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An AI Powered CRM for Auto Repair? with Kieran O'Brien - The Auto Repair Marketing Podcast

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Brian and Kim talk with Kieran O’Brien, founder of ShopGenie, an AI powered CRM for auto repair.

Thank you to our friends at RepairPal for providing this episode. RepairPal’s Certified Network of shops are trusted by millions of customers each month. Learn more at RepairPal.com/shops.

  • Introduction and Sponsorship (00:00:01 - 00:00:39) The speakers introduce the podcast and thank the sponsor, Repair Pal.
  • Kieran's Background (00:00:58 - 00:02:00) Kieran shares his story of starting his first business at 16, working in the automotive industry, and building a CRM with technology that established companies are not integrating.
  • Opportunity in CRM (00:02:55) Kieran discusses the opportunity he sees in the CRM side of the auto repair industry.
  • Starting a business at a young age (00:03:33) Kieran talks about how he started his first business at the age of 16 and how he found mentors in the automotive industry.
  • Alternative paths to success (00:05:21) The hosts and Kieran discuss the idea that college is not the only path to success and how apprenticeships are viewed differently in Europe.
  • Raising an entrepreneur (00:06:27) Kim talks about how her son grew up with two entrepreneur parents and how they have had discussions about his future and whether or not he needs to go to college.
  • Parents' reaction to Kieran's success (00:08:49) Kieran talks about the contention between him and his parents regarding his decision not to go to college and how his success in business changed their relationship.
  • The need to promote trade schools (00:09:24) Kieran discusses the need to change the narrative around college and promote trade schools to solve the problem of student loan debt and the technician shortage in the auto repair industry.
  • Sponsorship message from Repair Pal (00:10:11) The hosts thank Repair Pal for sponsoring the episode and encourage auto repair shops to become Repair Pal certified to attract tech-savvy customers.
  • Tenacity and Authenticity (00:11:06) Kieran's approach to promoting her product with authenticity and tenacity, without being pushy.
  • Importance of Customer Experience (00:11:42) Kieran emphasizes the importance of building an incredible product, brand, and customer experience to attract and retain customers.
  • Obsessive Customer Service (00:13:25) Kieran talks about the importance of obsessive customer service and recommends the book "Unreasonable Hospitality" for auto repair shop owners.
  • The Ideal Auto Repair Shop (00:14:57-00:16:41) Kieran O'Brien discusses the ideal auto repair shop, which would be a specialty shop with a focus on customer service and the latest technology. The hosts compare it to the Ritz Carlton and Chick-fil-A.
  • Shop Genie's Customer Experience Platform (00:16:54-00:17:44) Kieran O'Brien talks about Shop Genie's customer experience platform, which is an AI-powered platform for auto repair shops that handles marketing automation, reviews, online scheduling, and more. The platform aims to put everything under one roof and provide the best customer experience in the market.
  • Dealing with Outdated CRM and Marketing Technology (00:17:44-00:18:19) Kieran O'Brien discusses how the CRM and marketing technology in the auto repair industry has been outdated for a while, and how Shop Genie aims to build a customer experience platform that integrates everything in one place, instead of having to deal with multiple software vendors.
  • AI and Blue Collar Jobs (00:18:35) Discusses how AI is not taking over blue collar jobs, but rather replacing desk jobs. Talks about how technicians are getting paid more and how AI is useful for communication.
  • Jasmine: AI Assistant for Auto Repair (00:19:19) Introduces Jasmine, an AI assistant built and trained on auto repair data. Explains how it can help with communication, responding to customers, and even writing marketing campaigns.
  • AI and Service Advisors (00:20:03) Discusses how AI can give service advisors superpowers by reducing the time they spend on the phone and behind screens. Talks about how AI is there to help them focus on creating amazing customer experiences.
  • AI replacing jobs (00:23:30) Kieran O'Brien shares her opinion on AI replacing jobs and how it can make people do things differently.
  • AI making people more effective (00:24:16) Kieran O'Brien explains how AI can help people become more effective and better at their jobs, leading to better margins for businesses.
  • Adapting to AI (00:24:49) Brian Walker talks about adapting to AI and becoming the best at using it for clients to stay competitive in the market.
  • Adapting to AI (00:25:42) The speakers discuss the fear of adapting to AI and how it cannot replace human emotion and feeling. They emphasize the importance of using AI wisely and not letting it replace human interactions.
  • AI and Blue Collar Jobs (00:28:18) The speakers discuss how AI may drive people to get into blue-collar fields and how it may reduce white-collar jobs. They also mention that blue-collar jobs are currently considered the safest jobs as AI is far from being able to replace them.
  • Efficient Training with AI (00:29:28) The speakers discuss how AI may make training more efficient, making it easier for people to become technicians faster. They focus on the pros of AI and how it can be used to make businesses more effective and profitable.
  • Online Scheduling Tool (00:29:33) Shop Genie's free online scheduling tool is discussed as a powerful tool for auto repair shops to stand out from the competition and create better customer experiences.
  • How to Access the Online Scheduling Tool (00:30:41) Listeners are directed to go to shopgenie.io/solutions to access the free online scheduling tool, which takes only 15 minutes to set up.
  • Shop Management System Integration (00:31:02) Shop Genie is currently integrated with several shop management systems, including Shop-Ware, Tech Metrics, and Mitchell 1, with more in the works.





How To Get In Touch



Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      Auto shop owners are always looking for ways to improve production levels. They focus their attention on their technicians and require certain expectations of performance in billable labor hours. While technicians must know what is expected of them, they have a limited amount of control over production levels. When all factors are considered, the only thing a well-trained technician has control over is his or her actual efficiency.
      As a review, technician efficiency is the amount of labor time it takes a technician to complete a job compared to the labor time being billed to the customer. Productivity is the time the technician is billing labor hours compared to the time the technician is physically at the shop. The reality is that a technician can be very efficient, but not productive if the technician has a lot of downtime waiting for parts, waiting too long between jobs, or poor workflow systems.
      But let’s go deeper into what affects production in the typical auto repair shop. As a business coach, one of the biggest reasons for low shop production is not charging the correct labor time. Labor for extensive jobs is often not being billed accurately. Rust, seized bolts, and wrong published labor times are just a few reasons for lost labor dollars.
      Another common problem is not understanding how to bill for jobs that require extensive diagnostic testing, and complicated procedures to arrive at the root cause for an onboard computer problem, electrical issue, or drivability issue. These jobs usually take time to analyze, using sophisticated tools, and by the shop’s top technician. Typically, these jobs are billed at a standard menu labor charge, instead of at a higher labor rate. This results in less billed labor hours than the actual labor time spent. The amount of lost labor hours here can cripple a shop’s overall profit.
      Many shop owners do a great job at calculating their labor rate but may not understand what their true effective labor is, which is their labor sales divided by the total labor hours sold. In many cases, I have seen a shop that has a shop labor rate of over $150.00 per hour, but the actual effective labor rate is around $100. Not good.
      Lastly, technician production can suffer when the service advisors are too busy or not motivated to build relationships with customers, which results in a low sales closing ratio. And let’s not forget that to be productive, a shop needs to have the right systems, the right tools and equipment, an extensive information system, and of course, great leadership.
      The bottom line is this; many factors need to be considered when looking to increase production levels. While it does start with the technician, it doesn’t end there. Consider all the factors above when looking for ways to improve your shop’s labor production.
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