A person with a clipboard and mechanic tools standing in front of a car in a garage. The article provides tips for managing an automotive mechanic workshop effectively.
28 Mar 2023

Five Tips on Successfully Managing an Auto Mechanic Workshop

Automotive mechanic workshops and shop owners can increase profitability using the latest technology to deliver a better customer service experience. Embracing a digital servicing workflow can transform business performance through improved technician productivity and help build and strengthen customer relationships, leading to higher loyalty and recurring revenue.

Once a consumer buys a new car, only about 25% return the vehicle to pay the dealer for service. Most owners seek third-party auto repair shops to maintain their vehicles. Retaining those customers is critical for shop owners to operate a successful auto repair business.

Today, it’s easy for vehicle owners to find alternatives to the original equipment manufacturer dealer for their servicing needs, but why do they feel the need to do so? In many cases, it’s not because of an expensive repair bill from the dealer. Instead, customers think manually calculated estimates and disconnected data cause a lack of transparency and communication from the auto industry. Auto repair shops that still rely on paper processes or outdated tools run the risk of driving away customers who want a better experience, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Running a Successful Auto Mechanic Workshop Begins with Customers

Because there’s so much competition for customers’ attention, small touchpoints can make all the difference. For example, most owners understand vehicle maintenance can be expensive. But their biggest problem is conflicting information on pricing and timetables for the job. Put yourself in your customer’s seat and see the process from their perspective. You would want to avoid facing a repair bill much higher than you thought, and you want to wait until told initially for the job to be completed.

The following tips help auto repair shop owners avoid the most common problems driving customers away.

Mechanic workshop owners can focus on optimising their processes to give customers a better experience.

Tip One: Use Automotive Management Software

Many auto mechanic workshops still need to rely on paper-based management systems or outdated applications that need to provide a comprehensive overview of workshop activity. Replacing these with intelligent planning systems enables managers and technicians to automate time-consuming administrative tasks, which gives them more time to focus on delivering a great customer experience. The auto repair software can also perform complex calculations to ensure accurate cost and time estimates. It can be sent directly from the software to customers via their preferred communication method for maximum ease and convenience.

With auto repair software, one luxury auto repair shop owner increased efficiency by 100% and reduced the workload for reception, mechanics, and management by 25%.

Ready to learn more about automating auto repair industry workflows with intelligent software on rugged tablet devices? Download the whitepaper Intelligent Planning: The Magic Sauce for Building Customer Loyalty in the Automotive After Sales Service Market in the link below:

Tip two: Use Handheld Devices for Faster Workflows

Rugged mobile devices can speed up workflows in mechanic workshops by putting information at the fingertips of both technicians and managers. Technicians can manage their time clock for jobs, update status and information, and save precious minutes by looking at manuals and videos on their devices. Management software provides a holistic view of the productivity and profitability required for a successful shop.

One shop saves 12 hours a month for each technician using a mobile time clock system instead of paper. Managers and service advisors can have the up-to-the-minute status of techs and service bays to plan resources and schedule workflows. Technicians can take advantage of customer data and vehicle information at their fingertips. Also, employees will always appreciate a work environment that allows them to bypass time-consuming paperwork.

Rugged devices can help give information to auto technicians and managers to save time and effort.

Tip Three: Personalise Communications

Use the vehicle and customer information from your shop management software and other sources to talk to your customers individually. Equip service advisors to communicate through customers’ preferred methods such as email, SMS text, or other channels according to their preferences. Use their name and vehicle information. To make their life easier, let customers know if they should schedule appointments based on mileage or the time since their last visit to the mechanic workshop. With many people driving fewer miles, they may only notice the need to keep up with regular maintenance if reminded. Automating these tasks ensures fewer missed appointments and helps managers and techs stay productive.

Tip Four: Offer Incentives and Rewards

Tap into consumers’ desire to save money with standard features such as discounts, vouchers, and loyalty schemes. Offer deals on multiple services or pre-scheduled oil changes over some time. Loyalty schemes like rewards cards or points can help keep customers coming back. Allow customers to combine rewards over multiple cars or family members. Discounts and incentives can attract new customers and turn them into loyal members of your rewards scheme. An incentive programme’s slight revenue loss can be more than recouped through increased customer lifetime value for more significant gross profit. Those loyal customers are likelier to give your auto repair business excellent online reviews and recommend you to friends and family.

Tip Five: Communicate Expectations

The top reason car buyers don’t return their vehicle to the selling dealer for servicing is lack of communication. Customers feel like they need to get a solid estimate of the cost or the timetable for service. There is a limit to how long customers are willing to wait, and just a few minutes long can turn a good experience into a frustrating one.

Your workshop team can confidently deliver repair estimates with intelligent automation software and rugged devices. Customers will appreciate accurate, timely communications that give them a sense of control over the situation.

Key Takeaways

The relationship between auto repair shops and the vehicle owner is often transactional. People want to bring their car in for an oil change or to find out why the check engine light is on and get it fixed. Owners who run successful auto repair businesses know they must go beyond the basics to operate more efficiently and effectively for their customers, servicing more vehicles without adding resources. There are many places to get an oil change and tyres rotated. Your automotive repair shop must have something extra to stand out. A sound marketing strategy is a positive customer experience aided by shop management software.

With intelligent planning software for auto repair shops, your company can increase productivity and build deeper customer relationships, helping secure recurring revenues for your business during the months and years ahead.

Ready to learn more about using auto repair software to help manage daily operations in your shop? Download our whitepaper now. 

Russell Younghusband has been involved in supporting industry with mobile IT projects for over two decades. For the last 10 years, he has specialized in automotive business change and efficiency programs to support the OEMs and their franchised networks with customer retention and aftersales strategies.

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