer engaged in the repair process but also can help them get their car back sooner. Because updates are sent to the owner automatically, they and the insurance claims manager don’t have to keep interrupting the shop manager with phone calls so they can keep working on the vehicles.

Another unique feature within AudaNet Xpert AutoWatch is VehicleWatch, which performs a comprehensive diagnostics test on the vehicle before the repair is made and again after it’s done. Sometimes, damage is done in a crash to electrical, mechanical or other vehicle systems that isn’t readily apparent after a crash, but VehicleWatch will check to identify them before the vehicle leaves the shop.

AudaNet: Ensuring Maximized Customer Satisfaction

The new innovations within the AudaNet platform (AudaNet Enterprise FNOL, AudaNet Xpert Estimating, AudaVIN, Dynamic Display and AudaNet Xpert AutoWatch)are all in the pursuit of the same mission: to help insurance companies and repair facilities manage auto collision claims promptly, efficiently and cost-effectively for their benefit but, more importantly, for the benefit of the vehicle owner themselves. This empowers drivers to get them back on the road as quickly as possible and with the best possible experience. 

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