Dec 04, 2018

Key Factors for a Reliable Repair Shop

Key Factors for a Reliable Repair Shop

If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ll know that breakdowns are just the worst. Especially if you’re a truck driver with a heat-sensitive shipment of Batman-shaped ice cream bars in the back. I mean, that’s like the Batmobile breaking down mid-chase, right? Total bummer. 

Being the rockstar reliable truck repair shop that can rescue Batman and every other heavy duty vehicle on the road is no small feat. But fear not! Here’s exactly what you need to know about being the trusty, reliable Alfred your customers need.

Invest in High-Quality Equipment and Tools

Stock your service center with a full array of reliable, high-quality tools that won’t have their own breakdowns halfway through dealing with a heavy duty truck’s breakdown. That’s a breakdown-ception that no one wants to deal with.

We’re talking sockets, ratchets, hammers, pullers, presses, wrenches, and everything else on this handy list of heavy duty tools. Don’t forget safety gear and diagnostics tools, either.

And don’t forget about modern, efficient digital tools either, including software tools like–drumroll, please–Fullbay! Truck repair shop software can help you with nearly every aspect of shop operations, from estimates and invoicing to service order workflows and inventory management.

In short, digital tools help you stay organized, increase efficiency, and provide more consistent results, making you a more reliable truck repair shop for customers overall.

Comprehensive Services and Flexible Payment Options

If you want to be a customer’s go-to repair shop, then you need to offer what your customer needs, when they need it, how they need it.

The ability to accept flexible payment options (such as embedded fleet payments) gives customers peace of mind that working with you won’t cause any logistical headaches on their side. Credit cards? Yup. ACH payments? No problem! Fleet cards and fleet checks? Hand it over!

It’s also huge if you can be their one-stop shop for repair and maintenance. Offering a comprehensive service menu lets them rest easy knowing you can handle any issue they throw your way.

A lot of repair shops specialize in a particular type of heavy equipment, whether that’s diesel trucks or emergency vehicles or construction equipment. And that’s fine! We’re not saying you need to provide service for every heavy-duty equipment under the sun. But if you specialize in ambulances, for example, you should offer absolutely every ambulance maintenance and repair service those customers might need.

Hire, Train, and Retain Quality Technicians

Batman wouldn’t want the Batmobile serviced by someone who thinks an oil change involves olive oil, right? It goes without saying that your team should be stacked with Alfreds who know what they’re doing (or have the drive and support to learn).

Experienced technicians will cost you more, but they’re generally worth it. They’re less likely to make mistakes and they may even complete the work quicker–two crucial qualities if you want to build a reputation as a reliable truck repair shop. 

The thing is, with a shortage of techs in the industry, hiring qualified technicians can be a challenge. In order to entice them to join your team, your shop needs to be an attractive place to work (think tech wages and benefits).

If you can’t find a top-tier technician, don’t despair. Look for motivated, fresh talent that’s eager to learn–then provide that learning yourself. Partner with a school or set up apprenticeship programs so members of the next generation can learn the ropes. It may take a bit of time and effort upfront to provide that training, but in the end, you’ll have that highly qualified technician you were looking for.

And that brings us to our last point. After all the effort of finding and training your technician dream team, make an effort to hold onto them. Employee turnover is expensive and hurts your shop’s efficiency, so avoid it by providing: 

A little bit of staff turnover is healthy and normal (after all, a toxic technician on your team does more harm than good), but a steady, trustworthy foundation of employees is absolutely essential for providing reliable service to heavy-duty customers. 

Build a Strong Reputation Through Exceptional Customer Service

Reliability is more than just fixing a truck’s problems. It’s about being there for your customers when they need it (and even when they don’t need it). Customer service can help you build up that reputation as a reliable truck repair shop that customers can count on.

Here are a few key strategies your customers will appreciate: 

  • Practice Active Listening – Listen to their needs, their woes, and even their road trip tales. Sometimes, all someone needs is to be heard. By understanding their issues, you can provide exactly what they need.
  • Provide Clear Communication – Keep customers updated on repair status, any unforeseen issues, and estimated delivery times. Digital tools like Fullbay’s Customer Portal lets customers check for updates on their own, saving your team from having to constantly answer “Is my truck ready yet?” phone calls.
  • Train Your Team – We already talked about training your technicians, but don’t forget the rest of your team, too. Make sure service advisors, assistants, etc., all know how to handle customers with grace and empathy.
  • Address Complaints Swiftly and Fairly – Address issues head-on, apologize sincerely, and rectify the problem efficiently. Turning a negative experience around can actually boost loyalty more than if the hiccup had never happened.
  • Set up Service Reminders – Don’t let upcoming PM work or DOT, BIT, and other state and federal inspections catch your customers off guard. When you’re the one to provide that reminder, you can build customer trust and confidence in your shop. 

Implement Efficient Scheduling and Workflow Processes

Having a truck in every bay is great news. More trucks means more profit, right?

But if all your bays are full and there’s a long line of trucks parked along the street waiting and waiting for service because you keep saying “we’ll be able to take you in just 15 minutes” but that was over an hour ago because your technicians are getting mixed instructions about what to work on first and they’re running around like headless chickens and now the microwave’s on fire because someone forgot their popcorn–

…yeah, that’s a nightmare. It’s certainly not the reliable truck repair shop reputation you’re aiming for.

This is where the right software can be a lifesaver. Solutions like Fullbay are literally built to help you keep shop operations organized and efficient. 

At a glance, you can track inventory across different locations, from truck bins to the parts backroom. You can organize and schedule service orders. You can review up-to-the-minute technician stats and speed up decisions like who to assign to what jobs. You can quickly inform those techs when they’ve been assigned a new repair. 

Once the technician gets into the repair, they can follow a step-by-step service order workflow with labor time guides, wiring diagrams, and procedures that set them up to do their best and not worry about missing anything.

Answer the Call of the Bat-Signal

If you want to be the ultimate Alfred of heavy-duty truck repair shops, Fullbay is your trusty sidekick.

(Maybe that means we’re Robin? Or Alfred’s sidekick if he had a sidekick? If your customer is Batman, why are they sending out the bat-signal? There’s a lot to sort out about this analogy.)

Anyway, the point is: we’re the reliable heavy-duty repair software you need in order to be the reliable heavy-duty repair shop that your customers need. In fact, we can help you with just about everything mentioned above:

See for yourself in a guided tour of the Fullbay platform

Emilie Vecera