Diagnostics: Our approach

Julia is back, and wants to share the Nene Jag Specialists approach to diagnostics, and managing customer expectations

Published:  01 December, 2021

With nearly 30 years’ experience on Jaguar diagnostics we have developed a structured and methodical approach to diagnostic testing. We are committed to properly diagnosing and repairing our customers Jaguar in a timely and cost-effective way. We have also become rather adept at properly diagnosing and dealing with our customers. Again, it is all about the approach. It is always worth reviewing how to approach the diagnostics process.
The three questions we always get asked first of all are; What is wrong? How much will it cost? How long will it take?  Unfortunately, these are the answers that we are unable to give at the start. We will discuss with the approach that we would like to take with the particular problem, this will be based on the information the customer provides and also try to establish a budget with which they are comfortable with for the diagnostic assessment. A realistic time/budget is usually between one and two hours. Depending on the complexity of the problem, it may take considerably less time or we may need more time. After the initial agreed time we may have a solution, or if not, then our initial assessment will have helped us to formulate a clearer plan as to how to proceed. Unfortunately, a lot of problems are intermittent and sometimes the problem may not reveal itself during the course of our testing. For us to identify the cause of a problem the symptoms need to be present during testing. This may lead to multiple appointments or keeping a Jaguar in the workshop for an extended period of time. Jaguars have complex layers of technology and sometimes multiple layers of testing and/or repairs may be required to solve the issues.
Computer says no

We are frequently asked for fault code reads or to “just plug the computer in so I know what’s wrong” or “how much for a fault code read.” Sound familiar? Yes, we can retrieve fault codes for a standard charge but unless our customer can understand what the code means then it is of very little use. What someone may be asking for and what is actually required to get to the source of the problem can be very different. We will discuss the issues with them and between us we will work together to meet expectations.
Other comments which can be associated with fixes after diagnostics are “That didn’t take you long” or “is that all it was?” The journey to get to that particular repair is not always as obvious as first thought. Many thousands of pounds are invested in equipment to enable us to trace the fault and endless hours of research, studying and data collection have taken place for us to gain the experience to diagnose the problem correctly. Equipment that may be used during the diagnostic process are Jaguar SDD, Autologic, oscilloscope, smoke machine amongst others. We also invest heavily in training.
We begin a diagnostic assessment with a calm and methodical approach. We deal with a lot of cars that have had previous attempts at fixing problems and sometimes the symptoms may be dealt with by haphazard adjustments or having random parts fitted but as no logic or method has been applied then no one is any the wiser as to how the problem has been ‘cured’. This can often work out to be a more expensive way of attempting to sort a problem as parts may have been fitted that weren’t required, time is wasted and budgets spent! We frequently see Jaguars that have been to multiple garages which are perceived to be cheaper and have a lower labour rate but unfortunately the faults have not been rectified and so money is wasted. It will prove more cost efficient to bring a Jaguar to someone who has the knowledge and experience on these systems. We have an extremely high success rate for first time fixes. This is something we try to impress on our customers.

A comprehensive talk with the customer, the Jaguar owner experiencing the fault, is our first step. It is advantageous to both parties that we have as much information as possible. Even with all the diagnostic equipment that we have invested in, the expertise of our technician is paramount. Fault codes that may have been logged are not usually very specific but gives us a starting point with our assessment. Experience and knowledge are essential to know how best to progress with the assessment.
We will then plan how to proceed from this point and carry out testing methodically and logically. We will never replace any components unless we have a reason to do so and that we can prove it is faulty. Sometimes it will be necessary to repair/replace an item before we can continue testing effectively. Problems are sometimes revealed in layers.

We will always try to contact the customer before moving onto the next stage of testing/repair. There may come a stage when you have to decide if you want us to continue pursuing the problem as all the cost of the diagnostic testing and repairs are your responsibility. We always respect our customer’s wishes if you they not wish to continue, at which point our charges will terminate and then an invoice for charges to date will be payable.
It is important to be aware that sometimes the process can become quite costly as it requires a top level of skill and expertise and other valuable resources. Sometimes to access connectors/wiring/components for testing they may be in hard to reach places which require some stripping out. If we are allowed the time and the budget we will solve the issue.
None of this will be new to anyone reading this magazine, but I think it is always worthwhile thinking about how we deal with customers and communicating the process. In some ways it is about managing expectations, but through talking to the customer, the actual diagnostic work can be aided. This is why it is so important for those on the phone and those on the tools to work in harmony, whether there is a pouncing cat on the bonnet in question or not.

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