Benefits of Allowing Customers to Schedule Online

Aug 21, 2023

Most of the repair shop owners we talk to either love the idea of allowing customers to schedule real appointments online…or they absolutely hate it. The resistance is understandable. It’s difficult to manage a shop’s schedule with cars, customers and techs coming and going.

Balancing what’s best for the shop and what’s best for employees alongside customer expectations is not easy and the idea of giving up all control of that can cause immediate anxiety for some shop owners and managers. However, if you are willing to consider it, an online scheduler can help you in three major ways – it can make your shop more efficient, increase your car count and make your life easier. In this blog, we are going to dive into the details of how an online scheduler can do that.


An Online Scheduler Can Help Increase Auto Repair Shop Efficiency

Consider how your shop currently operates without an online scheduler. How much time do you or somebody in your shop spend going back and forth through email or on the phone with customers who have requested appointments through your website? Are you having to call customers to let them know that you can’t get them in at their requested time? Are you leaving voice mails and playing phone tag?

Let’s say you also work in the shop and your labor rate alone is $150 an hour. If you spend 10 hours going back and forth with customers like this instead of providing service, you could make $1,500 more by having the online scheduler. If it’s 20 hours, the number could be $3,000 more each month. That doesn’t count parts markups.

Let’s say it’s a service advisor that has to do all this work to connect with appointment requests. How much more could they increase your ARO if they had the 10 hours to talk to customers about needed services after a tech’s diagnosis instead of having to try to chase somebody down who requested an oil change on Friday when you don’t have a slot?

Or, what if you are paying an admin person just for the sake of dealing with appointment requests? Or more likely, you are trying to hire somebody for that role but can’t find a good candidate. An online scheduler could be your best candidate.

The other significant element of an online scheduler is integration with your shop management system. How much time are you or somebody else at your shop having to spend manually entering data in your shop management system after you finally are able to reach a customer and find a day and time that works? With the best online schedulers there is an integration with your shop management system that makes that automatic, saving you additional time.


An Online Scheduler Can Increase Your Car Count

Your customers love it when things are easy. With an online scheduler they can visit your website, know exactly what days and times you have available for the service they are requesting and set an appointment. They don’t have to call you. They don’t have to go back and forth with you to try to find a day and time that works. They can also access the online scheduler 24/7.

How many potential customers have you lost because you don’t make it easy for them to set an appointment? That’s a number you will probably never know but it could be high. These are people who got to your website and saw that they couldn’t set a direct appointment and left to set an appointment at another shop that made it easy for them. They didn’t want to call you. They didn’t want to wait until you were open. They didn’t just want to request an appointment that you would call them back to tell them they couldn’t have.

Consider Amazon – they have made it as easy as possible for people to order nearly anything. They’ve got one-click ordering. They’ve done the research and probably could say how much more they make with one click ordering versus even just two clicks. It’s a number that would probably blow our minds.

This is where many shop owners will say that they don’t want somebody setting an hour appointment for routine maintenance only to find that they need much more work done. However, this same exact thing can happen when a customer sets an appointment over the phone. So what’s the difference? Well the difference is that if they’ve used the scheduler you’ve saved time on the front end and they’ve felt like it was a much smoother experience.

An Online Scheduler Can Make Your Life Easier

When we highlighted shop efficiency earlier in the blog we mentioned how much more you could make during the time that the online scheduler would save you. But what if you would just like to have 10 to 20 more hours to yourself? You could spend that time with your kids or grandkids. You could put it toward other business interests. Or you could put it toward working on your business instead of having to spend so much time working in it. Or maybe you just want to be able to relax a little more after putting all your blood, sweat and tears into the business for 10, 20 or 50 years. The online scheduler can help you find that time.

Scheduling can be stressful. With a scheduler you can eliminate scheduling headaches and calls to customers telling them that you can’t fit them in at their preferred time. Using online scheduling can take these significant elements of stress right out of your life.

And here’s the great thing. A high-quality online scheduler is also going to give you control. You can determine when you want to allow appointments to be scheduled, even to the detail of specific services at specific times. If you only want two brake repair jobs scheduled each day and you only want them scheduled at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm, the scheduler can be set up to do that.

So in reality you have almost as much control as you had when you were doing it all yourself except now you can set it and forget it and avoid the daily haggling and wasted time.

Change is rarely easy but utilizing an online scheduler at your shop can have a strong positive impact. It can help increase your shop’s efficiency by saving time that can help you make more money. It can increase your car count by making it easy for customers to choose you. It can make your life easier by freeing up your time and eliminating scheduling headaches.

Repair Shop Websites offers an Integrated Scheduler for our customers. If you are ready to simplify things for your customers, your employees and yourself with the Integrated Scheduler, contact us for more information today at 886-665-1605.