7 EASY TIPS to Improve Your Car Shop Now

There is a lot of advice going around online on how car shop owners can improve their customer’s experience. But a lot of them require a lot of time, effort, and investment to implement.

That’s why on this list, we focus on the simplest and cheapest things you can do.

During these uncertain times, a lot of businesses are struggling to cope with new realities. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people use and interact with their vehicles. 

It will take time before everyone really figures out how the pandemic will affect businesses like auto repair shops and garages but many are highly optimistic.

With an already visible decline in car purchases, people are keeping their cars for longer thus requiring more maintenance.

But whatever the case may be, improving your car repair shop should be a year-long effort. And here, we help you with the simplest things you can do for your shop.

1. Be Upfront About Your Policy on Honesty!

Customers usually have a burning question in their head but they are too embarrassed to ask: am I being overcharged?

It’s a negative customer perception that, unless every car shop in your country shapes up, will be a hard one for you to change on your own.

The next best thing you can do is be upfront about your car shop’s policy on honesty. 

You can do this by drafting a short statement that you can put on your wall, customer sign-up sheet, or even on your receipt. 

Guarantee the quality of your service but more importantly, promise that you will make sure they don’t have to pay for something more than necessary… unless they want to. 

It’s a simple acknowledgement that a stigma exists, and a strong message to your customers that their worries would not be a problem here.

Just be 100% ready to back to back-up your claims!

2. Guarantee Your Work!

Be upfront about offering guarantees and warranty periods for customers.

While this can be hard to put in writing on the walls just like in the previous tip, lead the conversation about guaranteeing the work when talking with a client. Don’t wait for them to ask for it.

This gives you an air of confidence about your workmanship and lets customers know you are willing to take the gamble of losing money on your own work.

But before you start sounding arrogant, make sure the customer also knows you are doing it out of care.

Offer it because you want to calm any worries the customer might have about the service they are availing from your shop.

After all, a well-managed auto shop has one goal: provide excellent, reliable, and efficient service to every customer. 

3. Improve Mechanic Performance

A car garage isn’t built for relaxing but it shouldn’t be unpleasant to stay in either.

Visit the car garage and check if the mechanics have a clean, cool, and comfortable workspace. Add fans if needed. Check that they have quick access to drinking water and provide snacks every once in a while to thank them for their hard work. Make it a habit to say thank you.

People who are appreciated on the job and feel taken care of are known for performing well, especially in challenging jobs like this one. Providing them with a comfortable workspace, an avenue for them to raise issues, and acknowledging hard work are all important building blocks of a great team.

Another way you can improve mechanic performance is by investing in trainings. They don’t have to be about their jobs. You may have them trained on customer care, work safety, or effective team communications. These can give them new skills that will ultimately benefit your business.

4. Offer Deal and Promos

and make sure they are useful to customers. The best way you can do this is to check for the most common services customers avail of together and build packages.

Another old trick is to offer new customers a non-expiring discount on their next visit. This should be enough to bring them back once they need additional work done. You can also put non-obtrusive stickers on the dashboard that will help remind drivers when their next maintenance schedule could be at your car shop.

Another great idea is a simple referral program. For example, if someone brings a buddy for an oil change, they both get 50% off labor costs. 

5. Provide Good Loyalty Rewards

Give customers a highly competitive reward system for being repeat customers of your shop. For example, a customer can get huge discounts on their fourth or fifth oil change or they can even be offered free services like tire rotation. 

These show you appreciate loyalty with useful offers. 

6. Start a Blog, a Social Media Page or a Newsletter

People appreciate sound car advice from experts. And as a car repair shop, that’s exactly what you are.

It’s easier now more than ever to build a Facebook page and manage it on your own. On there, you can post short advice for customers (you can do it once day), let customers follow you for shop updates, announce special offers, and you can even ask for reviews from your customers.

The best thing about having a Facebook page is that it’s very friendly with Google. Fill it with your exact details (address, phone numbers, etc) and you will be making your car shop faster to find.

