How one person can help you avoid common pitfalls with your garage’s auto repair shop management software
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Posted on Jan 30th 2020
Let’s say you own an auto repair shop or garage, and things are going well. You’ve got lots of new hire employees, with lots of customers and specifically multiple repeat customers. These are your regulars. Now, let’s say you’ve also chosen to invest in auto repair shop management software such as Auto Shop Invoice. Our software allows for multiple user seats, which means that each employee at your shop has a login to use the software.
However, with multiple repeat customers and multiple employees using your software, what’s to keep one of your employees from accidentally creating a duplicate customer entry into your CRM? Or worse, what if duplicate invoices get created and sent to the same customer? (Or even worse, what if the invoices show different amounts?)
Whenever you have multiple people managing one centralized software database, problems are bound to arise. If this sounds like a familiar story for your auto repair shop, then you may be wondering, what can I do as repair shop management to prevent this from happening? Our take: designate one of your employees as your software’s power user.
The power user is a specific point person for your shop management software. If you’ve been around for awhile, you may have heard this power user given many names, including a point person or administrator. All of these terms effectively mean the same thing: one person who takes ownership of your garage’s shop management software.
What do we mean by “take ownership”? Simply put, this is someone who knows the software inside and out. They’re the person that any other of your garage’s employees would go to if they had any questions. This person’s role is to understand the software and make it their mission to make everyone else’s lives easier when it comes to software-related questions and concerns.
For larger shops, this person can be the service writer or someone who works at the front desk and accepts calls. This does not necessarily need to be the case for your shop, however it’s helpful to have someone knowledgeable with customer-facing work who has experience organizing your customer information.
So why is having a power user beneficial, and how can they boost the efficiency of your shop? Read on to find out more!
Prevent duplicate data entered with your software program
Auto Shop Invoice provides a built-in CRM (customer relationship management) software to help our customers keep track of their customers. Additionally, Auto Shop Invoice’s reporting capabilities allow users to see exactly how much their customers have spent over their lifetime coming to the garage. In the Auto Shop Invoice app, this advanced reporting can be viewed for any customer by simply navigating to the Customers tab and then clicking on the customer’s name.
However, if there are duplicate records in your customer database, then you lose the power of the reporting. What good does it do you if you have multiple customer records with the same name? In order to view the reporting, you’d need to view each and every record, and then add up their reporting numbers to get the full picture.
Avoid this common pitfall. Unfortunately, what many customers do is get started using their repair shop management software without a plan, and then end up with lots of duplicate customers down the road. It’s far easier to setup the correct procedures up front to avoid further pain down the line.
Similarly, the last thing you’d want is to have duplicate invoices or inaccurate reporting for a customer’s past invoices. As careful and well-trained as your repair techs may be, human nature is human nature and mistakes are bound to happen. With sensitive monetary data such as invoices, it’s in your garage’s best interests to ensure that the data in your invoices are entered correctly, and that there are no duplicate invoices mistakenly created for one customer.
Accountability and avoiding mistakes
Similar to preventing duplicate data, having a point person will help ensure your data is clean. Data quality is the practice of ensuring all the data entered is incorrect. Misspelled names, wrong email addresses, and wrong phone numbers may not seem like a big deal, but what happens later on if you need to contact the customer later on? What seems like a little mistake can end up causing you a headache in the future. It’s far easier for customer follow-up when you can be 100% confident that all of your data is correct. This also helps with record-keeping later on down the road.
Best practice would be to have your software point person review the invoices and new customers for a given day. Or if your shop has a low volume of new customers, then they can set a reminder for once a week to review that weeks new data entered by your auto repair technicians.
Make software training easier
This is a big one. When it comes to onboarding new employees on your garage’s repair shop management software, it’s far easier to have one informed employee handle training than doing a training by committee. This ensures that your software procedures are standardized, and that every employee follows an established routine. In addition to making sure your processes are streamlined, this also helps with data quality and integrity down the line.
Imagine you have a shop with many different employees who have all been trained to build invoices differently. Maybe some choose to leave thorough internal notes on each invoice, while others are minimalist note takers and leave the Notes section of the invoice builder blank. Once it came time to audit invoices and review your records, you may find yourself asking questions and second-guessing yourself about the invoices with blank Notes. You’ll regret that you didn’t have a single, standardized procedure for adding invoice notes. Having your repair management software’s point person own the process of training your employees would remove any of this variability and save you time down the line.
Let your mechanics do what they do best: repair vehicles
The final reason having a power user is beneficial is simple: having a software specialist frees up your other employees to have less focus on software and more time doing what they were hired to do, which is to repair vehicles. Having one major power user is more efficient for training, learning and mastering new features, and logging support tickets with the Autoshopinoice support team. All of these things contribute to one larger idea, which is that having everyone take ownership of repair management software is the same as having no one take true ownership of your repair management software. So rather than have several people with bits and pieces of software knowledge, consolidate those efforts into one single point person to save time and effort.
Our team is constantly posting fresh best practice information, new feature releases, and important announcements on our blog. Rather than require all of your repair shop’s employees to read the latest blog post when we release a new invoicing feature, for example, you can instead have your point person read our post and then summarize this for your other employees. Similarly, let’s say your team encounters a bug or issue while using our software. Rather than having each and every single employee report this and risk getting separate information from our support team at different times, it’s far easier to have your power user engage our support team for a more efficient support experience.
What a point person is NOT
We want to emphasize that while we strongly recommend having one single owner or point person for your auto shop management software, this is not an excuse to simply throw caution into the wind and allow your other employees to use software without proper training. Put another way, your software point person’s job is not to exclusively clean up other people’s mistakes. Most likely this person will have separate responsibilities too. It’s important that the initial training program your shop has in place gives your employees the best possible chance to build good data hygiene habits right off the bat. The purpose of your software’s point person is simply to enable your shop’s employees to work as efficiently as possible, with the occasional double-checking of other invoices and work.
We hope this post has given owners of garages and auto repair shops several points to think about. Namely, that your auto repair shop management software isn’t going to run itself. Conversely, your software database can not be run well by every employee in your shop. At some point, it simply makes sense to have one of your employees take ownership of your software and processes. This will prevent a whole host of data integrity problems further down the road, it will ensure that your records are organized, and save you as a shop owner time and effort in the long run.