The pandemic disproportionately impacted small businesses – and automotive repair shops were no exception. While many auto repair and service centers were able to remain open as essential services, the past year wasn’t exactly “business as usual.” From disruptions to the supply chain, to eliminated commutes and reduced travel – normal operations had to adapt to shelter-in-place orders to ensure public safety.
Now, as vaccinations are disseminated and the weather warms up, experts believe the economy may be on the cusp of a major boom. Consumers are itching to resume some sense of normalcy, including hitting the open road. Just like millions of consumers’ postponed doctor’s visits and elective surgeries, many people likely delayed automotive care. Car problems are easier to ignore if you aren’t driving everyday to work or school.
As consumers venture out of the house and prepare for the summer season, they should come in for a complete tune-up, tire rotation or oil change – particularly if they consider how the pandemic may have impacted their car. Over the past year, long commutes or cross-state road trips were replaced with quick drives to the grocery store or drive-thru. Many consumers may not realize that these shorter drives still result in wear and tear on the vehicle. As auto experts know, short trips may not bring the engine up to operating temperature, which is required to rid the oil of moisture that accumulates during normal use. The engine coolant also doesn’t circulate to deliver its anti-corrosion additives. Longer drives make sure that gears and bearings maintain a coating of lubricant – and if people haven’t been driving, they may need an auto repair shop more than ever.
So, how can auto repair shops, auto/tire service centers, mechanic shops, car dealerships, and body shops all make the most of this upcoming consumer boom? Believe it or not, much of a shop’s success over the next year will come down to scheduling. With the right scheduling system, auto repair shops can increase their number of bookings, save time and improve their ROI.
Auto Repair Shop Software Makes Scheduling a Competitive Advantage
Can auto repair shop software really make that big of a difference? In short, yes. Service technicians are always focused on making sure their customers’ vehicles are running smoothly – and they must apply the same care to their own business behind the scenes (or under the hood). By improving the essential (and admittedly tedious) aspects of the business, like customer scheduling and appointment management, auto repair shops can free up more time to focus on the business.
Auto repair shop software is made to handle appointment booking efficiently, with minimal maintenance from owners or employees. From independent shops to national chains, automotive service and tire and lube centers rely on AppointmentPlus to schedule a variety of services, including:
- Oil changes
- Transmission inspections and repairs
- Extended mileage checkups
- Heating and air conditioning maintenance
- Brake inspections and installations
- Tire rotations
- Vehicle detailing
For shops considering online scheduling software, there are three main benefits that will change your shops and increase your profits:
Let Customers Schedule Anytime, Anywhere
Online auto repair shop software means that customers don’t need to wait for scheduled business hours to sign up to come in. They don’t have to call and wait while the line (or your team) is busy. With the ability to schedule services anytime, anywhere, customers will feel catered to, and may be more likely to see your business as service-focused and book an appointment. Convenience and online access – especially as our world becomes more virtual – are keys to future growth for your business. The AppointmentPlus system can be configured for your setup with multiple appointments during the same timeframe, so shops can keep multiple bays running all day long.
Keep Your Techs Happy
AppointmentPlus offers a flexible scheduling calendar. If technicians need to block out time or set a different schedule each week, the software can accommodate it. Employees can access the auto repair shop software themselves, with staff member profiles so they can view and print their own schedules. Shop owners can choose employees’ individual access levels, so business data and privacy are protected. Best of all, because AppointmentPlus automated the scheduling process, staff are freed up for more important tasks – such as their core responsibilities like investing more time in customer service.
Every no-show is lost money in the world of auto repairs. That time could have been spent servicing a paying customer. With AppointmentPlus, shops can send automated, customized reminders to customers via email or text message when their appointments are approaching. With these gentle reminders, customers won’t forget about their upcoming brake inspection. By keeping customers in the loop, shops can improve their reputation as a modern, digitally savvy business. Service shops that implement online scheduling software often report 50% fewer no-shows.
With each of these benefits, auto repair shops can ensure that they make the most of their time, resources and employees – all of which adds up to more profits for the shop. AppointmentPlus also offers sales tracking and robust reports, which helps owners keep an eye on the bottom line.
Quick case study: The Bridgestone Retail Operations group operates more than 2,250 Firestone Complete Auto Care Centers throughout the U.S. The Firestone centers were working on a first come-first service basis, which meant many customers had to wait for service. With this ongoing challenge, many customers were consistently requesting the ability to book online. Hearing their customers, Bridgestone/Firestone used AppointmentPlus API to create a branded booking experience. Online scheduling has significantly increased the business at the Centers, with well over 1 million appointments being booked each month.
Even small service centers, mechanic shops or dealerships can achieve similar transformations with their business. You know how important it is to have all the right parts. If customers need a windshield repaired, they’re covered. If someone is looking for a new set of tires, service technicians have the expert recommendation to keep their family safe on the road. It’s time to apply the same considerations to your own business. Investing in auto repair shop software improves profits and ROI over time – so shops should take advantage as they recover from a difficult year and seek to thrive in this post-pandemic economy.
To learn how AppointmentPlus scheduling software can improve efficiency and profits for your tire and lube or auto repair business, visit this page.