22 November, 2019
With 75% of aftermarket auto repair performed by independent auto repair shops and an average vehicle ownership length that has increased 60% in the last ten years, repair shops across the United States should all be doing big business. Unfortunately, this isn’t the complete picture.
Out of all the tips and recommendations discussed at length by authors covering the automotive service space, the one thing they can agree on is that all successful repair shops need their bays packed to the brim with eager paying customers. No one disputes that a full work calendar is necessary for shop profitability, but if a shop doesn’t know what it’s capable of, they will either under book or over book; ending up with angry techs, angry customers, or both. The real similarity between top shops is their carefully honed and optimized workflows.
For most, this optimization is based on the amount of work they and their techs can perform in a single day. By understanding their individual capabilities, service centers can better plan appointments and services while making the most of their, and their Technicians, time. Another important point that sets profitable shops apart from the rest is their superior customer experience, and it all begins at the front counter. Indeed, according to Consumer Reports, customers who go to independent mechanics have a more satisfying experience.
It’s common sense that it is significantly easier for the front counter to charm customers when they’re not overbooked and overworked. To ensure no employee is stretched beyond his or her means, and services are scheduled within the capacity of your shop, an optimized workflow is a must. As part of a streamlined shop, seamless communication is also critical for smooth running; it’s essential that the front counter and service advisors are in lock-step with the technicians in the bay. One way of ensuring flawless performance in your service center is to leverage shop management apps that communicate in real time.
But it doesn’t stop there; optimization also extends to a shop’s marketing efforts. Blindly promoting generalized service deals to each and every customer was a common practice in the past. Armed with today’s modern engagement tools, forward-thinking shops can personalize incentives to match the needs of specific customers’ sans the legwork of yore. When you get down to brass tacks, it’s these billed hours that pay the bills. Another way of keeping appointment schedules full and customers coming back is to partner with them on their vehicle journey. They may be the captains of their respective ships, but you’re the one who keeps it running smoothly while watching out for hidden icebergs, in the form of unexpected repairs or deferred maintenance, along the way. By partnering with customers and optimizing shop workflows to deliver a streamlined experience for customers and employees alike, you’ll easily drive additional sales as well as customer good will. And, before you know it, your shop will be the trusted neighborhood repair spot.