According to research by IBISWorld, the size of the auto repair industry in the U.S. has surged to $69 billion dollars a year, driven by more than 271,000 businesses — from single-location shops to large nationwide franchises — who collectively provide over 577,000 jobs in communities and cities from coast to coast.
No Slowdown in Sight
Market research firm Future Market Insights highlights that the U.S. auto repair industry is projected to expand at a 5.8% CAGR through 2027 due to a convergence of factors, such as:
- An increase in the average age of vehicles due to technological advancements.
- An increase in the average number of miles driven per vehicle.
- The increased complexity of vehicles, which is making it more difficult and undesirable for vehicle owners to perform do-it-yourself repairs and maintenance.
- Increasing consumer awareness regarding vehicle safety and performance.
- Increasing number of used car sales.
While the auto repair industry is booming and growing, auto repair shops are facing stiff — and in some areas, relentless — competition. As noted by Dun and Bradstreet in their profile of the automotive repair and maintenance services industry: “The US industry is highly fragmented, with the 50 largest companies generating less than 10% of revenue.”
This is welcome news for consumers (both individuals and commercial clients with fleets), since it means that there are plenty of choices in the marketplace. However, it is a major challenge for auto repair shops — particularly smaller ones — who need to stand out from the crowd, while at the same time increase operational efficiency, improve communications, and generate a roster of satisfied, profitable customers.
Fortunately, that is where our state-of-the-art hosted VoIP phone system helps auto repair shops thrive and grow — while REDUCING their telecommunications costs vs. increasing them!
- Increase Call Coverage: Most auto repair shops don’t have enough staff to answer all calls, especially during peak times of the year. As a result, customers are forced to leave a voicemail, which they find frustrating. What’s more, many customers who need urgent service — such as the aftermath of an accident — won’t even leave a message. Instead, they’ll hang up and call the next auto repair shop on their list. With our VoIP phone system, auto repair shops instantly increase call coverage through features like call forwarding, call routing, ring groups, system-wide unified dialing plans, IP paging, and hosted contact centers. Instead of hearing: “We’re sorry, nobody is available to take your call, please leave a message”, customers hear: “Thank you for calling, how may I help you?”
Voicemail to Email: Despite the increased call coverage discussed above, there are still going to be occasions when customers need to leave voicemails — such as when they call after hours. Our hosted VoIP phone system offers built-in voicemail to email, which allows the recipient to pick up voicemails as email attachments. Furthermore, these audio files can be saved as a reference (e.g. new instructions from a customer about a scheduled service) and forwarded as necessary (e.g. a receptionist passing along information to a service advisor).
- Consistently Clear and Reliable Call Quality: Many auto repair shops operate in older buildings that use copper wire infrastructure to run a standard landline telephone system. As a result, annoying static and dropped calls are frequent — especially during rain, due to erosion of insulation around underground wiring. Our hosted VoIP phone system completely bypasses an antiquated copper wire infrastructure, and instead uses high-speed broadband (the same advanced technology that auto repair shops use to connect to the internet to surf the web, send emails, transfer files, etc.) As a result, call quality is consistently clear and reliable — which means no static and no dropped calls, regardless of the weather.
- Affordably and Easily Onboard Seasonal and Temp Workers: Auto repair shops routinely onboard seasonal and temp workers to meet demand spikes. With a standard landline phone system, giving these new hires their own phone number — let alone their own phone — is a non-starter, because it’s financially out of the question. However, it’s both feasible and affordable with our hosted VoIP phone system. Within minutes, new hires can download an app on their mobile phone (iOS or Android) and make and receive calls over the system, as well as communicate with colleagues through instant messaging. What’s more, when workers make outgoing calls to customers, suppliers, insurance companies or anyone else, the auto repair shop’s information is displayed on the recipient’s caller ID — not the worker’s personal information, even though they are using their personally-owned smartphone.
- Boost Customer Service and Sales: Our hosted VoIP system allows auto repair shops to record a custom message that is played for customers while they’re on hold. For example, during a cold snap that coats the roads in ice — and leads to everything from dead batteries to fender benders — customers can be told about extended service hours, or be provided with a 24-hour number for a towing service. Or, customers can be told about special promotions, such as discounts on a comprehensive safety inspection, tune up, brake service, and the list goes on. Regardless of the content of the messages (or music if preferred), the end result is that customers on hold are informed vs. annoyed.
- Connect with Other Locations: Many auto repair shops have two or more locations. Staying connected through a conventional phone system can be tedious and time consuming. With our hosted VoIP phone system, auto repair shops with multiple locations can quickly connect with each other by dialing a 3-digit extension, or by sending instant messages from a smartphone or web-based softphone. They can also instantly check the status of a colleague before reaching out (e.g. available, busy, away from desk, on the road, etc.).
- Business Continuity: The last thing that an auto repair shop can afford is to go “off the grid” in the event of a local power outage — because if that happens, customers head to a competitor. Our VoIP phone system is designed to continue operating even in the event of a local power outage, from relatively short brownouts (which are increasingly common due to the nation’s aging and over-burdened power grid), to longer blackouts caused by severe weather, natural disasters, or man-made emergencies. Auto repair shops can also forward calls to any other phone, including landlines.
- Substantially Reduce Year-Over-Year Telecommunication Costs: Our hosted VoIP phone system operates at a much lower cost vs. a conventional on-premise landline phone system, with many auto repair shops poised to save 50% or more each year. There are no major upfront capital expenditures, no domestic long distance costs, no maintenance costs, and all ongoing technical support, upgrades and innovations are handled by our expert U.S.-based team. Plus, unlike conventional phone companies that always increase fees, our affordable pricing is fixed and predictable — which makes forecasting and budgeting easy.
- Cloud Faxing: Many insurance companies prefer to fax rather than email documents, such as details about which components of a vehicle are eligible for repairs per a claim. In addition, many auto parts vendors prefer to fax orders and confirmations. Out hosted VoIP phone system integrates seamlessly with our affordable Cloud Faxing Solution, so that auto repair shops can communicate effectively with insurance companies, parts vendors, and other key stakeholders who need or want to fax vs. email.
- Advanced Calling Features: Our hosted VoIP phone system provides auto repair shops with a full range of advanced calling features to increase productivity, performance, efficiency, worker safety, customer satisfaction, and profitability. Features include (but are not limited to) live call transfer, video calling, conferencing, paging, intercom, presence, and the list goes on.
To learn more about how our hosted VoIP phone system will help your auto repair shop thrive and grow — while you reduce costs, enhance efficiency and increase customer satisfaction — call the Carolina Digital Phone team today at 336-544-4000. We can connect with you in-person, or over the web.