Retain More Customers With Auto Repair Estimating Software

Win more business with a smooth inspections and estimates process. See how the right auto repair estimating software will get your customers to come back.

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Smooth inspections and estimates can help you win over and retain customers. There are various solutions for inspections and estimates, but some are better than others.

The truth is that estimates tie into professionalism. When the first oral surgeon gave you an estimate for your wisdom tooth removal surgery, they helped you:

  • Manage your expectations: You knew what kind of procedure to expect, and how much you could expect to pay for it.
  • See that the office cared about your wellbeing: The oral surgeon and their staff wanted you to make the best choice possible and gave you a resource to accomplish that.
  • Have a reference point for the future if any issues come up: For example, if you got charged a couple of hundred dollars more after your procedure, you’d have documentation to show that the extra cost wasn’t part of the plan.

Wisdom tooth removal surgery isn’t cheap. Neither is auto repair work.

Just like a professional oral surgeon’s office explains to patients what their options are and how much they should expect to pay for procedures, a professional auto repair shop shows drivers what their repair work options are and how much they should expect to pay for repairs.

That professionalism is what helps you win over and retain more customers. If your customers are deciding between different auto repair shops, they’ll likely stick with the business that shows the most professionalism.

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What Makes Inspections and Estimates High-Quality?

What do we mean by “high-quality”? In our experience, the building blocks of high-quality records are inspections and estimates that

  • Offer clarity (are easy to understand)
  • Offer accuracy
  • Are professional
  • Offer room for customer choice and feedback
  • Open the pathway to effective communication

But before we explore these characteristics further, let’s look at the different types of inspections and estimates.

Comparing Different Inspection Approaches

There are three main ways to put together inspections and estimates at auto repair shops:

  1. Via pen and paper
  2. Digitally, but without software
  3. With auto repair estimating software

We know there are different variations of all three of these methods. For example, with pen and paper, you may use pre-printed inspection forms and have technicians check boxes and scribble notes as they work.

As for digital, you can use emails or spreadsheets. For the purposes of this piece, we’ll be sticking to the email method in examples.

And of course, there are different options for auto repair estimating software on the market.

Auto repair estimating software is the best method if you want to leverage the benefits of high-quality inspections and estimates. But not all auto repair estimating software solutions are built the same.

Auto Repair Estimating Software Features to Look For

There are several features that make auto repair estimating software truly high-quality:

The most important feature? Digital vehicle inspections. At a basic level, digital vehicle inspections enable technicians to quickly punch in inspection details into software via their tablets or smartphones. And by going with auto repair estimating software like Tekmetric that has a well-built digital vehicle inspections feature, technicians will be able to:

  • Clearly list out specific findings, minimizing the chance of misunderstandings about the type of repairs needed
  • Attach photos and videos to inspections to better show customers what the issues with their vehicles are
  • Categorize repairs by severity; Tekmetric has a color-coded system technicians can use to show customers which repairs need work done ASAP, which repairs can wait for a bit, and what’s A-OK with their vehicles

And thanks to Tekmetric, service advisors can email or text customers those inspections and estimates.

Customers can then approve or decline specific jobs from wherever they are, be it waiting at the coffee shop next door or lounging on their couch at home—there’s no need for them to hang around at your shop.

Of course, if they want to wait at your shop, they’re more than welcome to. But many customers will appreciate staying in the loop about their repairs if they do decide to do something else.

And because this all happens through auto repair estimating software, the service advisors will be able to see exactly which jobs customers authorized, minimizing the chances of miscommunication and customer frustration.

The Advantages of Auto Repair Estimating Software

1. Clarity

Auto repair estimating software significantly increases the clarity your customers have about repair work at your shop. With the right solution, customers will be able to read specific findings on an inspection, understand exactly what work they need done, and directly approve the repairs they want on the included estimate.

No more struggling to read the handwriting on a paper estimate, nor will they have to repeat themselves over the phone to make sure they’re understood correctly after reading the email a service advisor typed out.

Additionally, if the auto repair estimating software has search functionality for inspections and estimates, customers will be able to quickly get their questions answered because service advisors can look up details in seconds.

Auto Repair Estimating Software That Provides Clarity

Tekmetric gives customers the ultimate clarity on inspections and estimates.

Once a service advisor sends a customer their inspection and estimate, the customer can see each repair their vehicle needs. As a bonus, customers can also get a transparent look at the urgency of each specific repair, thanks to Tekmetric’s color-coded approach. All repair work, and the urgency of that work, is clearly spelled out.

And, by being able to attach photos and videos to the digital vehicle inspection, customers can see for themselves what’s going on.

When customers can see with their own eyes that their car’s engine is seriously rusted, they’re more likely to place their trust in your team. Anything you and your team can do to show customers that you’re acting in good faith will help customers trust you more.

