Are you still calling it an MPI? If so, why?

The acronym MPI, otherwise known as multi-point inspection, has been around longer than most of us have been in the business. It is one of the many automotive terms that we have come to use as a standard and acceptable language. We all know that words are important, right? Would any of you argue that just one wrong word can set off a customer to the point of nuclear meltdown? We have all seen it happen.

So, what is wrong with MPI? I would submit to you that this term can be what I call a “silent killer”. In other words, it can be having a negative impact without you even realizing it.

“The words that we use in our automotive world every single day that we think are perfectly fine and harmless, may not be getting interpreted by our customers the same way”

So, does the phrase MPI/MPVI still serve us well, particularly in the minds of our customers?

I would submit to you that this term is not only old and worn out, but that it also has a negative connotation for many of our customers. Customers today are much savvier as it relates to our business than they were in past years. We are no different. Aren’t all of us savvier when it comes to pretty much-buying anything? The answer is yes, and the simple reason is technology.

Most of our advisors will either ask the customer for permission to perform an MPI or just let the customer know that the “MPI is part of every service visit”. Harmless, right? Maybe. Now consider what this worn-out term may mean to our savvy customers in their subconscious mind….

“Oh, MPI…. Yup, that means at some point in the day, they will be asking me to take my wallet out” Some customers are even kind enough to let us know what they are thinking here, by declining the MPI.

“Hey, no thanks, just the oil change today will be fine”.

Please consider that a customer declining an MPI maybe “code” for… “MPI = spending money”, = “here they go again trying to get me to buy something I don’t need”

What is the better way?
Many years back as an experiment, I banned all of my advisors and all service staff including technicians from using the phrase MPI. It was banned in our word tracks and removed from all documents where it was once included. After 2 months, we saw a double-digit increase in upsell dollars per RO coming from our “new” inspection approach. Did my advisors all suddenly become better salespeople? Not a chance.

What should we call it instead, and how should we present it to our customers…?
“Mr./Mrs. Customer, as part of every service that we perform at ABC Motors, we also perform a complimentary Vehicle Health Check, which is our way of making sure that your vehicle is safe and in good working order”. “We will be sure to make you aware of anything that may need attention.”

Assuming that “MPI” does have a negative connotation for many customers, does the term “Vehicle Health Check” have a more positive, or at least neutral connotation?

Many including myself would say yes, as we have seen dramatic improvements from this simple change.

Some clients of mine loved this concept so much that they came up with other creative phrases like, “Peace of mind inspection” …. I Love this, who does not want peace of mind?! “Wellness checkup” … another good one!

Will your customers respond more positively to making this change?
We all know that there are no silver bullets, so I would challenge you to give this a try, as I have not ever seen this not work in terms of improving upsell dollars. It’s not an overnight thing and there is a learning curve required along with your determination to make it stick of course.

Downsides?
Some of you may be concerned about how this change may negatively impact the response to the survey question regarding the “MPI” during your customers’ visits, and I had the same concern.

There are some great best practices here, so please reach out to me directly if you have this concern and I will be happy to share them.

Mark Lefkus, Chief Growth Officer
Fixed Performance Inc.
Cell: (680) 800-7884
mark@fixedperformance.com