Written by: Bolt On Media Team
This year has turned the way we have to conduct business on its head. The reality is our day to day operations are no longer what they once were. There are new guidelines and procedures and the repair business as a whole has no choice but to adapt and move forward. The process has been frustrating and taxing, especially with no foreseeable end to our current situation in sight.
However, if there's any silver lining to the impact felt by our auto shops, it's that we have more options than ever before when it comes to remaining socially distant. Auto repair software can help significantly to maintain a sense of normalcy for both your employees and customers. A digital shop has a greater ability to limit contact without losing out on customer service quality and efficient car repair.
It's your number one priority as a shop owner right now to protect those that keep your shop up and running. Normal concerns of car counts, labor rates, average repair orders and more don't seem as important as protecting the human elements of your business at this time. But when your team is in constant contact with customers and each other day in and day out, it's natural to have growing concerns about your ability to ensure that protection.
It may seem as if there's no alternative to in-person contact for our industry, but that simply isn't the truth. The right technology can remove a multitude of touch points between individuals. By implementing digital solutions in your operations, you can better remove your staff from close contact with the public and coworkers in a variety of ways.
The morning rush can be hectic enough during normal times. Adding social distancing measures on top of that can feel even more chaotic. During the initial lockdowns, depending on your location, there was a reduced number of morning drop offs. But as restrictions have lifted and more people have returned to some semblance of normal life, that rush has picked back up. More customers are generally a great thing, but when it comes to maintaining current guidelines, this can definitely complicate matters.
Through the use of kiosks, however, you can seek to not only ease the strain on your service advisors, but better safeguard their health. These touch screen kiosk stations are simple and user friendly for all vehicle owners. When the customer arrives to drop off their vehicle, they are able to check themselves in with limited interaction from the front desk.
The vehicle owner simply enters their phone number to begin the check-in process. From there they are able to confirm or update their personal information, which is reflected in your shop management system in real time. Customers are presented with past recommendations of repair services and are able to select them for their current visit. If a shop wishes, they can also add prompts for popular services. In addition, Welcome Station Kiosk will also make service suggestions depending on the season, weather, or location. Not only does the kiosk help perform check-in duties so your advisors can remain socially distant, the software acts as a virtual salesperson to upsell your customers.
Adding a kiosk to your shop offers benefits for the COVID-19 era as well as times where life is a bit more normal. It may seem as if this is a more impersonal method of check-in, but in reality your staff is able to provide the same level of service to the vehicle owners while keeping their distance. Customers may even prefer a digitized check-in process, especially during the morning rush. Wait times aren't ideal for vehicle owners who are trying to make a quick drop off on their way to work. The more streamlined your process is, the happier your customers will ultimately be.
As you seek to reduce touchpoints, transactions will likely be an area to consider. It is possible for shops to take credit card information over the phone, but that can be cumbersome and time consuming. While you are certainly able to do it this way, there are alternatives that are much easier and streamlined for your staff and customers' convenience.
In general, customers today prefer text and email when it comes to payment and receipts. At the point of sale, BOLT ON Pay allows you to safely and securely accept payments via text message. The Text-To-Pay feature enables service advisors to carry out transactions without human interaction in just a few simple clicks. When a work order is completed, invoices are then able to be sent by text message to the customer, where they are then prompted to submit payment for their auto repair bill.
Distant customer service doesn't have to mean poorer quality service for customers. Digital solutions allow you to be just as attentive and engaging as if you were face-to-face with your customers. Continuing to provide information and guidance as well as manage customers as you normally would is definitely more than possible through digital means.
You may be communicating primarily through the phone, but that doesn't mean customers can't receive the same level of personalization and attention that they would if they were standing in front of you. Just as you could recognize a face, Pro Call can recognize a number. As a customer calls in to your shop, you'll have access in real time to their top-level information in order to personalize your greetings. In addition, you'll have service history, vehicle recommendations and more so you can quickly answer any questions they may have.
Digital vehicle inspections are available for your shop whether your business operates with a shop management system or without one. With any job, creating a digital vehicle inspection is simple and straightforward and brings with it some game-changing benefits. Dreaded long approval times can be drastically shortened by texting pictures to the vehicle owner for approval, reducing the likelihood of interrupted workflow. In addition, you will find that increasing your average repair order has never been easier. With pictures, videos, and notes to educate and show to your customers, they will be more likely to agree to service they can see with their own eyes.
Education doesn't have to suffer due to distance. Through digital vehicle inspections, you won't have to skip a beat in terms of keeping your customers in the loop when it comes to their vehicles. They'll receive a comprehensive report that details the vehicle status and recommendations given by your shop, and it'll be delivered right to their phone via text message. For shops with compatible shop management systems, we recommend our Mobile Manager Pro product. However, if your shop does not currently have a compatible shop management system or no shop management system, our cloud based digital vehicle inspection product, Next Gear would be the perfect addition for your shop. You can take advantage of a 3-Day free trial for our NextGear software so you can start to see the difference in your shop.
You've heard it a million times, but COVID-19 has truly changed the way we need to conduct business for the time being. There is a new normal that we have to adhere to, but even a pandemic can't stop you from being a great auto repair shop boss and owner. Good shop owners worry about their operations, but great owners prioritize their employees and their safety.
Implementing auto repair software into your daily operations will provide your shop with benefits and advantages that not only protect your staff during these uncertain times, but also help you weather any hardships you may be experiencing currently. Eventually our current situation will pass and we will move forward. BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY's software not only helps bridge the gaps of the current unknown, but will also assist you in looking confidently to the future so you can meet your goals.
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