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What does Workflow Management for Auto Repair Shops Mean?

How many times per day is the average auto shop service advisor interrupted by activity around their garage? You might think this only happens once or twice daily, but you’d be way off the mark. 

Instead, your service advisors get taken away from their work approximately 32 times every day. And in many cases, this results from something you wouldn’t expect—workflow management issues.

The good news is that solving your workflow woes is as simple as committing to a technological upgrade. Are you still doing this work by hand? If so, it’s time to think about managing these processes with an innovative software-based solution. Here’s why your shop needs a reliable workflow management system with built-in CRM.

What Is Workflow Management with CRM?

Most tasks you and your employees perform on the job can be broken down into a series of steps. These steps are collectively known as a “workflow,” and everyone in your shop follows one workflow or another—even your customers! Scheduling appointments and authorizing estimates can count as steps in a workflow, too.

The process of establishing, observing, and enhancing a workflow is called “workflow management.” But this task isn’t necessarily simple, even if your shop has implemented seemingly solid workflows. If your workflows are less-than-efficient in ways you aren’t aware of, it could cost you in terms of lost productivity. Even if your workflows are already smooth, paper-based workflow management takes a lot of time and effort.

To deal with these problems, you’ll need a customer relationship management (CRM) workflow system. Programs in this category focus on helping business owners manage employee activity and other aspects of their company’s day-to-day operations. With a high-quality workflow management system in place, you can spend less time thinking about minutiae and more time focusing on how to run the best possible auto repair shop.

Benefits of a Workflow Solution with Built-in CRM 

Even with a working understanding of what workflow management with CRM is, you should know what it can do before you invest in one of these products. When your shop implements an automated workflow system, you’ll benefit from:

1. Improved Labor Management

“Traditional” workflow management requires you to manually track every vehicle and worker going into and out of your shop—a process that’s far from enjoyable for anyone involved. Unexpected circumstances could easily force you to reassign technicians from one job to another which can lead to logistical headaches.

Instead of putting up with these irritations, prioritize your shop’s switch to workflow management with CRM with technician scheduling capabilities. These systems can give you an at-a-glance look at what everyone in your shop is doing, allow you to completely automate your workflow and reallocate resources on the fly. As a result, you’ll be able to run your shop more efficiently than ever.

The right system can also add powerful automation capabilities, which frees up extra time for you team. Automated customer communication and service reminders reduces the amount of inbound and outbound calls for service advisors. 

2. Better Customer Experience

With the help of a workflow with CRM solution, your expert technicians will be able to do their jobs in the most orderly fashion possible. That’s not just a benefit to you, either. After you install your new workflow system, your customers will appreciate transparent communication, regular updates about their vehicle status and faster turnaround times.

Choosing the right workflow management program will allow you to offer more than fast service, too. You’ll also be able to send customers automated reminders of upcoming appointments. And when customers do arrive for repairs and maintenance work, they’ll appreciate total transparency in the form of photos and videos illustrating your technicians’ findings.

As yet another win for customer experience, repair order is all stored digitally. This means customers can review their full service history when they want, providing an extra level of transparency and communication that they’ll appreciate.

3. Higher ARO

For independent auto shops, average repair order (ARO) is everything. This number measures the products and services you sell to the average customer in dollars. Obviously, the higher your ARO is, the better your shop is doing.

The key to supercharging your ARO is making sure your techs know what to look for by giving them guided Digital Vehicle Inspections to follow. That way, they won’t miss potential undiagnosed issues in a customer’s vehicle, even when they’re providing minor repairs. If you let customers know about these issues, they’ll know you’re looking out for them. On top of that, you’ll get an unexpected opportunity to boost your shop’s income.

4. Efficient Parts Management

It’s no secret that the process of ordering auto parts has been more challenging than usual as of late. For the past two years, businesses across the auto repair industry have been faced with severe parts shortages. Things have gotten so bad that ordering parts now takes 15 days to a month longer than it did back in 2019.

If you don’t have the parts you need on hand, costumers will be frustrated or take their business elsewhere.

While you can’t control the current state of the auto parts industry, you can take common-sense steps to work around these issues with inventory management strategies. When you understand your shop’s overall workflow, you’ll know when you need to order certain auto parts. You won’t be caught off-guard when parts start running low, allowing you to decrease or even eliminate the associated repair delays.

5. Increased Employee Satisfaction

No matter how skilled your techs are, they’re not machines. Like anyone else, these workers can get frustrated when dealing with unclear priorities and inaccurate labor hour estimates. Idle technicians with nothing to do or overworked technicians with too many assigned jobs are both problems your repair shop should strive to avoid. 

Likewise, distractions and menial tasks—like answering inbound calls or sending out vehicle updates—can eat up a service advisor’s time and make their day feel more exhausting than it should.

A high-quality workflow helps you avoid these issues. Automation can streamline menial tasks and help employees focus on more important tasks. Solutions like AutoVitals can even provide you the data and metrics you need to spot issues in your workflow and get visibility into what’s going wrong. When one of your technicians runs into trouble or needs a hand with their work duties, you can help them out—and show them your support in the process.

Boost Your Shop’s Efficiency With AutoVitals

If you’ve been managing your auto shop’s workflow traditionally for years or decades, it can be hard to think about switching to a digital process. But while there might be an adjustment period as you pick up a new process, the right workflow management solution with built-in CRM will improve your shop’s efficiency, increase your revenues, and help you provide better service to your valued customers.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the first workflow program you’ll find will be the best one for your shop. For a workflow system to truly meet your needs, it should provide features like Digital Vehicle Inspections, tech dispatching, and customer communication abilities. SmartFlow.X from AutoVitals can deliver all these benefits and more — set up a demonstration to learn all about it!

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