Ring Ring – Tips to Elevate Your Auto Shop’s Phone-Based Customer Service

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user icon Rachel Gilstrap

calendar icon Published on Jul 1, 2022

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Many auto shops have shared with us that they spend hours on the phone each day — and they don't love it. If you feel the same, we get it: pausing to answer the phone, spending time each day reminding customers of their appointments, and playing phone tag to get estimates approved can be incredibly disruptive and slow down your shop’s productivity. It's why Shopmonkey built things like two-way texting and email capabilities into our auto shop management software — to help eliminate time on the phone so that you can be productive elsewhere.

 

We have heard customers share that they have slashed phone calls by 90% with our text and email features, but the remaining 10% of calls that still occur are important and must be handled with intentionality and care. At times, a phone call can actually save both you and your customer time. Either way, in the auto repair industry, trust can be hard to come by. Good phone etiquette is critical to building that trust and maintaining customer relationships long-term.

 

We work with over 4,000 auto shops, and the hard truth is that many could use a tune-up when it comes to how they manage customer calls. Take a closer look and make sure you have all your bases covered for customer service success over the phone: 

Customer Service Phone Checklist for Your Auto Shop

  • Your phone number is listed correctly.  
    Check all online platforms, including your website, Google, Yelp, and Apple Maps.

  • The phone number is working.
    Call your shop every couple of months to make sure it’s ringing on your end, and that you have a clear connection.

  • The voicemail message is accurate and up-to-date.
    Your shop’s voicemail should state the name of your shop, your business hours, and when customers may expect a callback. If your shop is going to be closed for a holiday or vacation, temporarily change your voicemail to let customers know that you’re closed, and when you’ll re-open. Be sure to change it back to a standard message when you return! 
  • The answering machine has room for new messages.
    No one likes to hear that a voicemail box is full, especially customers looking for help. A full inbox can be the difference between getting or losing a customer’s business. Check your voicemail regularly and delete old messages. Pro Tip: On iPhones, go into your voicemail, delete the messages, scroll to the bottom, click ‘Deleted Messages’, and select ‘Clear All.’

  • You (and your team!) are pleasant to talk to.
    Tone of voice matters. Be pleasant, upbeat, patient, kind, and empathetic. How you approach customer service on the phone can greatly impact how your customers perceive your shop. Train all employees to answer the phone in the same way. Example: “Hi! Thank you for calling Super Cool Motors! This is Rachel, how can I help you today?”

  • Your shop has a system for putting customers on hold.
    We’ve all experienced being put on hold and been accidentally hung up on, or worse…forgotten about. Here are a few key pointers to help elevate your customers’ hold experience:
    • If your phone doesn’t have a true hold feature, make sure you mute the phone. 
    • Let the customer know approximately how long they will be on hold. If it takes longer than expected, check in with them and let them know you haven’t forgotten about them. If you think it will be longer than five minutes of holding, take their number and let them know when you’ll call them back. 
    • Pro Tip: Read their number back to them to make sure you’ve got it right. Carve out a half-hour to an hour out of every day to make callbacks. 

  • You leave clear, detailed voicemails when contacting customers.
    By standardizing your shop’s voicemails, customers will know what to expect when they hear from you. Keep it short and succinct, but make sure to state: 
    1. The name of your shop
    2. Your name
    3. The purpose of your call
    4. A good phone number to call back
    5. Your shop’s hours of availability 

Know What Doesn’t Need to Be a Phone Call

Implementing small and simple changes to phone communications can greatly improve your shop’s reputation. The phone is an important channel to make a great first impression and build trust over time. But that doesn’t mean that every interaction with customers needs to be over the phone. You can still practice good phone etiquette while also saving your team time with tools that reduce unnecessary phone time — whether it’s automated appointment reminders or a digital estimate that they can approve on their phone. It’ll save time for you and your customers.

 

Learn more about Shpmonkey’s built-in text and email capabilities that will modernize your customer communications and slash phone calls.

 

Rachel Gilstrap

Rachel Gilstrap 

Rachel started at Shopmonkey in 2020 as an Implementation Coordinator and has since become the Project Manager on the Marketing team. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and is as a proud dog mom of two adventurous dalmatians.

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