You and your team can personalize the inspection process even more by taking the time to sit down with customers and review the results so you can help them budget repairs more efficiently, like what Aaron Smith and his employees over at S&S Auto Repair do.

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Take it from Smith at S&S Auto: “If a technician brings us a digital inspection and there is a lot of stuff in red, we can go through and break them down into the three categories of safety, maintenance, and repairs. In each category, we break it down further: this needs to be done today, this can wait until your next oil change, and this one we can work on in the next six months, but you need to budget for it.”

2. Accuracy

Auto repair estimating software is the most effective way your team can ensure that customers get accurate inspection and estimate details.

Because they can view the inspections technicians put together in one main system, service advisors can create estimates without having to open multiple tabs, decipher difficult-to-read handwriting, etc.

And in turn, customers will gain the benefit of inspections and estimates that are as accurate as possible.

Accuracy for Your Customers

Because Tekmetric runs on the cloud, technicians can punch in inspection details on a tablet or smartphone while they work, and color-code each inspection finding by severity.

From there, service advisors can view all the inspection details, put together the estimate portion, and send everything off to the customer.

The customer can then check off exactly which repairs they want, and decline the repairs they don’t want. No copying and pasting and deciphering tricky handwriting involved—for anyone!

3. Professionalism

Whether we like it or not, customers judge all businesses by their level of professionalism, and you might be surprised at how the little things add up.

Your shop’s inspections and estimates are one of the most effective ways you can show your customers how professional your shop is across the board—and a huge part of professionalism is standardization.

Pen and paper can easily look unprofessional, and out dated. Modern customers have modern expectations, and will happily rather have their inspection findings emailed to them.

That's where a shop management system comes in, standardized your intake process

Professionalism in a Flash

For example, default inspection templates make it easy for your team can put together inspections and estimates with the same general appearance over time, and customers will notice! Customers will also be able to directly approve the work they want done and decline the work they want to hold off on. No confusion.

Your customers will be impressed by your shop’s consistency, the look of the inspections and estimates, and they’ll also be relieved that they can easily access that documentation for future reference.

They won’t have to worry about hunting down a paper inspection or trying to remember exactly what they approved over a typed-out email estimate if they need to reference something later on.

4. Effective Communication

What goes hand-in-hand with increased customer agency? Pathways to effective communication. Part of giving your customers agency over the repair work they approve and decline, and the rest of the process, is making it easy for them to communicate with your team.

Auto Repair Estimating Software

The right auto repair estimating software opens up multiple reliable communication pathways for customers, especially given that many customers won’t be sitting around at your shop.

Instead of having to play telephone or email tag, for example, customers can message your shop, and every service advisor logged into the system will see it. From there, one of those service advisors can answer the question or give an update.

Customers won’t have to deal with disparate communication and can have peace of mind that your team will receive their messages and respond to them in a timely manner.

So let’s return to the example we used above, where the technician finds an additional issue that wasn’t included in the initial estimate.

With an auto repair estimating software solution that lets service advisors reach out via email and text, it’s more likely that the customer will see the message, even if they’re busy with errands or in a meeting, and they can promptly authorize the additional work or ask questions before there’s a major hold up.

Simplify Every Step

Service advisors don’t have to call or walk up to technicians to ask them about the severity of repairs, and technicians don’t have to call or walk up to service advisors to clarify whether or not a customer gave the go-ahead for specific jobs.

When your team members interrupt each other less, they’ll be able to better enter and maintain a state of flow, which will help them knock out tasks more efficiently.

They’ll also get along better with each other, and your customers will notice! When they see that everyone gets along, customers will trust your shop more. Think about your own experiences—when you go to the dentist, don’t you feel more at ease and trusting when you see that the dentist and dental assistants all get along? Your customers feel the same.

Learn how to Modernize Your Shop to Drive Success

As you’re researching different solutions by doing things like determining which features you need, reading software reviews, sifting through common myths, attending demos, and more, keep your eyes and ears open.

Make sure any solution you implement at your shop has all the features you need. Don’t assume that a particular solution will tick off all your desired boxes. Perhaps the solution you’re evaluating is missing a key feature that would defeat the purpose of you even rolling it out for your team.

Also, we can’t stress this enough—get your team involved in the decision-making process! They’ll be using the software daily, after all, and it’s important that you go with something they’ll feel comfortable using.

By modernizing and advancing beyond pen and paper and clunky emails (or other non-software-based digital methods), you’ll open the doors to increased transparency, greater customer agency, more sales, better recording keeping, and enhanced team collaboration—just to name several benefits.

You can still keep your notepad and pen around for times when you want to jot down a reminder, and email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But ultimately, you’ll feel more at ease when your business is turbocharged with a shop management system.

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