Review the following repair scenario and try to spot the major mistake the shop makes.
A worried customer drops off her 2010 Chevrolet Silverado at Joe’s Garage in the late afternoon after a dash warning light comes on. The customer also requests a brake and suspension inspection. A technician finds time near the end of the day to run some tests, examine the vehicle and pass his recommendation to the shop manager. The following morning the manager picks up the phone to check parts prices. Then, he calls the customer who agrees on the work. That afternoon, parts are delivered; the technician completes the work and turns the vehicle over to the owner.
Catch the big problem? Go back to the section where the parts manager picks up the phone for prices. Many shops do this very thing all day long. Somewhat buried in this scenario is the fact that while calling for parts may “get the job done,” it also can cost shops significantly in lost time, efficiency, productivity, money and customer satisfaction, all of which could have been prevented if repairers made parts ordering an online-focused procedure.
Succeeding in business in the 21st century means using 21st-century solutions. In the automotive service industry, that means conducting as much business as possible online where efficiency and productivity are at a premium. When it comes to parts, the best deals on the best parts exist online.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to become familiar with RepairLink (www.repairlinkshop.com), a one-stop, around the clock site for pricing, ordering and sourcing repair information on OEM parts for 22 automotive brands. RepairLink’s benefits could be helping your shop right now:
Convenience. Go back to the repair scenario for a moment. Note that the estimate is prepared at the end of the day. Calling around after hours for parts can be pointless since many, maybe most, dealer parts departments will be closed.
RepairLink, though, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide parts pricing and availability. That translates into little downtime for your business, which is critical today since 52 percent of OEM orders are made after the dealer is closed, according to Bonnie Coleman, an associate mechanical product manager for RepairLink, powered by OEC.
Being able to order after traditional hours means you can get a jump on delivery times for the next day. Orders can be processed sooner, which could speed up deliveries so work doesn’t have to wait.
During work hours, RepairLink also offers advantages. Prices pop up immediately, so there’s no waiting around on hold. With ordering functions, you don’t need to spend additional time calling the dealer. Because multiple OEMs and dealers are available in a single location, there’s no lost time reaching out to multiple parts sources.
If that wasn’t enough, RepairLink operates on PCs, tablets and mobile devices, allowing your shop to conduct business practically anywhere. RepairLink also is free to use and runs on popular Web browsers like Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, along with Firefox and Chrome. There shouldn’t be any need to upgrade your shop technology. No installation is required, so there’s never any time lost using the product.
RepairLink is a preferred service method for your dealers who can spend less time on the phone and more offering your shop great service.
Industry Trend: Online parts purchases has never been stronger. Sales at auto parts stores and tire stores is slowing to a modest 1% increase in 2015 while online parts sales posted a 16% surge in the same time period (Hedges Co.)
Savings. Along with saving time, RepairLink can cut parts costs. Customer specific dealer pricing is available, as is access to price promotions and programs available on OEM sites. For example, RepairLink incorporates GM’s Maintenance and Repair Solution (MARS) program that offers special pricing on select OEM parts among other OEMs with special pricing programs.
Accuracy. Locating all the parts needed for a repair, while avoiding nonessentials will have to be returned, can waste time and money. RepairLink helps ensure shops get just the parts they need with detailed illustrations of parts and systems.
“If there are any questions, you can get pictures and descriptions of any major system of a car,” explains Jean Mennacchio of Frankfort Auto Clinic in Frankfort, Ill. “I show the mechanic a picture of the parts he believes he needs. He circles it, and I confirm it online.”
Ease of use. Register online, create an account, and RepairLink is ready to go. Simply enter the VIN, and RepairLink takes care of the rest with a complete listing of parts for that specific vehicle. Searches also can be performed with vehicle year, make and model. No training is required since RepairLink is designed to work intuitively, allowing employees to quickly locate the information they need.
Quality. By ordering OEM parts, you always get top of the line products engineered to fit right the first time and provide the performance for which a vehicle was designed. OEM parts can also provide durability and warranties giving both the customer and shop peace of mind for the long term.
Competitiveness. In just the past year, Coleman says RepairLink has seen a 61 percent jump in shops using the tool with a 44 percent increase in orders. More than 60,000 shops already use RepairLink, giving them a business advantage that could be working for you.
Consider how the daily repair scenarios at your shop could improve simply by adopting the same tools the rest of the industry is moving to. Great parts, great pricing, quick service, high productivity and happy customers. This isn’t just some pipe dream. It’s the way the industry is doing business outside your windows today—the same way you could be right now.
RepairLink Facts (2016 vs. 2015):
- 61% increase in shops ordering from dealers through RepairLink
- 44% increase in the number of orders being placed
- Over 52% of orders are placed when a dealership is closed
Check out www.repairlinkshop.com to see if your local dealers are enrolled and you can start to save time and money on OE Parts.