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Revamp Your Automotive Repair Order Form Process to Get Better Business Results

Without the right tools to guide you towards a better workflow and customer experience, it’s easy to get lost. Consider modernizing your automotive repair order form.

shop owner and technician looking over tablet together

Navigating the estimate and repair process starts with an automotive repair order form. And a manual process may create more work for your team. Your service advisors are trying to move everything along quickly and accurately, but they're human and mistakes do happen.

With a manual automotive repair order form process, it can be easy for service advisors to get lost in the hustle due to typos, illegible handwriting, or estimates saved in the wrong place. You might also find that it’s difficult to guide your business with a manual estimate and repair order process because data collection can become an enormous challenge.

Using traditional automotive repair order forms is kind of like trying to navigate a road trip with a paper map: it can be easy to get lost in the process, and once you’re lost, it can be difficult to get back on track. Nowadays, paper maps are just one of our endless choices for navigation tools, and how many drivers still use them?

We’ve got the world at our fingertips with GPS and smartphones. These modern digital solutions make us feel more comfortable navigating the unknown. They minimize our risk of getting lost in the first place, and even if we do stray off the intended path, we can rest assured that they’ll guide us back with near-instant reorientation. For most of us, opting for the more efficient choice, digital maps, is an easy one.  

As a shop owner, you use a mix of practical knowledge and industry research to inform business decisions on a daily basis. And as your shop continues to grow, your choices will have an even bigger impact on your team, your customers, and your business. Navigating these big picture decisions like selecting the right shop management system can be difficult, especially when you’ve got other process decisions to worry about, like choosing the best automotive repair order form. The good news is that we’ve got your back and we’re here to walk you through it.

We’re all familiar with automotive repair order forms in this industry. A standard automotive repair order form usually isn’t more than a page or two. It contains vital information like the work to be done on a vehicle, any parts to be ordered, and a cost estimate of all the services to be provided. The trusty pen and paper automotive repair order form has been a repair shop staple for decades, and we get it. The traditional method is familiar, comfortable, and gets the job done. You might even say, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

We’re glad you asked. We’ve compiled a list of ways that your automotive repair order form process may be holding your shop back from reaching its true potential.

Where the Manual Automotive Repair Order Form Process Falls Short

A traditional automotive repair order form might guide you towards a sale in the same way that using a paper map might eventually get you from Point A to Point B. But as a shop owner, you need tools that are reliable. Here are some ways your current automotive repair order form process might not be driving the business results you want to see.

Obscured Data

If your shop’s estimate and repair process is still tied to more traditional methods, your data might not be very accessible. Your service advisors might run into a few snags while trying to pull up any prior declined jobs, sales, or repair order data. And trying to locate a misplaced document can eat up a lot of time, but locating the data is only half the battle. To make sense of all the data from repair orders, you’ve then got to manually crunch all the numbers yourself. Paper maps obscure data in the same way. They lack the ability to save routes and destinations or track your travel progress in real time. Not to mention, if your map goes missing—like an automotive repair order form saved to the wrong folder on your computer—you’ve instantly become lost.

Poor Legibility

A messy automotive repair order form can really throw a wrench in your shop’s workflow and sales process. Your technicians and service writers have limited time to move repair orders forward, and your customers deserve their full attention. More time spent trying to decode an illegible automotive repair order form means less time answering the phone for prospective customers or tending to the customers that are already in your shop supporting your business. By the time the phones do get answered, your team often has no choice but to tell the customer on the line, “I’m sorry, no, we can’t get you in this week” or “No, we don’t have time for that.” And the resulting financial loss can be devastating over time. According to Ratchet and Wrench, the “cost of saying ‘no’ to customers” might even cost some shops upwards of $23,000 in just one year. Think about all the gas, time, and energy you burn through when a poorly-drawn map gets you lost. The same goes for manual automotive repair order forms.  

Limited Space

When using a traditional automotive repair order form, your service writers have to fit their assessment into narrow boxes, directly limiting their ability to effectively communicate necessary repairs. Traditional forms lack the space for any prior customer or vehicle concerns, which means your team may not be getting the full picture on any given RO. In an industry plagued by mistrust and stereotypes, customer trust is essential to maintaining and growing your business. In the same way that you might not be able to trust a broad state map to help you navigate a particular city, customers may not put faith in your technicians and shop when looking at a general estimate missing all the specifics.

Inconvenienced Customers

Customers feel the same way about paper receipts and paper estimates as most of us do about a glove compartment crammed full of paper maps: inconvenienced and overwhelmed. Your customers lead busy lives and might dread coming into the shop because of the time commitment alone. Relying on a traditional automotive repair order form process means taking up even more of their time by tying them to your shop with in-person authorizations and payments.

How Digitizing Your Automotive Repair Order Form Process Can Drive Your Sales, Your Team, and Your Success

Easily Access Your Shop’s Data

Tekmetric’s Shop Management System is a reliable cloud-based system, so you never have to worry about misplacing an automotive repair order form again. Instead of combing through files and trying to piece together clues like a detective, Tekmetric links your customer records, declined jobs list, and other real-time reports with easy round-the-clock access for the whole shop, which means less late nights at the shop crunching numbers. Tekmetric also recognizes returning customers and can populate ROs with their prior information, saving your service writers hours each year.

Improve Legibility

Typed reports are easy for everyone to read, minimizing the potential problems that come with difficult-to-decipher automotive repair order forms. With Tekmetric, the whole team can hop on the same RO at the same time, driving teamwork and communication further than ever. Remember: more time spent tending to prospective customers on the phones is more opportunity to say “yes” to customers. Help your team focus on the tasks at hand and get customers back on the road. Your customers and financial forecast will thank you.

Get the Full Picture

With a digitized automotive repair order form, space is no longer limited. Service writers can use as much (or as little) space as they need to effectively communicate service suggestions in a transparent fashion. Tekmetric’s DVI solution takes clarity one step further by allowing technicians to add pictures and videos of any concerns to the holistic Digital Vehicle Inspections. A handy color-coded system even lets customers know which concerns are most time-sensitive. Build customer trust and loyalty by empowering customers to make informed decisions about their vehicles, and help prevent them from running into bigger problems down the road.  

Give Your Customers More Freedom

Drivers are looking for reliability and convenience. With a digital automotive repair order form process, customers are no longer physically tied to your shop. Tekmetric lets customers approve authorizations and even complete the payment process directly from their phones, giving them the freedom to step away for a business meeting or go to their kid’s soccer game. By honoring your customers’ time, they are much more likely to leave a positive review, and in turn, drive more business to your shop. Show customers you care and become the go-to shop for their family and friends.

Guide Your Team, Your Customers, and Your Business in the Right Direction

A traditional automotive repair order form might be getting the job done, but if your shop is still tied to this traditional method of recordkeeping, your business is likely expending time, energy, and resources that could be spent growing your shop instead. By digitizing your automotive repair order form process, you can improve workflow, build customer trust, and cultivate a shop where everyone wins.

Get Better Business Results With Tekmetric

Your automotive repair order form process shouldn’t create more work for you. Invest in a shop management system that guides your business forward instead of holding you back.

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