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I text customers using my shop management program, Baymaster. The program does not use my phone lines, everything is done on the Internet through BayMaster. When I complete an invoice I am able to choose "Text" and the program sends a text message that the vehicle is completed and includes total invoice, hours we are open, our phone number and "Thank you". This canned message can also be changed or customized as needed. I also send canned messages for "Job in progress", canned updates that "Ordered parts have arrived" and canned estimates for proposed work. I also send text messages when I want additional documentation of a problem such as - "Needs brake lines replaced due to rust/corrosion. Dangerous condition". All messages are printed on the final invoice. Customer's continually tell me how much they like being kept informed via the texting. It takes me 10 seconds to text a customer with needed information instead of phone calls that take much longer and all too often are forgotten or neglected due to interruptions.

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We are just getting started with this. We have google voice on all of our desktops and are able to send texts to customers directly from our desktop via wifi. This started as a result of wanting to be able to text video inspection results to customers via the most convenient method for them. So we are making narrated video of inspection results, uploading them to our dropbox and then sending dropbox links via a text message for the customer to review. We are currently using two wifi enabled s4's(no mobile contract). I struggle asking staff to not use personal cell phones during the day and then turn around and tell them it's ok, just for business purposes. My plan is to put previous generation android or apple smart phones in every employees hands. About $100 a piece on ebay. Next for us is to send customers vehicle completion status updates via text. You can assign a google voice number to every smart phone and actually make and receive calls, texts as well as a variety of email purposes.

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We also text message using Google Voice. What we also do with Google Voice is we send out a group message to the customers who had their cars worked on the day before. We thank them for their trust for allowing us to fix their car and if they have any questions please give us a call or text.

Then after that, we send a group text to the customers reminding them about their appointment the following day.

When they received the text, they cant tell it was sent as a group text and they think it was a personal text just to them that makes it more personal.

We have had less " no shows " and if they cant make their appointment, they reply back asking to be rescheduled.

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We have not stepped into texting customers for repair completions. I can see how it can be very effective for younger customer.

 

In addition to auto repair, we also do restorations. We send progress pictures of restorations to customers using a "shop cell phone" which is an inexpensive smart phone with a really easy number.

 

We are a performance shop and use the phone when we are out of the shop for the weekend. I forward the landline to the phone, We are onsite at Brainerd International Raceway most of the summer on weekends, and have our racer support trailer with us. We are accessable because of the phone and we don't have to make calls from our personal cell phone numbers.

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I just recently stumbled across this article

http://www.ratchetandwrench.com/RatchetWrench/May-2014/Mobile-Marketing-through-Text-Messages/index.php?utm_source=KnowledgeMarketing&utm_medium=RW%20Newsletter%20Emails&utm_term=RCHT%20-%20Monthly%20"In%20This%20Issue"%20Newsletter&utm_content=RW-Monthly-Newsletter-20140501&utm_campaign=This%20month%20in%20Ratchet%20Wrench&eid=221267980&bid=860925&

 

Has any one used a company like this? Do you feel its bombarding customers? I currently use BoltOn Tech, but you cant use their texting feature for mass messages.

Looking for new ways to communicate with customers, it seems like "Email" is a dying form of marketing. People get 20-25 Emails a day, and just hit the delete button, including myself.

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Yes I text customers Personal phones with reminders, promotions when things are slow for me and it seems to work very well.

I've been doing it for a couple years and it seems to work better than cold call voicemail.

People

Love

To text, they love the attention and in this Facebook world I can see the attraction.

I

Am not

A

Facebook person at all for marketing because too many opinions on a public forum can open the door for negativity but my customers love texting and I think it's an excellent marketing tool that's instant, personal and begs of a response wether they need service or not.

It's also simple and informal for people on the fly.

I, being a mobile mechanic, get my majority of customer inquiries and service schedule questions by text as opposed to phone calls as my business is ran from my cell phone.

I am small and very very personal.

I have a deep relationship with my customers and texting is very personal.

I think it's the best way to communicate for smaller, one man operations such as mine.

I can see how a

Larger, busier shop may find it annoying and burdensome to be texting customers

Back and forth bit for me it's a God send when I get a text on Monday morning from an established customer that needs an immediate service when I have nothing on the schedule for that day.

I found it's the best way to relay messages such as "Mrs Williams , your vehicle was due for front brake pads and rotors tldisring the last service three months ago, would you like me to schedule a time to get them replaced this month?"

People absolutely love it?

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I text customers if THEY establish that type of relationship with me. Which happens a lot, but I am a 2 man show. I'm a small shop, and have that personal atmosphere vibe thing going. Typically, I just don't have the work flow that keeps me from spending a couple minutes of the day texting a customer. Again tho, I plan for the future, so I try to avoid it, unless the customer establishes that form of contact with me.

