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Below is a link to an article about Obenbay's debut with an online virtual service advisor. Is this the future? Or will technology remove that personal touch. For me, someone that has built a business on strong relationships and human customer touch points, this is something I am not sure of. But then again, what about the millennials and the Z generation? https://www.openbay.com/blog/openbay-launches-industry-first-artificial-intelligence-powered-automotive-service-advisor/
Is it just me? or does it seem that lately there are a lot of businesses being started that insert themselves into the flow of existing transactions only to harvest your profits and lesson the margins of those doing the work and accepting responsibility (us). I am referring to technology companies: Repair Pal, Openbay, CarFix and now Blockchain to mention a few. It is frustrating to me after having built a business (brick and mortar), purchased equipment, hired employees, provide training, accepted full responsibility and risk, supported my community only to have a startup backed by money hungry venture capitalists attempt to erode our profit margin. I find the statements from co-founder Vladimir Lupenko of Blockchain in this months Ratchet & Wrench extremely arrogant: "The repair industry is huge, and people always get cheated" "We use reputable and undisputable technical data to set the market and price rate". Vladimir goes on to say "Based on our contractual agreement , the repair shop will have to provide the service at the price we have calculated". As good shop owners, protective of our future, we best rally against this technology, this Wolf in sheep's clothing. My research of these companies leads me to believe that no good will come from their involvement in our businesses. We, as independent shop owners, are operating in an industry some see as ripe for consolidation and this technology is just one of the signs. I ask that anyone reading this post refuse to participate. The involvement of these companies is not a 'quick fix' for a shop needing car count. Their intention is to drive down your prices, recruit price shopping customers only and mine your data base for their benefit. If our industry sees their existence as a threat and together, refuse to become a member of their organization, they will disappear. Without shops to refer to they lose all value to the consumer and will not be able to return a profit to their investors. To read the complete article, follow this link: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/5504-how-blockchain-technology-could-affect-your-shop To support this research here is a seperate article from this months Ratchet & Wrench magazine discussing how to price your services for long term health and growth: https://www.ratchetandwrench.com/articles/4841-how-to-price-to-gain-customer-loyalty?utm_medium=email&utm_source=utm_code
Openbay has partnered with AutoZone Inc. to enable Boston-area consumers to comparison shop and book automotive repair and maintenance services with a network of local professionals directly from autozone.com. I don't know how you feel, but is this really where we are headed? An online service, now partnered with a Parts Company, that gives prices over the internet and comparisons to other shops. Am I stuck in the past, or concerned about our future??? Here's an article on the topic: http://www.ratchetandwrench.com/RatchetWrench/June-2015/Openbay-Partners-with-AutoZone/