Don’t Call the Customer–Text Them!

When shop managers are asked about their biggest pain points, difficulty communicating with customers most always comes up.

The truck is torn down in the service bay, awaiting a customer callback to approve an addition to the original estimate. Three other trucks are in line to be serviced. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get the disassembled truck back together. The frustrated technician is held up from starting on the other jobs. The tech must either put it back together and get it out of the bay, or wait.

This aggravating scene is hardly new to the shop manager or the technician. Not only is waiting for a callback frustrating, it is also unproductive and increases downtime for the customer. In fact, when shop managers are asked about their biggest pain points, difficulty communicating with customers most always comes up.

Shop-to-customer communication clearly remains a significant challenge. Oddly enough, this is still true even though we live in an age where virtually everyone owns a cell phone. With a readily available phone, it would seem that getting a call back from the customer would not be any big deal, right? Well, it does not always work out that way.

“When shop managers are asked about their biggest pain points, difficulty communicating with customers most always comes up.”

For a variety of reasons, more and more people are avoiding answering phone calls. These days, the words “text me” are heard much more often than “call me.” As a shop manager or service consultant, you can easily make phone calls from the shop’s phone. However, texting is another matter. The text message probably has to go out from a personal cell phone or one provided by the shop. This can be inefficient and a bit of a hassle.

Recognizing that many people find text messaging to be a more efficient and convenient way to communicate, commercial truck service providers are looking for ways to be accommodating. As needs are identified, new technological solutions emerge. One solution is to integrate text messaging right into the shop management system, making it possible to connect with customers quickly.

An example is the new texting option in the Mitchell 1 Manager SE Truck Edition truck shop management software. Mitchell 1 added the feature in response to seeing the popularity of text messaging grow in recent years. With the new texting feature, truck repair shops can easily connect with their customers before, during and after the service or repair.

If you’re looking around for a texting solution having the capability to send texts through a phone number assigned to the shop that is separate from the shop’s voice phone system can take away the inconvenience of giving out a personal phone number. Moreover, customer messages are saved in the system, and may be picked up by anyone in the shop, eliminating out the need to relay messages back and forth when the shop manager or service writer is away.

This is just one example of a solution to help truck repair shops communicate effectively with customers. There is little question that these new ways of communicating are here to stay and will continue to evolve. Good communication between the customer and the shop is critical to not only maintaining an excellent relationship but also in keeping trucks on the road and work flowing through the shop.