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6 Things Modern Mechanic Shops Have in Common

The auto repair industry is more competitive than ever these days, so it only makes sense that you’d be searching for an edge over other auto shops in your area. However, if you’ve already taken the time to upgrade your services, you may be unsure what to do next. If you’re in this boat, you may be ready to think about modernizing your repair shop.

By making a real effort to bring your shop up-to-date, you’ll signal to your customers that you care about their experience. But this isn’t just a form of posturing, as modernization projects can genuinely improve your garage’s customer service when they’re done right. 

If you’re wondering about the traits modern mechanic shops have in common, you’re in the right place.

1. Comfortable Waiting Rooms

Does your shop already offer conveniences like online scheduling and concierge service? If so, you might be tempted to think the condition of your waiting room doesn’t matter — but you’d be wrong. After all, half of all auto shop customers still opt to wait in person for repairs taking less than two hours to complete.

Is your waiting room in need of an update? If so, it’s wise to go beyond just giving this space a new coat of paint. Instead, consider adding:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi. In the modern age, many of your customers can work even when they aren’t at work. By providing free Wi-Fi, you’ll allow them to stay as productive as possible while they wait.
  • Newspapers and TV. People appreciate having something else to focus on while they wait for auto repairs. That said, make a point of replacing any outdated publications.
  • A play area for kids. Even if your customers can wait patiently, that might not be the case for their children. Play areas can make the wait easier for kids and parents alike.
  • Free food and beverages. Providing complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks may be an expense. Still, you can’t buy the level of goodwill this small act can provide.
  • Comfy seats. Finally, no one wants to spend hours sitting on an uncomfortable chair. Make sure the seating in your waiting room goes beyond the bare minimum.

2. Customer SMS Communication

There are quite a few digital marketing platforms your auto shop can benefit from, but few are more effective than the humble text message. Text marketing is unbelievably effective — these messages have a 97% open rate, and most texts are read within 15 minutes of delivery.

One great way to take advantage of SMS marketing in your auto shop is by sending appointment reminders to your customers. Since texts are so hard to ignore, this reminder method will make no-shows far less likely to happen. Just be sure you’re sending a reasonable amount of texts at the right time. For reminders like these, a good rule of thumb is to send texts at the one-week, three-day, and 24-hour marks.

Along with that, you can fill clients in on how their ongoing services are progressing thanks to repair order updates. Today’s customers expect to have easy access to information, and sending updates, videos, and photos regarding a repair in progress will help you earn their trust. 

The services offered by AutoVitals can help you manage both of these forms of SMS customer communication!

3. Paperless Operations

If you’ve been running a “traditional” auto shop for some time, you may think everything is going smoothly. But even if you aren’t paying attention to the costs of running a paper-based business, that doesn’t mean those expenses aren’t there. 

Every time your mechanics have to stop working on a customer’s vehicle to fill out paperwork, your shop’s efficiency decreases a little bit. Of course, that can add up before you know it. Instead, switching to a tablet-based workflow is ideal for most auto shops in the modern age. 

Today, you can use mobile technology and software solutions like AutoVitals for:

  • Work order management. What if you could make changes to your shop’s workflow on the fly — and instantly send those changes to everyone in your garage? With a paperless system, that can be an everyday reality for your crew.
  • Clocking in and out. When your mechanics use tablets, they can punch out of one job and into another without needing to leave their bays.
  • Ordering parts. Another inconvenience for your technicians: having to go to another part of your garage to order parts. Tablets can all but eliminate this issue, as well.
  • Checking info on vehicles. Do you think having a computer workstation is a cutting-edge solution to your research needs? Think again — tablets can provide this same level of convenience without requiring your mechanics to be in a specific physical location.

4. Modern Websites

Even if your website isn’t a physical part of your shop, it needs to be just as well-maintained as your actual garage floor. Up to 80% of customers research businesses online before they buy. That means your site will likely be the first place you have an opportunity to win potential clients over.

Are you unsure what your shop’s website should look like? Try to prioritize these factors:

  • Flexible design. Smartphones are responsible for more web traffic than ever today, so make sure your site can welcome both mobile and desktop users.
  • Appointment scheduling. These days, having to make a phone call to set up an appointment can feel like a hassle. Online appointment scheduling can make life simpler for your clients — and let them set up appointments while your shop is closed.
  • SEO-aware content. SEO is too complex to explain fully here, but it refers to various ways of making web content easily discoverable by search engines. You’ll gain a valuable competitive advantage over other local shops by boosting your search ranking.
  • Strong branding. Branding elements matter when it comes to helping customers remember your auto shop. Make sure your site features your logo, fitting graphics, and even a distinctive color scheme.
  • A clean user interface. No matter how good your site looks, it won’t matter if visitors can’t find their way around.

5. Data and Reporting

If you’ve been relying on physical forms and paperwork to manage your shop up until now, making data-driven decisions may sound nearly impossible. But that isn’t necessarily true — when you make other changes in pursuit of the goal of joining the world of modern mechanic shops, you’ll find it far simpler to track your shop’s most crucial metrics.

By using solutions from AutoVitals, your shop will have an opportunity to collect and analyze data without a great deal of effort on your part. Consider digitizing and integrating other aspects of your shop (like time clocks, bookkeeping, and paperless service orders) to make things even easier for yourself and your employees.

6. Cutting-Edge Tools and Technology

To truly modernize your independent auto shop, you’ll need access to hardware that balances safety with efficiency, speed, and accuracy. However, even that is only half the battle on its own. Without the right software, even the best hardware won’t deliver the results you’re looking for.

When you’re trying to create a modern mechanic shop, you need the software solutions provided by AutoVitals. As the industry’s sole Complete Shop Success Solution, AutoVitals offers everything you might need — digital vehicle inspections, online marketing, workflow automation, and more. Learning more about what AutoVitals can do for you is simple — just set up a demo today!

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