Are you and your service advisors currently using a paper auto repair invoice template approach to check customers out once their repairs are finished? Auto repair invoice templates are a basic way to standardize the check out process, however, the cons outnumber the pros.
There are two main types of auto repair invoice templates—paper and digital. When it comes to paper templates, your services advisor might bulk order carbon copies, or they might find a template online and print as many copies as your shop needs. Or, if your shop uses digital templates, your service advisors have to deal with time-consuming digital file management.
With these two options, filling out the forms over and over, be it by handwriting or typing, can become tedious. Additionally, both are less than ideal for record-keeping. Paper can get lost, and digital files can become overwritten or corrupted. Both approaches can become inconvenient to your team members and customers, ultimately slowing things down at your shop. And the impression you give during the payment process can determine whether those customers return or not.
By contrast, a shop management system can simplify the checkout process at your shop, helping you and your team quickly create and send high-quality invoices to customers. The speed and convenience of your invoice process will help you achieve more word-of-mouth-marketing, more sales, and more profits.
Here are four reasons why a shop management system is better than an auto repair invoice template approach for your business.
Reason 1: The Invoicing Process Will Become Faster for Your Team & Customers
Think about how much time the auto repair invoice template approach requires.
If you’re using paper, service advisors need to grab carbon copies or print the templates and then fill them out by hand so they can give them to customers. Then, service advisors will have to collect payment from customers in person, and those customers might have to wait in line for quite some time if your service advisors also need to fill out everything.
If you’ve gone the digital route with your auto repair invoice templates, service advisors will have to go through the steps of typing the details into the digital template, emailing or printing it to customers, processing the customers in person (since the customers won’t be able to fill out the forms online unless they’ve got a PDF signature app), and then re-uploading the completed invoices to your shop’s computers and giving them the right file names and sorting them into the right folder.
On the flip side, with a shop management system, your service advisors will be able to quickly email or text customers a link to the invoice that they can sign right from their phones. And if you use Tekmerchant Text-to-Pay, customers will be able to pay directly from their smartphones. In turn, service advisors will spend less time processing customers who are checking out. Additionally, customers can pay quickly, instead of having to stand in line at your shop.
Reason 2: More Convenient for Everyone Involved
Another benefit of a shop management system over an auto repair invoice template approach is that it offers greater convenience for everyone involved.
Think about how inconvenient an auto repair invoice template approach can be. Service advisors have to stop what they’re doing to grab or print the invoices, deal with organizing those files, track down customers to collect payment, and find a place to save the files or paperwork once all is said and done. And customers have to be at your shop in person to pay. By having to jump through so many hoops, service advisors are pulled away from incoming guests and assisting technicians.
But with a shop management system, your service advisors can continue providing excellent service to incoming guests with minimal disruptions. They can use Tekmetric to quickly generate and send invoices, which takes significantly less time and effort. Your service advisors can keep flowing through the process of checking in customers, building estimates, and selling repair work.
As for your customers, if your shop has Tekmerchant, they can pay from wherever they are at their own convenience. And if you set up a drop-box system, they can pick up their vehicle whenever it works best for them. Customers have more freedom to run errands or return to work without having to beat rush hour traffic to make it to the front desk before closing time. What’s more, when customers can pay at their own convenience, service advisors won’t have to worry about needing to hang around the shop past close to accommodate late customers.
Reason 3: Better Tracking and Record-Keeping for Your Shop
Sometimes, your team will need to pull up a prior invoice. Maybe a customer calls your shop wanting to remember what they paid for and when. Or, in a worst-case scenario, maybe a customer calls their bank for a credit card chargeback against your shop, and your shop needs to get documentation in order to defend itself. Unfortunately, using a paper or digital auto repair invoice template approach makes it tough to keep track of invoice histories at your shop.
Paper templates can quickly get disorganized. Service advisors might find themselves digging through stacks of boxes or file cabinets to locate a previous invoice. Digital templates can become disorganized as well. Service advisors might have to search through folder after folder on a desktop or laptop to locate the right invoice. Another service advisor might have saved a file by a non-standard name or mistyped the file name, making it nearly impossible to find the invoice without spending a lot of time poking through files. Digital files stored on a desktop or hard drive are also easy to overwrite or delete on accident.
However, with a shop management system like Tekmetric, record-keeping becomes a smooth, stress-free endeavor, and you can better safeguard your shop. Your service advisors will create and send invoices, customers will sign and pay those invoices, and then Tekmetric will save those records. If a service advisor wants to find a particular invoice, they can quickly search inside of Tekmetric and pull it up within seconds. No more spending extra time digging through files, physical or virtual.
Tekmetric makes other foundational documentation searchable for your shop, too. If a service advisor sends part of a payment to your accounts receivable department, for instance, they can later access how much individual customers owe on their balances. If down the line, a service advisor wants to sell work that a customer previously declined, the service advisor can access that customer’s profile, see what they declined and when, and call up that customer to remind them that it’s time for another visit.
Reason 4: Generate More Business and More Profits
As inconsequential as it might sound, changing something as simple as an invoice template to a shop management system with a text-to-pay option can lead to much more business for your shop.
Consider which customer is more likely to be super impressed and return to your shop?
- Customer A, who had to rush back to your shop before closing to wait in line to pay
- Customer B, who paid from their smartphone at their own convenience
You guessed it… customer B! They likely drove away from the shop impressed that the check-out process was so simple, similar to placing an online order for food or clothing. So much of the modern customer experience revolves around the speed and convenience of digital options. And although we sometimes brush over the seemingly small details, the small details can end up making the biggest differences.
The customer who has an easier time paying for their repair will be more likely to sing praises about your shop to their friends and family, getting new customers through your doors. And the service advisor who has an easier time locating repair and invoice records will have an easier time calling up past customers to remind them to come back for additional repair work.
And while the invoice stage is an important part of the repair process, it shouldn’t be the only stage you simplify for your team members and customers. To make the best impression possible on your customers, and make life as easy as possible for your team members, you should look for a shop management system that covers you throughout different stages and elements of the repair process, including inspections and estimates, inventory management, and reporting on metrics so you can see how well your shop is performing.
As you research different options on the market, be sure to ask the right questions, demo each system, and get your team’s input. Additionally, be sure to get a good sense of the team behind every solution you’re considering. Switching to a shop management system after you’ve been running your checkout process with an auto repair invoice template approach can feel like a daunting task. After all, it’s a major change, and change can sometimes take some time to get used to. But the right onboarding and customer success team can guide you through the switch, answer your questions, and teach you all the tips and tricks you need to get your brand new invoice process rolling.
If you and your team members work together to carefully evaluate each option, you’ll end up with a solution that everyone at your shop loves—customers included.