2021 has been a “reactivation” year for several sectors. With the increase in COVD-19 vaccination and the reopening of various services (commercial flights, hotels, amusement parks, etc.) many companies have decided it is time to innovate and apply Artificial Intelligence to their processes. Here, we will take a look at some of the most interesting and impactful projects being applied to the auto and auto parts sector.
KSTRC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation), an Indian state-owned public road transport company, has decided to implement AI solutions to its bus fleet. Specifically, it has started to implement a Collegian Warning System (CWS) and a Driver Drowsiness System (DDS) to their bus fleet to increase safety. The CWS will prevent collisions by warning the driver in case of obstacles, pedestrians, and other cars. On the other hand, the DDS will prevent the driver from falling asleep, and alert the control room of driver drowsiness.
Google and Siemens have announced that they will cooperate to enable the scaled deployment of AI-based solutions for industrial manufacturing. Siemens plans to integrate Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/ML technologies with its factory automation solutions to harmonize their factory data and enable applications such as visual inspection of products and predicting the wear-and-tear of machines on the assembly line.
Wind River has partnered with Hyundai Autron to create new software that will integrate their advanced computing features with safety features within the infotainment system, reducing dependency in hardware products, and increasing safety of the cars.
From 2018 BMW has implemented AI in different business areas. This year, BMW uses AI for their R&D department, allowing them to learn their user’s energy consumption, adjusting it and helping them have a more efficient drive. Additionally, they have implemented AI solutions to their Supply Chain, recognizing when parts need to be resupplied in their plants, making production more efficient. Another important area where AI has been implemented is in the production process, by using AI powered machines to paint car exteriors and checking production defects.
Different companies such as Volvo, Navistar and Paccar have started to implement autonomous driving AI systems in their trucks, helping truckers travel safer and more comfortably. Additionally, Tesla will deliver its first fully autonomous Trucks later this year. These systems are developed for accident prevention and safety, increase fuel efficiency, fleet management and route optimization.
These are just a handful of projects being implemented this year. However, they showcase some of the applications AI can have, and how it is impacting our world.
AI Parts is pleased to be part of the changing world. With three interconnected products, AI Parts offers AI solutions that can transform your company, increasing efficiency, internal and customer communication and service in general.
As we have already mentioned in our previous articles, artificial Intelligence is impacting Business and the automotive sector in amazing ways. Most of us have heard about self-driving cars, parking assistance and even “halo” applications in modern electric cars. However, AI is impacting the sector in a different, but equally important area: Car Maintenance.
Car maintenance is an important part of the automotive sector. All cars require maintenance to function properly and to be able to avoid failures. This said, AI is starting to be used in two ways: Automotive Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance.
Automotive maintenance requires the owner to have at least basic knowledge about its car need. All vehicles include an owner’s manual, that helps the owner know, in general terms, when certain maintenance is required. However, these manuals have basic information that does not consider how the owner drives and where he drives. To help maintenance, most cars (all newer cars) have sensors that help diagnose when a part is failing, needs repair or requires change (oil, filters, etc.). To help with these processes, as well as inspection processes, manufacturers and mechanics have implemented AI tools that help the carry out automotive maintenance. Some of these tools are included by the manufacturer in the car, to help them read sensors and determine, in a more precise way when a part must be replaced. Others are used by mechanics to help them obtain data that can allow them to understand how and where the damage is, or read the information in the car for better and more transparent inspections.
Predictive Maintenance is used by manufacturers and mechanics to know when will a part require replacement, when can a failure occur and/or how long will a product last. AI is fundamental for this process, analysing data and information from the vehicle (regarding, how and where it is driven) to predict and correct errors before they happen. Predictive maintenance is carried out in the vehicle (through sensors and an onboard AI), as a fleet (companies with a large fleet of cars monitors the use of the cars by linking the ICU’s), in the supply chain (through mechanics collecting data from their customers) and via vehicle addons for car owners (dongles and/or software).
The use of AI in the car maintenance sector clearly is beneficial, as it helps owners, mechanics and manufacturers carry out maintenance, but it also helps them predict when this is required. The benefits do not stop there, as with technological progress, AI develops in a way in which it can help predict and prevent not only wear and tear but also accidents.
The future use of AI is bright, with new uses emerge every day, such as: i) helping car insurers find out the state of the car, to help determine the correct insurance policy to apply to a car and its owner; ii) vehicle voice integration, allowing the AI generate recommendations by learning from your behaviours and habits; and iii) self-repairing cars.