Are online reviews important?

Absolutely. In one survey, 90% of consumers checked businesses online for reviews. This proof in the quality of service can be so convincing that it can help customers choose your shop over their other options.  The more reviews you have, the more likely you will end up as a top result on Google search.

With a younger crowd expected to become the biggest customer base for car maintenance, some online presence is a must.

Newsletters can be a bit more challenging. You can start building it by collecting the e-mail addresses of your customers. Remember that e-mail gives you a more direct access to your customers so use it sparingly and wisely.

Newsletters that are sent once or twice a month are common. Despite the widespread use of social media, e-mail is still the best way to announce new products or deals.

7. Be Part of Your Community 

A thing about car shops is that they often become landmarks in the community. Car shop owners should use this special advantage. 

Let your car shop join events in your community. If you have the budget, you can even sponsor some community programs like sports teams or events. 

You can also build relationships with community leaders, hold small events at your shop (like short seminars on DIY car care) and other stuff.

It also builds a network that can be HUUUUGE!

Neighbors can refer their siblings, cousins, uncles and other relatives to your shop. You’ll be the first on everyone’s list if any opportunity arrives. It’s just great practice for any local business to build a relationship with their community. 

Bonus: Get smart with AI-powered inventory!

One of the best things about AI Parts is its ability to lead you to the right replacement parts for your vehicle.

A major pain point in this industry is the waiting time customers experience when a car part isn’t readily available or if they experience compatibility issues after they drive out of your shop.

The AI Parts’ Techpro dashboard does all the work for you. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, it consolidates the experience of other car shops, expert mechanics, and other data points to help you choose the most reliable and the greatest value spare parts brand and supplier on one simple and intuitive platform!

These are some very simple ideas to get you started on improving your car shop and many of them can be done quickly.

For example, setting up a Facebook page will barely take an hour and posting on it daily shouldn’t take 20 minutes of your day. Printing out an honesty statement shouldn’t be too hard either and making your garage more comfortable can be as simple as installing new fans or a water cooler. 

As long as there are cars on the road, auto repair shops/car service shops will never run out of new customers to serve. To improve your business, the experience of your customers, and your shop’s performance, take a long hard look at this list, get excited, and get to work!

Cutting Down Pain Points – How AI Parts Can Help Improve the Customer Experience at Your Auto Repair Shop

A survey by McKinsey showed that more customers value their car aftersales experience more than their experience in buying a car. 

This means they pay more attention to what it is really like after they’ve bought their car. 

This includes dealing with aftersales support and the repair and maintenance experience from car repair shops.

On this post, we look into how the Tecphro dashboard from AI Parts can improve customer experience and relationships in the auto repair industry. 

In this industry, trust is important, and AI Parts’ groundbreaking technology can help car shop owners earn more of that.

Built-in Disadvantage

In terms of customer experience, the auto repair industry is at a disadvantage. 

From the get-go, it is already associated with a negative experience. 

It has become such a universal fact that terms like “auto anxiety” or “car repair anxiety” are regular topics in car forums and everyone knows exactly what these phrases mean. 

For emergency repairs, there is a fear of just how much the bill will be at the end.

Customers feel they are held hostage by two options: pay-up or ruin your car. 

They also feel like they have to pay more after buying a car just to use it.

There is also a huge distrust between drivers and car mechanics. This isn’t even because of a bad experience. It’s just because there’s a huge opportunity for misunderstanding.

Customers typically don’t have sufficient knowledge on how a car works yet they’re expected to trust someone that can potentially make more money than necessary.

A Shift in Customers Create Opportunity

Auto shop owners however have the opportunity to reinvent the customer experience. 

This comes from the changing demographic of who is coming in to have their car checked or repaired. 

As the millennial generation grows up, they are starting to occupy a bigger part of the market.

In a study by MIT, despite the popularization of alternative transport modes, it was discovered that millennials actually have greater car use than previous generations. 