 

There are pros and cons to it. You are limited in what you can say. You cannot really break down a diagnosis sometimes through text. It is a tool best used to either pass on prices, or pass on status.

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Hey guys,

 

Here’s a few examples of shops using text messaging to keep their customers up to date and aware of needed services. http://www.ratchetandwrench.com/RatchetWrench/February-2016/Six-Ways-to-Use-Technology-for-Customer-Engagement/

 

Please note that the article does mention BOLT ON a few times. Sorry for the shameless plug, but I do feel this is a good testament to the power of texting.

 

Hope this helps.

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We have an extra cell phone (one of my old Smart Phones) that we added to the plan and use for texting and for taking pictures to send to customers. Has proven popular with the front desk AND with customers.

Edited by stvstbsvc
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Also many of my job inquiries come from total strangers asking for a price quote for

A Specific job.

I try to reply immediately because people are impatient and texters Like instant responses.

The thing I don't like is giving quotes like this without being able to feel the person out or to explain diffences in super cheap brakes as opposed to Original equipment.

By feeling them out I mean is their car neglected and do they just want the cheapest crap possible on their junker or do they care about their car and want some good quality parts out on it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We send Txt messages to customers via google voice when vehicles are ready, been doing that for probably 5 years now. I plan to extend it to confirming appointments in the future but we currently don't have a process for that. I wouldn't expect to ever use it for mass marketing. In the future it will be used to maintenance reminders but i need to change software to get there. A process that has been challenging.

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  • 11 months later...

How many of you text message customers on update with there vehicle, when it's done, what needs to be done ? Also how are you doing this ? I have two landline phones, are you using personal cell phones ? Thanks !

@sparkerauto, I recently posted a LONG introduction here that would put those landline numbers -that are probably recognized by your customers- to use. http://www.autoshopowner.com/topic/11427-introducing-textbox-text-enable-your-existing-shop-telephone-number

Most smaller shops just text-enable their main shop telephone number. Larger shops text-enable a number for each Service Advisor.

 

 

Also many of my job inquiries come from total strangers asking for a price quote for

A Specific job.

I try to reply immediately because people are impatient and texters Like instant responses.

The thing I don't like is giving quotes like this without being able to feel the person out or to explain diffences in super cheap brakes as opposed to Original equipment.

By feeling them out I mean is their car neglected and do they just want the cheapest crap possible on their junker or do they care about their car and want some good quality parts out on it.

@Biff Tannon, Do you find that customers are ok with changing from the initial text conversation to a phone call when the complexity of the conversation lends itself to that?

 

 

We send Txt messages to customers via google voice when vehicles are ready, been doing that for probably 5 years now. I plan to extend it to confirming appointments in the future but we currently don't have a process for that. I wouldn't expect to ever use it for mass marketing. In the future it will be used to maintenance reminders but i need to change software to get there. A process that has been challenging.

@Junior, Depending upon the capabilities of your software to export the schedule information, we may have some ways to overcome that challenge. Alternatively, we our text capabilities are pretty easy to integrate into most modern software. We'd be happy to work with your software provider.

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I built a standalone texting application to use on my front counter with the PC (web based, no cell phone needed). Very simple, keeps in contact with the customer and gets immediate results. I'm going to make it available to other shop owners as soon as I get a few bugs worked out. What features would you consider important if you could add anything you wanted?

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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I've heard it all over the place that texting customers should now be a given.
I've heard the Elite Worldwide coaches, the ATI coaches and other say it is a given.

Honestly, from a business owner perspective it does seem so much better, faster and seems to generate a higher ROI than say using email.
There are many good solutions in our industry from texting.  AutoTextMe, Kukui, etc.

Although, I'm also interested if as an industry are we taking the time to listen if as an industry we are taking time to listen to vehicle owners and what they prefer.  
Let me explain.

Although we're just getting the first results of our vehicle owner survey back... this next statistic I share may shock auto repair professionals around the country.  When we asked vehicle owners, "What method would you prefer as the most convenient way to book an appointment with your local auto repair shop?" .. So far, as of 5/30/2020, a large majority (61.5%) of our vehicle owner survey respondents answered, "Book and confirm appointment in mobile app".  

Note:  "Send a text message to my shop" was only chosen as the preferred method by 11.5% of the survey vehicle owner respondents.

Does this consumer insight where texting trails mobile apps by almost 50% lead us to ask if 2020 is the year where shop owners need to consider getting their own vehicle owner mobile app??

Where their customers can manage and track their vehicles in their custom mobile app keeping their brand front and center on their smartphone??  
Perhaps to help answer this for your shop, I've put together a quiz so any auto repair shop owner can see where their shop ranks in a digital brand score compared to say a Fortune 500 and how they are using the latest in mobile app technology to blend email, YES texting too, but all seamlessly integrated with in-app push notifications too.
https://www.appfueled.com/quiz

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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