Artificial Intelligence is an area that keeps growing as time passes by. From 10 years ago to today, the capabilities and uses of AI have increased exponentially. Today, AI can drive cars, predict traffic and weather, help customers chose suitable clothes and furniture, and even make art. AI’s impact is not reserved for one sector, but the whole world economy. This said, one of the biggest impacts AI will have soon, is in how we carry out business.
When speaking of business, we think of businessmen in suits, seated in a conference room, discussing investment, profit, etc. However, as most businessmen know, business is much more than that. From buying products to marketing them, from price decision to production costs, business is a craft that is carried out by most people, even if we do not realize it. When we talk about business, we must include every type of commercial venture, from a small-town general store to a global conglomerate.
This said, AI has the power to impact all these seemingly unrelated businesses in an important manner, and this will occur as near as 2022. Every day new applications for AI are discovered, with different implications to the business sector. AIoT, Conversational AI, Machine Learning (ML), hyper-automation, and AI on the Cloud are just some examples that are already starting to impact the business world.
By 2022, most (if not all) online stores will offer virtual assistants, that will help (persuade) the consumer decide what products they should buy. Thanks to ML, producers will be able to predict the next trends in almost all sectors. Supply-chains will be able to work autonomously, with predictive and automated warehouses. These are just some examples of how AI will impact business in the coming years.
As a result, business must adapt and embrace AI for them to not be let behind. The best business strategy for the coming future – as it has always been – is to be first, implement AI solutions, when needed, as soon as possible and beat the competition to it.
Today, you can find a wide array of AI technology offerings, each designed to meet a specific need. The key is to select the product that suits you and your specific needs. The path to future business success is connected to AI implementation, but selecting the correct solution is key to this success.
In the digital age, businesses, small and large, must implement new technologies to adapt to the changing world we live in. The pandemic has accelerated the transformation to the digital age. While most sectors have adapted, the auto service sector remains in antiquity, following the same principles and business models of the past. The only way this sector can grow is by implementing new technologies. The following are just some of the technology implementation strategies to grow the sector.
First, the sector must adopt Artificial Intelligence to survive. Not only do new cars have AI technologies that you need to know about, but the implementation of these technologies will allow this sector to become more efficient and allow them to wake up. AI allows this sector to offer services not only of correction, but also of prevention. In addition, the use of AI will improve the supply chain and the internal operations of the service shops, as it has already happened in other sectors.
Next, it is necessary to digitize the operations of the sector. Through the digitization of operations, the transparency and efficiency of the sector will be increased, reducing costs, and increasing customer confidence in service providers.
Finally, it is important for car service providers to understand EV type cars. The electric car has come to stay, and the movement towards this type of car continues to grow with the reduction in prices of these vehicles (Today it is possible to buy a new electric car for € 10,000, thanks in part to Government concessions) and different benefits it gives the buyer. Car service providers need to be able to offer ICE and EV car services to stay in the industry.
For many of us, hopping into the car and driving to work is so routine, we barely think about it.
It’s a daily habit we can probably do in our sleep (but please don’t!). It has become so mundane that many forget the tiny steps we need to take to keep us safe on the road.
In this post, let’s look into often overlooked ways we can keep safe on the road with defensive and smart driving techniques.
Remember, a mistake on the road can have devastating consequences so take these tips to heart.
Have a good idea of where you are going
With a lot of navigation apps and cars with built-in GPS, it’s easy to hop on a car without knowing where you are going.
After all the apps on our phone or dashboard computers in every car can navigate our every turn.
For extra safety, if you’re going to a place you’ve never driven to before, it’s important to take a few minutes to study your map before you hit the road.
Having a general idea of where you are headed can really boost your confidence when driving and help you make snappy decisions when needed.
Don’t be left hanging when your phone or on-board GPS goes haywire!
Obey speed limits
Speed limits are carefully set to prevent accidents and keep everyone on the road safe. While it can be tempting to just floor the accelerator on an empty street, the risk to life and limb IS NOT WORTH IT.
Speed limits are determined not by guesswork but by a lot of analysis and statistics. When authorities set speed limits, they are actually decreasing the number of accident-prone areas.
To make it easy to obey speed limits and traffic rules in general, you can make it a habit to leave early.
