AutoVitals recently released an updated version of the Today’s Vehicle Page (TVP). Fred Haynes, owner of four Honest-1 shops in Minnesota, and his store manager, Brandon Polhemus, joined the crew on an episode of The Digital Shop Talk Radio to discuss the updates.
Guided mode – This allows text to pre-populate for specific line items in the digital vehicle inspection, saving technicians and service advisors time.
Updated carry forward – The updated carry forward feature allows motorists to see images of previous and current digital vehicle inspections (DVI) side-by-side. It also gives technicians and service advisors the ability to bring previous assessments into their current inspection.
Technician/Service Advisor Audits – Technicians and service advisors can now be audited easily. Just select the timeframe you would like to review, then you can go through each employee’s inspections and rate their photos, captions, etc. From that rating, you can decide who may need some additional assistance.
Two things can make or break these new digital vehicle report features; inconsistent vehicle inspections and vague or unfocused photos.
According to Bill Connor, AutoVitals Lead Trainer, the components needed for carry forward all go back to the basics.
When it comes to ensuring consistent auto inspections, a lot of time and attention must be spent on creating routines and making sure they are followed.
The new audit feature in TVP.X gives auto repair shop owners and shop managers the tools to enforce those standards.
“In the TVP.X there’s a new sub-menu item which is called ‘audit technician/service advisor,’” said Uwe Kleinschmidt, founder of AutoVitals. “Just like in the inspection results view, you can select the service advisor or technician name, select up to 90 days going back, then you see all the inspections and can rank them.”
In addition to ranking, you can also give assessments on the DVI and see an overview.
“You can then see a summarized ranking of all images for this particular person and have a talk with the person,” Uwe said. “Really simple.”
Bill noted the additional feature of seeing whether topics were approved or not approved by the customer is also helpful in evaluating your crew.
Fred and Brandon were some of the early adopters of the new TVP.X, and as is true with all AutoVitals products, Uwe wants to hear feedback to improve the software continually.
“Once we understood what guided mode could do for us, the biggest opportunity we felt was a big time saver as well as just upping the professionalism and consistency of the inspections due to the fact that we could then pull standard text for captions and for customer notes,” Fred told Uwe, Bill, and Tom Dorsey, in episode 83 of The Digital Shop Talk Radio.
With several repair shops, Fred has noticed guided mode has allowed his volume shop to keep up with all of the digital inspections they were conducting. Something that was really challenging in the past.
“Not everybody who does service advising is an English major, so it’s not always easy to write something in a context that a customer will understand easily, so [guided mode] is a big benefit for us,” Fred said.
The benefits of the carry forward function were a bit more difficult for both Fred and Brandon to see.
A bug that is currently being worked out allows auto technicians to take photos replacing old motor vehicle inspection photos, eliminating the ability for motorists to see side-by-side comparisons of previous and current inspections. But that wasn’t Brandon’s only feedback on carry forward.
“I guess my concern with the carry forward mode is it gives the technician - because let’s be honest, the technicians can sometimes just want to get through the inspection and be done as quick as possible - it gives them an out to just hit confirm without actually rechecking something,” he said. “It’s happened to us a couple times where, you know, the technician is going through the inspection and just clicking through, clicking through, clicking through, and a different advisor had the car last time, and now I’m dealing with it, and so I go pitch a job that we just did three months ago not realizing that we had actually done that.”
Additionally, Brandon had spoken to several customers about the carry forward feature and its ability to show the progression of wear and tear on their vehicle. The feedback he received is vehicle owners don’t necessarily want to see that information. He also said the DVI guided mode essentially makes the carry forward needless.
“My opinion on that is that if a component was good last time, and it’s bad now, I guess, to me, it doesn’t make a difference that it was good last time,” he said. “It’s bad now, let’s fix it.”
The bumps on the road are to be expected when adding and refining new features, and why AutoVitals places such an emphasis on customer feedback in the product development process.
Bill, Uwe, and Tom listened to the feedback from Brandon and Fred but offered some counterpoints.
“If we can show customer change over time by showing the progression of pictures, that’s a good thing,” Bill said. “We’re also going to have instances where the customer, you know, they’re going to have that tire that’s worn on three edges almost through the rubber. They come back through a month later, and now it’s in the steel belts. To go ahead and show that change over time can be huge for getting that customer that doesn’t really like to maintain their vehicle to get out their doggone wallet and start making a donation into it before they change that ‘may pop’ into a ‘will pop.’”
Uwe added, if it isn’t done correctly, carry forward can backfire big time.
“If the pictures are not fulfilling basic requirements, we shouldn’t even do any history because if one picture is not telling the story, two incomplete pictures confuse people more,” he said. “That’s why we introduced the reinforcement of what a good picture looks like, and then the next step is starting with the previous visit and current visit, and then the next step would be a whole history. That’s how I look at it.”