Shop Technology Timeline

Where is your shop on the timeline?

By Chris Cloutier (Co-owner of Golden Rule Auto Care)

Why do we want our automotive repair shops to be far along the technology timeline?

As automotive repair shop owners, we want to increase productivity and improve efficiency, which lead to a strong bottom line. We also enjoy enhancing our customer experience, and now that we all offer a free bottle of water, we need to make a bigger impact. We need technology to help build our competitive advantage to separate us from the rest of the pack.

Where is your automotive repair shop on the timeline?

Stage 1

The Majority

Technological advances push us forward whether we’re ready or not. 90%+ of our population now carries a smartphone, whereas 10 years ago, it was less than 10%. The majority are the shops that react to technology as it comes because they have little choice.

Stage 2

The Minority

Shops in Stage 2 know they need to embrace technology. They leverage it in their day-to-day operations. They are willing to adopt technology on the market that works and even attempt some technology that doesn’t.

Stage 3

The Advanced

These shops are the 1%. They are early adopters of new technology as soon as it hits the streets. They understand that new solutions will not be perfect, but the advantage they get from using them creates a gap that others can’t touch.

Stage 1 – The Majority

Technological advances push us forward whether we’re ready or not. 90%+ of our population now carries a smartphone, whereas 10 years ago, it was less than 10%. The majority are the shops that react to technology as it comes because they have little choice.

Stage 1.1

Digital Customer Feedback – It happens whether you want it to or not

Why is this important?

  1. Affects your shop’s reputation
  2. Can increase sales:

At Golden Rule Auto Care, social reviews are the top referral at 46%

Who provides solutions?

Do it yourself. Focus on

freereviewmonitoring.com – Free site to help monitor customer feedback

Or hire outside firm.

Stage 1.2

Web Presence – Everyone lives online

Why is this important?

  1. Builds customer awareness
  2. Generate sales

Who provides solutions?

Do it yourself –

Hire the Pros –

DO THIS NOW!
Facebook – Create a Facebook page, forget the other social media platforms, and post personalized content.

Stage 1.3

Online Resources – For your technicians

Why is this important?

  1. Improves tech efficiency
  2. Improves overall service

Stage 1.4

Online Ordering – For your parts

Why is this important?

Improves options and speed

Who provides solutions?

  • Shop Management System (Epicor)
  • Epicor
  • Parts vendor website

Stage 2 – The Minority

Shops in Stage 2 know they need to embrace technology. They leverage it in their day-to-day operations. They are willing to adopt technology on the market that works and even attempt some technology that doesn’t.

TRANSITIONAL STEP – STAGE – 1 OR 2

Online Scheduling – for your customers

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Allows you to organize your day better

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 2.1

Status Updates – Real-Time Customer Communication

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Reduces unnecessary phone time
  3. Quicker customer response

Who provides solutions?

  • Google Voice (Free)
  • Shop cell phone
  • Shop management system
  • autotext.me

STAGE 2.2

Key Performance Indicator Online Toolkit

Why is this important?

  1. Know the health of your business
  2. Manage the health of your business

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 2.3

Automated Workflow – Stop losing vehicles

Why is this important?

  1. Increase productivity
  2. Stop losing cars in process

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 2.4

Automated Followup

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Adds additional revenue

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 2.5

Digital Vehicle Inspection

Why is this important?

  1. Improves shop communication
  2. Improves customer communication
  3. Improves shop efficiency

Stage  3 – The Advanced

These shops are the 1%. They are early adopters of new technology as soon as it hits the streets. They understand that new solutions will not be perfect, but the advantage they get from using them creates a gap that others can’t touch.

TRANSITIONAL STEP – STAGE – 2 OR 3

Digital Work Order

Why is this important?

  1. Improves shop communication
  2. Improves shop efficiency

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.1

Automated Customer Rewards

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Improves customer relationship

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.2

Digital Vehicle Quality Control

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Improves customer retention

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.3

Cloud Based SMS

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Improves productivity
  3. Improves mobility
  4. Improves data storage

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.4

Virtual Training – for Shop Personnel

Why is this important?

  1. Improves employees
  2. Improves business

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.5

Telematics / Connected Car

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience
  2. Improves customer retention

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.6

Online Customer Invoices

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience

Who provides solutions?

STAGE 3.7

Online Customer Receipts

Why is this important?

  1. Improves customer experience

Who provides solutions?

  • Unknown at this time

Increase your productivity and profits in your operation!

Adopt technology sooner rather than later. Don’t be compelled to adopt because your competitors force you to. Create a gap for other businesses to follow.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Change is good.

Read more about the author Chris Cloutier

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