Leaving early means your driving doesn’t have to feel like a race against time and you won’t feel like speed limits are working against you.
Stop drowsy driving
Sleepy? Don’t drive.
Yawning, struggling to keep your eyes open, drifting from your lane, and having a hard time remembering things or making decisions are all signs that you’re too tired or to sleepy to still be behind the wheel.
The best fix is to find a place where you can nap for 30 minutes or so. This shouldn’t be a problem if you left early or don’t have anything coming up.
Being sleepy behind the wheel isn’t just about having a bad night’s sleep, driving before dawn, or being in the road late at night. If you’re coming from a day at the beach or the park, sitting in the car after a tiring day will definitely leave you sleepy.
If you have somewhere to be, remember your safety is more important than the occasional tardiness. Better be safe than not make it at all!
Review Your Basic Car Safety
Just quickly remember the following fundamental tips for care safety:
Use turn signals
Turn your lights on in heavy rain or low visibility conditions
Don’t go out unnecessarily during inclement weather
Learn to let go; road rage will help no one
Keep your car in road-worthy condition
Going to a car shop isn’t always easy. It takes up your precious time and there’s the actual cost of the work that needs to be done.
A properly maintained vehicle is road-worthy and safer versus one that has missed several mechanic check-ups already.
With tools like EverDrive from AI Parts, drivers will soon have a more data-driven look into their vehicle’s condition.
Using advanced predictive models for wear and tear, the platform from AI Parts can make it easier for you to be more intuitive in maintaining your car. With EverDrive, you will know what and when parts will need to be replaced.
We hope you had a long good look at the items on the list. Every good driver knows that above all, his or her safety, along with the passengers, and everyone sharing the road is the most important thing of all.
On your next long trip and as you return to your “normal” routines as lockdowns start to ease up, be sure to keep these tips in mind.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 29, 2020) – Parma, Italy – Francesco Tapparo, Software Developer at AI Parts, started out in the academe before making a move towards software development. He has since redirected his aptitude in mathematics into exploring brand-new, life-changing ways AI can affect the way we live our lives.
Today, he let us in on his work for the AI Parts team and his vision for a future with AI.
AI is the Future
“AI is a field rich in interesting and useful applications. We are getting near real-time automatic translation (think Star Trek) but humbler uses like in mop machines are making them more adapted to, for example, for an elderly home. “
Mr. Tapparo thinks highly of how AI can affect the future.
“Recently I discovered software combining home automation and AI technologies in order to help disabled people. In short, the sky’s the limit for useful and exciting AI apps.”
Unlocking New Opportunities for the Multi-Billion Dollar Automotive Repair Industry
Francesco helps AI Parts build a suite of applications focused on bringing machine learning and AI-enabled technology to the automotive maintenance industry.
He explains EverDrive, one of the core products of his team:
“EverDrive’s goal is to warn the user in advance when a car component is about to reach the end of its service life. This date is calculated by artificial intelligence using parameters like driving style, car model, the average temperature where the user lives, and so on.”
But AI Parts’s technology doesn’t stop at helping consumers.
Another product is focused on improving the services offered by car repair shops.
“With TechPro, car repair shop owners can use artificial intelligence to assist the mechanics in choosing the best replacement parts for a car. This will save both the customer and the repair shop a lot of time and it will shrink error rate and compatibility issues.”
The impact of TechPro can be critical. It will improve customer experience by providing auto shop managers with faster, more reliable services with a significant impact on inventory management, an important part of any auto repair shop business.
Last but definitely not least, Francesco is also leading the way in the development of SaidText. SaidText upgrades the voice memo experience by “[processing] vocal messages and automatically [detecting] urgent ones, in order to assist the physician in taking care first of the patients needing immediate attention.”
This has become increasingly relevant as the global pandemic has created an even more demanding working environment for doctors and other healthcare providers who are the intended users of the product.
Francesco believes in the future immensely transformed by AI.
“AI can really have a big impact on people’s life: Think of disabled people who are able to communicate through vocal commands, AI being able to detect suspicious behavior at airports or, even more crucial, projects using AI to fight COVID-19.”
And the impact of AI in an often ignored sector like the automotive aftermarket can breathe new life into the industry.
The way the technology from AI Parts is easy to implement makes it an ideal solution even for smaller car repair shops. It also gives them a chance to continually improve their services, fine-tune their sourcing, and increase satisfaction for customers.
