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Craig Whitney

RepairLync - A New, Free Website to Electronically Link Shops to Customers

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Hello all,

The purpose of this thread is to introduce our free software product: RepairLync (http://www.repairlync.com) - Not to be confused with the "Repair Link" site that does something completely different.

What does RepairLync do?

- RepairLync electronically connects customers to your automotive repair shop to increase your business and revenue. It's the first of its kind, ever.

How does it do it?

- Customers request estimates through an Android app (which gets their OBD-II DTCs, regular and pending, or they can simply select work items from a list), and shop managers respond via a website (which is desktop and mobile friendly)

- There are options to protect yourself and you are not locked in to exact estimate quotes. We offer configurable disclaimers, customer messaging, vehicle imaging (customer driven), and give all the details we can about the vehicle.

- Customer online reviews promote your shop

What's the cost?

- It's free, no strings attached. We are planning to use advertising to support our operating and development costs.

Now I know this product won't be for everyone, and some may be skeptical about remote diagnosis - which is fine because this product is so new. But we are really aimed to tailor our designs to be the best for shop owners/managers, and customers...as well as gaining exposure for auto repair businesses. Our goal is to get the whole industry electronically connected with customers. Shop owners can control who's vehicle they service, while customers can gain trust about getting the right work done for the job. Since are in Beta in January, we are starting sign ups in hopes of product use, and in hopes that we can get honest feedback for our features.

Customers have shown huge interest in this product, but we are heavily limiting their sign ups this month. We we want to ensure our product is designed with the highest quality before our tentative February full release.

For a quick overview/tutorial on the site:

To sign up in Beta (which will offer full production functionality, but with very limiated customers), please go to https://shop.repairlync.com

Thanks and we appreciate any feedback!

EDIT: Adding Q&A section. There is quite a bit of feedback and questions and we address most of them here:

RepairLync Q&A

- Remote diagnosis is extremely difficult and impossible in many cases. How can your product reliably help us to diagnose vehicles?

We, at RepairLync, agree that remote diagnosis can be iffy for many cases (some will say most or all). This is why, when there is not a clear cut diagnosis, we recommend that the shop sends a (Provision 1) "Diagnosis-only quote". This means that you cannot possibly remotely estimate this vehicle. So you'd treat them as a walk-in - you tell them your diagnosis fee and they decide whether or not to diagnose. If you do not want to even see the vehicle, there is absolutely no obligation to even estimate it, nor give them a "Diagnosis-only quote."

- But even "clear cut" cases can lead to more issues and a bad estimate. How do you handle that?

To a point, it's best to use strategic judgement in what the diagnostic results show. For example, if a P0300 shows as their DTC, this, in no case, is ever clear cut. You would try for Provision 1, "Diagnosis-only quote". However, say there's something more straight-forward, like P0135. This is most likely the O2 sensor itself (not something upstream, since it's the heater circuit). Seems straight forward, so you quote it. Now the customer takes his car in, and you find out they have a bad PCM, really foul plugs that are throwing everything else off, etc. This is where (Provision 2) can be used - disclaimers. You could specify that this fix is ONLY if the O2 sensor is the culprit, which is most of the time. So in many cases, you will be fine. If you find that other issues are the cause, they could pay for the real fix, or pay you only for your diagnosis, after they take the car in. This is part of the customer agreement to RepairLync.

- But if we tell them their diagnosis will cost more, and includes more than what the code shows, they will get angry and we'll lose our reputation.

This is where (Provision 3) kicks in. We, at RepairLync, will work hard to inform the customer that the OBD-II diagnosis is NEVER the full picture until it's visually inspected. This is part of the Terms of Use. We are also working on incorporating it into our videos, our mobile app, website, and every which way a customer can see and be required to agree upon. We are also considering making this a short, concise message that they must always agree to when they diagnose their vehicle.

- This seems like too much time and effort - what's in it for me?

RepairLync is the only free electronic service you will get for your shop. We are incorporating shop feedback into our product, to make it per your requests. So you get free, specifically tailored software. That being said, it will take time to quote these vehicles. We're hoping that the ROI will come with more customers taking their car in to your shop, and even building a high rating in our review system. This would potentially lead to more walk-ins. But besides time, there is nothing to lose monetarily.

- I don't need those extra customers and I already have a good reputation.

RepairLync won't work for everyone. Those that don't need leads, reputation points, or an attempt of increase in customers will probably find RepairLync counter productive. This is absolutely fine, as we admit we're not for everyone. Those who are looking into trying to obtain more customers, build a reputation, or want to get connected electronically may find us of use.

- What are your future plans for release?

We are taking every single line of feedback, in this forum, into consideration. We are working on ensuring that customers know the full picture of remote diagnosis - it is not as straight forward as they tend to think. We are also working on many features for the next far/major release, which includes:

1) Shop management or integration into shop management software

2) Templates or smart searches to know what things cost in the past - so cost lookups won't be as inefficient

3) Live analysis of their OBD-II sensor system. We are looking for algorithms to see if we can further detect issues based on all sensor readings, not just DTCs.

4) Customer reviews - internal to shops - shops can review a customer themselves to determine if they want to even consider the customer.

5) Potentially less battling for the lowest quote, and more so for getting the highest reputation shops visibility. So the higher the reputation, the more visibility they get.

- What about customers - we don't want bottom of the barrel customers who are looking for deep discounts, are irate, etc.

There is no obligation to ever to make a quote or perform work for any customer. However, that there is no way to filter customers without interviewing them, before our customer review system will been put in place. We are trying our best to make sure they are aware of all of the policies. We also take shop feedback seriously - if we hear from a shop that a customer is not doing their part, we have the right to ban them from RepairLync, and delete all of their reviews/history.

- Why did you make this product and why is it free?

The founder and CEO of the RepairLync project is a car nut. He is also a CEO and software engineer with many engineering contacts. Getting the work done is extremely efficient for our product, so that is how we can incorporate feedback without having to deal with huge corporate nonsense. It is free because we want to help both customers and shops in a realm that hasn't been tapped into. We want to ensure both are getting the best quality product at no cost - otherwise, if it costs money, what's the point? You might as well just take your car in anywhere, or the shop can just keep doing their normal business. We do admit that we have development, server, support, etc costs. We will eventually incorporate ads into our mobile app and site to try to recover these costs (e.g. TripAdvisor, Amazon, etc all have these types of ads). But these costs are transparent to you.

- I'm still not interested and this product won't work. It takes away customer interactions and remote diagnosis is impossible.

We made provisions for all possible use-cases. However, if you are not satisfied with these provisions, then we are willing to work to improve them - just let us know and we will see about implementing them. If you feel that the basic concept of RepairLync is flawed, then simply put, RepairLync is not ideal for your business. Continue doing the work you're doing with your auto repair business and we thank you for your time!

- Any other questions? Post them here! Positive, negative, any feedback is welcome.

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