by: Mike Risich
What automotive service facility doesn’t want more customers?
It’s a no-brainer, right?
Even though increasing car counts is always a goal, achieving that-without adding staff or scaling back on existing customers’ services-is sometimes challenging, if not impossible.
Think about it. More customers oftentimes means an increase in data entry, more repair orders and vehicle maintenance estimates, all of which, at times, are not easy to read. To further complicate matters, not every customer agrees to the services recommended on work orders, no matter how much technicians and service advisors insist.
You may be holding the solution in the palm of your hand: Your mobile device.
In today’s automotive service facilities, mobile devices do everything except fix cars and carry out routine services like oil lube and filter changes.
And, best of all, mobile technology empowers service facilities to take full advantage of the solutions literally at their fingertips in less time and effort than the conventional method of typing in invoices after writing out multi-point inspections, jotting down VINs and calling customers to relay findings.
Whether your goal is to increase car counts and revenue, boost productivity, or communicate easier with customers, mobile automotive software solutions that integrate with an automotive service facility’s existing shop management system can do that and more.
Below are seven fool-proof tips for using vehicle maintenance software to improve overall automotive service facility operations.
- Meet customers at their vehicle and begin repair orders and estimates.
With wireless automotive software solutions, techs can meet customers at their vehicle and begin the multi-point digital inspection, work order and estimate process using a handheld device. Typing in a customer’s last name, license plate or digitally scanning a VIN populates remaining fields, saving time on writing out the information, making it more accurate and, best of all, automatically syncing with the shop management software.
- Scan VINs
Jotting down a vehicle identification number (VIN) is easy, right? Sure. Getting each and every letter and number correct – and making sure it’s legible – is something entirely different. Scanning a VIN eliminates the need to decipher messy handwriting, lessens the likelihood of mistakes and saves time.
- Review pending service recommendations.
Research has shown that nearly 75 percent of vehicles being serviced are having an oil change performed. Considering that, according to Automotive News, the average vehicle is 11 years old, additional services or maintenance are most likely needed. Shop management software alerts service advisors and techs to pending services upon a customer’s arrival. This technology maintains a vehicle service history and offers suggestions that either remain from a previous appointment, or are due now.
- Build orders and create digital inspections with the press of a button.
Wireless software solutions eliminate messy handwriting and speed up multi-point inspections and repair orders, allowing shops more time to service additional vehicles. Without hiring additional staff, or adjusting work schedules, efficiency, and in turn profits, can be dramatically increased by incorporating innovative automotive software solutions.
- Add photos to vehicle service recommendations.
What better way to prove that a customer needs new brakes than to show it? Techs do this every day by taking multiple photos of vehicle conditions, underlining the need for recommended services. Techs that take three or more photos with additional service recommendations have seen work orders increase from 30 to 60 percent on average.
- Text or email customers vehicle diagnoses with images.
Wireless automotive software with built-in text and email functionality enables techs to seamlessly send estimates, multi-point inspections and photos directly to customers. This speeds up customer approval times from the national average of one hour and 17 minutes to a mere 37 minutes.
- Use mobile technology that’s fully integrated with your shop management system.
Boosting productivity is possible with wireless automotive software that automatically integrates with data entered from handheld devices into the shop management system without the need for double entry.
For more information on how mobile automotive software solutions can improve shop operations, visit BoltOnTechnology.com or call 610-400-1019.
Mike Risich has been involved in software development since 1995. While teaching a Microsoft-based class in Bucks County, Pa., a student who owned an automotive service facility asked for help with the computer programs he used to organize sales. Risich realized a large gap between the technologies used in the automotive industry and those that were available in other industries.
The opportunity to develop time-saving software solutions already in use by doctors, dentists, convenience stores and airports became apparent. His introduction to the automotive service industry began in 2008 with the formation of BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY – a software solutions company based strictly in the automotive world.
His affiliations quickly grew to partnerships, including with Mitchell 1, a Snap-On Tools company, which has officially licensed three of BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY’s products. The company now serves thousands of auto repair shops across the U.S., Canada, South America and Guam.