EverDrive, on the other hand, extends the lifetime of their vehicles by automating proper maintenance. This comes at a time where car sales are dropping and people are paying more attention to extending the service life of existing vehicles due to economic instability.
“Our software is going to make its small part in making these improvements available to a large number of people. It is nice to work on software able to improve the life of so many people at the same time.”
Making Life Easier
Francesco also opens up to how AI applications like the one he is building at AI Parts will help people direct their focus on the things that matter the most.
“Time is becoming more and more a precious resource while the world we live in is increasingly getting more complex. AI can help us to save the time otherwise dedicated to basic tasks and to keep it for us, to stay more with our family, to relax a bit, to focus on our hobbies, or to even become more productive.
Taking charge of these elementary tasks is similar to do complex calculations by hand: it is possible and can be fun sometimes, but more often than that, there will be a better way to spend our time.”
Preventive maintenance has already become a standard despite current limitations. Car manuals contain crude projections on when certain parts of a vehicle may breakdown. While often insufficient especially in the long run, these serve as a basic guideline of when owners must seek repair or replacement before a big breakdown.
In complex, heavy-duty machines like automobiles, some parts are designed to take the brunt of the wear and tear. For internal combustion engines, the brake pads, spark plugs, tires, belts, even the engine oil all suffer greater degrees of wear and tear compared to the rest of the vehicle.
Maintenance that is proactive than reactive can have very many advantages for car owners.
With tools like EverDrive from AI Parts, car owners have a more powerful, more accurate, and a more data-driven way of looking at preventive maintenance. Instead of one-off guides, the platform fine-tunes the preventive maintenance needed for every individual car.
While upfront costs and spending are major reasons why consumers skip preventive maintenance, the benefits far outweigh what may initially look like “extra costs”.
Here are some reasons why you should take your car’s preventive maintenance seriously:
Increase Your Car’s Service Life
One of the best things that come out of predictive maintenance is it can increase your car’s service life.
Preventive maintenance helps spot potential failures before they can even happen, therefore limiting its negative impact on the entire vehicle.
Proper preventive maintenance also means your car is spending more time running in the optimum condition which will decrease the usual impact of regular use.
Ensure the Safety of Your Vehicle
The safety of an automobile is always a top priority. Damaged tires, faulty brakes, or failing lights are serious safety hazards. Preventive maintenance keeps these threats away through early replacements or checks so they don’t fail while the car is running 100 km/h on the highway.
Increase Reliability and Avoid Stressful Breakdowns
Nothing is as annoying as having a vehicle fail when you need it the most. Preventive maintenance is probably also the best way to ascertain your car will be ready to run when you need it the most.
With proper preventive maintenance, the chances of you frantically calling auto repair shops in the middle of nowhere can be as small as possible.
No Lengthy Downtime
When you carry out preventive maintenance, the car spends most of its time on the road in tip-top shape. It is for this reason that you can prevent major breakdowns that can require days or weeks in the repair shop.
Aside from that, with EverDrive and Techpro from AI Parts, you can work with your mechanic so that compatible parts are there when you need it.
If EverDrive tells you you might need to switch out your headlights soon, you can inform your mechanic. Your mechanic, as a response, can use TechPro to identify the best lights from the best suppliers that is 100% compatible with your vehicle.
The decreased downtime just takes out a common source of inconvenience for many car owners.
No Surprise Costs
The biggest deterrent to preventive maintenance is cost. But one thing preventive maintenance effectively combats are surprise big repair bills.
Fix issues while they are small or before they even happen and not when they have become a major headache.
Some examples of car problems that blow out of proportion:
Not replacing a flickering headlight might lead it to shut off at the most inconvenient time (and cost you a hefty ticket if you get caught!).
Not replacing your windshield wipers can also cause unsightly scratches that can become irreparable.
Ignoring the need for replacement air filters can eventually result in a choked, worn down engine. An unmaintained car will also burn more fuel for the same amount of work.
At this point, you should understand the great value of preventive maintenance. Ensuring safety, cutting down unplanned costs, and lengthening the service life of a car are just some of the big pluses in maintaining your car and not waiting or an issue to arise.
In the auto repair industry, building a loyal customer base means having return clients that will require constant maintenance. However, the benefits of having loyal, engaged, and convinced customers is beyond the individual. In fact, their entire impact on your success can be hard to measure.
