Auto repair shop owners are always looking for new ways to boost productivity as well as sales, profits, and customer satisfaction. New-generation auto shop software can make all employees more productive when properly integrated into the overall operational functions of an auto repair shop.
New-generation auto shop management software systems are designed around improving overall shop operations. Software development companies have recognized the mistake of focusing solely on the front end functions of service writing, estimating and service sales. Things like creating repair orders, estimating jobs, ordering parts, and tracking customer and vehicle data have accounted for huge improvements with the front end efficiency of shops. However, because the mechanical functions of the businesses have not been fully integrated with the shop software, technicians have not benefited.
That oversight is now in the rearview mirror and auto repair shops are integrating their traditional software systems with new systems that effectively drive every step of the sales, diagnosis, technical service and mechanical repair processes as well as post-repair customer retention systems.
The key challenge is to ensure that each employee is fully trained and engaged in the computerization process. They need to understand that the more efficiently the shop operates the more productive and valuable they will be, and the natural consequence of that is greater profits and larger paychecks for everyone on the team.
The shop’s training must include the key point of our previous blog post, “The One Secret All Great Auto Repair Mechanics Know”. Simply put, all employees must know and embrace the secret – cars don’t pay them… people do. Without people, all you have is some tools, equipment, and a building. But getting the team on board with computerization requires a different kind of training that demonstrates how the whole process is the sum of the individual contributions of all team members. The key is integrated teamwork aimed at providing a great experience for the customers.
Once they’re committed to improving their performance in order to provide a better service to the customer and to their fellow employees, demonstrate how their particular tasks fit in the service and repair chain. Show them how their individual performance positively impacts overall performance of the team. Finally explain how it all fits into and is significantly improved by effective shop software integration.
Let’s look at just a few steps in the service and repair process and how the new-generation software features affect virtually all employees at various stages of the process.
Vehicle and Customer Check In Enhanced by VIN Decoding
- Vehicle and Customer Check In Enhanced by VIN Decoding
- Accurate vehicle information is enhanced by the software’s capability to decode license plates and return the Vin number, along with Transmission data. Decoding VINs eliminates mistakes related to misreading or messy handwriting and saves precious time.
- Accurate customer information quickly populates the repair order for previous customers. This saves time and shows how professional your shop is.
- Repair Orders Completed on Mobile Devices
- Verify information for previous customers or enter information on the device for new customers while at their car.
- For existing customers, pending and regularly scheduled services or previously recommended services that haven’t been performed will automatically appear.
- Perform walk around visual inspection of the vehicle and take pictures of any preexisting conditions.
- Record the customer’s comments and service requests.
- Discuss any of the pending services at this time and ask for authorizations.
- Diagnostic Multi-Point Inspections on Mobile Devices
- Technicians are empowered by having accurate vehicle information in the palm of their hand.
- They clearly understand why the vehicle is in the shop and what diagnostic routines they’re to perform.
- They’ll also be able to access any TSBs and recall notices on the subject vehicle.
- Time constraints are clearly posted so they understand which vehicles are more urgent.
- They save time by entering their diagnostic findings and taking pictures of the damage rather than trying to write detailed descriptions of what is needed and why.
- By sending their inspection reports and service recommendations directly from their workstation, they save time and energy previously consumed by walking to and from the service writer’s desk.
- Technicians feel empowered because they can see how they’re a key component of the estimating process.
- Mobility Enhances Service Sales
- By receiving quick and accurate diagnostic reports and service recommendations, service writers can quickly prepare estimates.
- Profitability, Book Time, Labor and Parts availability can be verified directly from the repair order before contacting the customer with the price estimate and completion time.
- Wireless auto shop software with built-in text and email functionality speeds up the sales process. The time wasted leaving voicemail messages is a thing of the past.
- Customers are more likely to approve services because they get a text or email with a detailed estimate including pictures of the damages. This is more credible than just hearing a verbal explanation.
- Parts for the job can be ordered directly from the repair order as soon as the job is approved by the customer.
- Technicians receive immediate notice to go ahead with the job and they get the parts they need quickly and accurately.
- When the sale happens quicker, the entire shop is more productive. Technicians are happiest when they’re busy and they hate waiting.
- Job Completion Process
- Mobile capability makes it a snap to keep customers informed about job progress and completion.
- When the job is completed, your system will print out a detailed, accurate repair order and warranty that also includes notes regarding future service recommendations.
- The customer can even pay with a credit card or PayPal directly from the repair order with total privacy and security.
- Many systems integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks, as well.
- After the Customer Leaves the Building
- Just because the job is completed and the customer has left the building, it doesn’t mean your new-generation software is finished.
- Your software is integrated with CRM and Maintenance Reminder Systems to keep your shop top of mind with your most valuable assets – your customers.
- Keeping Track of Time
- The new-generation systems have integrated time clocks.
- These time clocks are different from the traditional time clocks that only keep track of how long the employee is at work.
- These time clocks track, record and generate reports that show:
- How long the employee was at work – when he or she arrived, went to lunch, went on break, and went home
- How long the employee was working on each job, The book time for the job
- How long the employee was waiting for parts, next job assignment, or something else.
- How much time the employee was engaged in doing some other non-revenue activity like cleaning up, stocking inventory, or something else.
- When quality employees know they’re being measured fairly and accurately, they will seek to improve their individual performance.
- When they learn to function as a team, they will also seek to improve one another’s performance.
Seamless integration of all operational functions of an auto repair shop tremendously enhances the overall performance of the shop. Auto shop software can make all employees more productive when properly integrated into the overall operational functions of the repair shop.
Auto Shop Software from Profitboost is the industry leader in new-generation auto shop software. It boosts productivity as well as sales, profits, and customer satisfaction with built in teambuilding features to help shops develop a customer-centric, team oriented work environment. With their own customer-centric service culture, the Profitboost team is committed to helping our auto repair shop clients achieve their goals.