This means as the transition happens, car shop owners have a brand new set of customer behaviors they can tap into for better results.

This is were the AI Parts’ dashboard Techpro comes in. Aside from improving the overall inventory and parts ordering system of any car shop, the AI Parts ecosystem is also a great example of upgrading services in a way the end customers will feel.

1. Fewer Errors

Techpro is a machine-learning platform. What this means is that the information it provides is not static. It is designed to be smarter and better with further use. 

At any given time, the feedback it provides will be as accurate as possible based on the available data. This protects your car shop from errors. 

The preventive maintenance solutions also give mechanics an idea of where to look first. The preventive maintenance model could point at which parts are nearest the end of their service life.

This hastens the search for possible causes of car issues and provides another layer of direction for the mechanic. 

2. Minimize Surprise Big Spends

One of the biggest features of AI Parts software is its preventive maintenance tool. 

Using AI, the software uses advanced modeling and a lot of data to predict the service lifespan of car parts. 

Drivers will have access to the sort of technology that can closely manage and customize car maintenance programs. They will know exactly when they should have the car serviced.

This helps drivers understand the importance of preventive maintenance and it helps shield them from big, preventable events that will otherwise happen without predictive maintenance. 

3. Provide Data-Based Maintenance Programs

As with the previous item, car shop managers and mechanics can use the same preventive maintenance tool to help provide actionable and data-driven advice to customers. 

Growing up with nearly unlimited access to information, millennial customers take data seriously. Forbes calls millennials the “most data-driven generation”. 

With Techpro, auto shops can start providing data and present graphs. This will help them explain maintenance needs in a more specific way. 

Modeling systems by AI Parts takes some of the mystery out and helps owners understand the importance of maintenance activities for the reliability and service life of their vehicles. 

4. A Service Relationship Strengthened by Data

With the entire AI Parts ecosystem, it’s easier for car shops to build a relationship with their clients. 

Instead of one-off visits, the platform can be used to work out a more proactive maintenance schedule with customers. 

The preventive maintenance tool makes scheduling more personalized for each customer instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all method.

Instead of arbitrary dates, mechanics and car owners can use our tools to create responsive maintenance schedules.  

This helps car shops improve their relationship with customers and increase loyalty in the very competitive aftermarket car sales service.  

5. Predict Service Needs of Customers

Service needs prediction also works through preventive maintenance tools. 

If linked with the Techpro system, it will be easy for car shop owners to gauge the changing demands of customers. 

For example, it will be easy to spot a potential rise in demand for batteries, replacement headlights, or brake pads on a week-by-week basis.

This helps auto shops prepare in terms of manpower skills, tools, and inventory to ensure it is able to service all customers. This cuts wait times and improve the overall experience of customers. 

This also minimizes lost business due to unavailable parts. 

6. Smarter Inventories Means Less Waiting Times for Clients, a Faster Moving Inventory

Techpro provides auto repair shops with powerful software that can model and predict demand for car parts. With it, shops will be able to stock up on the most in-demand car parts

This also shrinks the chance of investing in inventory that might not be desirable after all. 

The platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to merge expert mechanic opinion, experience, and other data to assess the reliability and compatibility of every spare part. 

With Techpro, auto repair shops will avoid purchasing incompatible or low-quality parts. The platform aggregates the experience of other auto repair shops. Suppliers with fast delivery times, high-quality parts, and good customer service are easily identifiable on the Techpro dashboard.

These issues, common for many car shops, will extend waiting times for customers and will have negative consequences on customer retention.

These are just some examples of how the AI Parts product ecosystem can help the auto repair shops. 

For the past few years, the proliferation of AI and machine learning technologies in the automotive industry has multiplied. Yet, car maintenance and auto repair services remain untouched by the technology despite the unique opportunities they present for predictive maintenance and inventory management solutions. 

With widespread use, the platform can also have the potential to impact the manufacturing sector providing it with on-the-ground insight on consumer demand. All of this contributes to an aftermarket experience for customers that is far beyond what is available today.