Aside from the business from loyal customers, these customers can also become organic advocates for your business. They can post reviews online recommending your business, mention you to friends or family, and become free, but very powerful word-of-mouth marketers.
So how can you create this kind of customer that can bring in so much value and business to your repair shop? On this list, we look at the different ways you can “make” a loyal customer out of every new one that walks in your door.
Keep in Touch
This is high up on this list because many car shop owners tend to just let customers go once the service has been rendered and payments have been settled. At this point in time, auto repair shops should treat the contact information they collect from clients like gold.
Try to keep in touch by:
Checking in after 3-5 days since the service just to make sure everything is doing well.
Enrolling them to an e-mailing list where you can send newsletters, car care tips, special offers, etc. twice or thrice a month.
You can also invite them to like your social media pages where you post updates twice or thrice a week.
Aside from showing customers you care, the above activities can really maintain a level of brand awareness that lasts.
A customer might just check-in for a diagnostic test once but by reaching out and giving them important information (that is never obtrusive!), they will be able to remember your name.
Always be respectful in these interactions. Don’t force customers to respond and don’t message them too often. Also, ask for their consent when using their information for marketing materials and give them a quick option to opt-out of the messages such as installing a small unsubscribe link in your e-mails.
Show Impactful Honesty
Unfortunately, auto repair shops are on the receiving end of a lot of skepticism and mistrust. So the best way for you to counter this is to make it a point to show your shop’s honesty.
On the previous post on our blog here, we suggested creating an honesty statement or policy. This can be displayed at your car shop or in a place of pride that customers can readily see.
This is a great way to be upfront about your serious commitment to providing honest service.
Another thing you can do is to demonstrate your honesty by giving them all their options, even those that might make them spend less on your business.
Especially during these uncertain times, money can be quite a challenge. By sincerely offering customs options that will save them money, they will know you are on their side and you will make it hard to forget your business.
Also, avoid talking negatively about the car repair industry. Trying to destroy the reputation of other car shops is just welcoming negativity in your conversation. As an alternative, focus on the things you are doing differently to ensure honesty is a top policy at your establishment.
Rewarding customers that repeatedly avail of services (such as 20% off on you next visit) or those that bring in new business will definitely strengthen brand loyalty. These “treats” can really boost the positive experience of clients.
And if the new clientele experience great service and you follow all the advice on this list, you can be unlocking another batch of referrals. Eventually, the ball will just keep rolling for your business.
Participate in the Community
One thing many small businesses like auto repair shops miss is their opportunity to become such an important part of their community. Simple gestures like hosting a workshop or small events can be a great way to meet people, build a positive image, and leave a mark in the community.
Of course, there are many considerations (like budget, effort, and even post-pandemic safety) for these kinds of events but let this be a starting point for other ideas on how your auto repair shop can help your community.
To look at millennial behavior is a great way to find ways to improve your business. After all, they have already outpaced the boomers in the number of licensed drivers worldwide.
And as millennials grew up along with rapid technological innovations, they expect the same tech-savvy quality from your business.
Technology attracts customers, builds trust and it lets them know their provider is using the best of what’s available. They can also reap amazing benefits for businesses.
At AI Parts, we create technology that safeguards your businesses from low-quality parts and suppliers, incompatibility issues, and other risks associated with aftermarket parts sourcing. Our auto repair shop software uses artificial intelligence to collect data from experts, the community, and other sources to direct you to the best, most compatible car parts for clients. It can also flag errors before they even happen.
The vision is that all these technologies work together to automate the car maintenance experience of car owners as well as maintenance providers.
So there you have it, FIVE awesome ways your business can build a loyal following.
And as mentioned in the first paragraph, loyal customers that return to your shop impact your business not just through their spending at every visit.
The word-of-mouth marketing they do, the brand loyalty they show online through posts, and even the morale boost of your business from having such a faithful following is difficult to price. Two things, however, are for sure: the impact of a loyal customer base is MASSIVE and your business should enjoy all of it.
Inventory in a car shop is an important part of the business. It affects how capital is managed, the operations, and even the quality of the services a car shop is able to provide.
Good inventory management should show how suited your inventory is to the demand of your customers, the quality of the parts kept in the store, as well as minimizing stagnant inventory. It should also support high-efficiency operations.
