April 8, 2020

Minimize the Impact of Coronavirus on Your Repair Shop

Just a few short weeks ago the idea that our once gridlocked highways and bustling businesses would be forced to shut while three-quarters of us remain locked in our homes would have been unthinkable. The sheer scope of the shutdown is something to behold, but as essential businesses and a critical component of our eventual recovery, the automotive service industry soldiers on. Though lacking the visibility of the heroic doctors, nurses, and grocers on the front lines, the businesses of the aftermarket are nonetheless helping to keep our country running and vital supply chains moving. Automotive service centers, especially, directly support the first responders, medical professionals, and food distributors working tirelessly to provide us with essential items during this difficult time. While we rely on them, they rely on their vehicles to get them to the frontlines.

Many repair shop owners distinctly recall the 2008 recession and accompanying uncertainty. Those who weathered that storm know that the best way forward is to stay the course, tighten processes, and reassure customers and employees alike that they are here to stay. Today, with shelter-in-place orders and social distancing recommendations in place, businesses across the country have turned to innovative connectivity solutions to virtually educate, meet, and carry on during what’s turned out to be a rocky start to 2020. Repair shops must do the same by leveraging social media and digital channels to reassure customers that they are open for business and ready to serve. Furthermore, shop owners should broadcast the proactive steps they’re taking to ensure the safety of their clients. Here are some suggestions:

  • Close waiting areas and offer pick-up/drop-off service in its stead
  • Use a drop box located on the exterior of the shop for a completely touchless experience
  • Provide covers for seats, steering wheels, and floors of customer vehicles
  • Add and advertise a thorough vehicle disinfecting routine

No more than ever it’s critical that shops partner with customers and remain a steady arm in a stormy sea. Personal health is of the utmost importance, but vehicle health should not be ignored. With that said, does your business have systems in place promote customer loyalty and engagement? If not, it’s time to evaluate your options. Remember, it’s easier to keep customers than draw in new ones. There are several ways you can do this, but with most of us staying at home, digital is the go-to. Should you have a shop management system equipped with marketing tools, you can reassure current customers and draw in new ones with zero additional marketing spend. Should a shop want to take safety to the next level, they can deploy a mobile-native shop solution to further reduce in-person exchanges between employees and customers.

With customer touch points covered, shops must also ensure the safety and morale of their dedicated employees. Owners should take charge of the situation and mobilize their team by providing realistic daily goals and instituting cleanliness best practices to minimize potential exposure.

Coronavirus-Related Shop Best Practices:

  • Minimize physical exposure between employees and customers
  • Disinfect high-traffic counters every two hours
  • Institute a Paid Time Off policy for employees and encourage those exhibiting symptoms to stay home
  • Use mobile shop solutions like ShopLite to send estimates, receive approvals, and accept payments digitally
  • Encourage employees to replace disposable gloves when moving from one vehicle to another
  • Avoid touching face, hands, or eyes
  • Inform customers regarding the steps you are taking to ensure both their physical health and that of their vehicle

By deploying these best practices for customers and employees, shops can stand out from the crowd and deliver much needed relief to their communities.

As witnessed time and time again, the auto care industry is a tight knit community that comes together in times of need. As part of SHIFTMobility’s response to the economic toll this pandemic is having on service centers, we’re pleased to offer our complete Shop Management and Repair Package free to all new customers for 90 Days. With ShopLite, service centers can drive additional peace of mind by sending repair estimates, inspections, and correspondence directly to their customers’ smartphones. Go to https://bit.ly/3bsCntb to get started or learn more here. No credit card required. Promotion limited to new customers.

We wish you the best and are here to support your business through these difficult times.

Stay well and be safe,

SHIFTMobility Inc.