In this post, we look at top ways to improve inventory management in an auto repair shop. These steps are easy to follow, will require more effort than money to implement, and it should lead to results for your business.
Create a System
It can be quite tempting to just let inventory take care of itself. Once supply is delivered, it will eventually be consumed, right? While this may seem reasonable when starting out, this process can also be easily outgrown.
One of your top priorities should be to create a system or guidelines to follow. Don’t forget to include:
Checking all deliveries to make sure they match the delivery receipts. Suppliers can make mistakes so spotting it early on just makes everything easier. Check that the right supplies arrive in the right quantity.
Create designated storage locations for everything. This keeps re-stocking and the use of existing supply easy. And if customers can see a neat inventory, they’d definitely appreciate it. It’s reassuring to see the car parts they are purchasing appear taken care of, instead of being snatched out of an unkempt pile. In a highly competitive business, these things matter.
Always record movement. Implement a way of recording the movement of inventory. This can be as simple as a manual logbook but automated systems should be easy to implement even in smaller shops. With a robust recording system, the missing stock will be very easy to trace back and a logbook is great to check how things are moving along.
Back-up your information, always. Find a way to make sure you preserve a record of your inventory, especially when doing it through a computer. Using cloud-based software (like Google Drive) versus using local files makes sure you get to keep your records even if your computer breaks or go missing. This will save you the headache and there are some free options available out there.
Schedule a periodic check. Once-a-month or whatever is best for you, go through all your inventory and make sure everything is accounted for. Also, check your areas for improvement. Now that you have a system for inventory, it should be possible for you to take a step back and look at the big picture which will help identify weak areas in your strategy and make changes right away.
Remember, inventory management is a marathon not a sprint so making a process that is sustainable is important. Don’t overcomplicate it but keep the discipline to stick to the process.
For many auto repair shops, having so many different items on stock means being able to service more customer needs on-the-spot. This also means a growing inventory that can be very challenging to manage. This is where ABC analysis can help.
ABC analysis is a tried and tested inventory assessment method and it simplifies how you react to restocking and managing your in-store supply. You can start doing this by separating your inventory into the following categories:
CATEGORY A: Items that are in very high demand and may be critical to your business (for example: engine oils, filters, etc). This usually makes up to 20% of your entire inventory but up to 70% of sales.
CATEGORY B: Items that are in demand but not as important in group A. These are mid-range items that also add value to your business but not just in the previous category’s level (for example: windshield wipers, headlight replacement bulbs).
CATEGORY C: Items here are marginally important. These are nice-to-haves but may have minimal demand and impact to your business.
Once you’ve categorized your entire inventory into the above, it will be easier to create an overall strategy instead of doing it per item.
For example, you can make a rule to have at least two weeks’ worth of stock for items in Category A at all times and just down to a week for items in Category B.
If you want to improve your buying strategy, you can also focus on Group A to unlock the biggest benefits for your business.
Obviously, there are limits to this system. One: it can oversimplify how your entire inventory works. While ABC Analysis is simple to do, it might not really take into account the complexities of your business and your relationship with your customers.
Another thing is that it isn’t as reactive. By basing off historical data and being quite simple, it has minimal applications in predicting demand or spotting any changes in demand you might need to respond to (for example, a spike in demand for all-season tires after a regulatory change).
Here at AI Parts, we are building one platform to help you manage your inventory particularly your process of sourcing auto parts.
TechPro taps into the expertise of mechanics and uses AI to create a system that will help auto repair shops choose the best supplier and the best car parts on the market in terms of quality, reliability, compatibility, and value. By being open to using this kind of technology, your auto repair shop can minimize purchasing headaches from unreliable suppliers.
So there you have it. Inventory management is one of those necessary business processes where success will be determined by strategy and the discipline to follow-through with the process over a long period of time.
If you have strong inventory management, you don’t only take care of the assets of your business, you are also making it more comfortable and safe to increase your auto repair shop’s working capital.
Warehouse Operations and Speed Up Communications
Are you interested in speeding up operations and communications between repair shop and warehouse, technicians and departments?
SaidText customer service app is the tool, leveraging AI, that can transcribe voice messages and organize everything as Kanban’s tickets. Keeping history, filters, search, notification and a lot of useful functions, operations speed can increase up to 80%.
Here at AI Parts we are constantly improving our tools with just one focus: quicker and simper operations, better workflow, less human effort.
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!