Author Archive Jill Trotta

Customer Service in The Palm of Your Hand

Technology is always improving and finding new uses, and the auto industry is no stranger to new technology and applications. This allows for service providers to offer quality, efficient services that the consumer can see, understand and accept. One method that has assisted this is the use of hand-held tablets over handwritten notes and inspections. These devices offer a new level of efficiency for shops, while giving customers the quality service they are seeking. What are Tablet-based Inspections? We live in a world of mobile technology with phones, laptops, tablets, and now even watches. Having programs and tracking at the touch of a finger increases the speed of service, efficiency in monitoring, and direct communication with customers. Auto service companies have a handful of different programs or software they can choose from to best fit the needs of their operations. This software on handheld devices or tablets accommodates mechanics who can carry it directly with…

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What Do “Best Practices” Really Mean?

From the perspective of the Director of the Automotive Group at RepairPal: I have been the primary person in charge of RepairPal’s (RP) Certification process for almost 3 years. When I joined the RepairPal team, there were only 150 certified shops, and we processed about five to six new applicants a week. Now, almost 3 years later, we have a rapidly growing network of over 1,400 of the best shops in the country and continue to grow exponentially. We aren’t a network in which you pay for your listing and get leads sent in return. We are a certification program that recognizes the shops in this country that are committed to the best practices in auto repair. But what exactly are these “best practices” that we use as a standard for the shops in our network? “Best practices” is a term that is often thrown around and that means a lot of different things to…

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Don’t Become a Dinosaur: Learn, Adopt, Adapt

I have been a part of the automotive industry for 25 years, working across the industry in positions ranging from dealerships and aftermarket to Service Manager and Assistant Parts Director. The change, growth, and evolution of the industry had has been slow and steady for the most part, at least up until now. These days, the automotive industry is rapidly changing and the processes that were once in place and accepted as standard (with their antiquated practices and outdated technology) are quickly becoming the old way of thinking. The successful shops with forward-thinking owners and managers will adopt these changes and adapt while the rest will fall off the radar and get left behind. Dinosaurs are extinct for a reason — they were unable to adapt. Transparency in the Automotive Industry Transparency is something that had never existed before in the automotive industry. It used to be nearly impossible for consumers to find pricing for parts…

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Jill Trotta Explains: Knowing Your Numbers

“In God we trust, all others must bring data”, is a popular saying in the tech industry. I believe that it is also an important factor in running your automotive repair facility. As the RepairPal Certification Manager, I speak to many automotive repair facilities every day. These shops have applied to our RepairPal Certified program and I guide them through our certification process. I am always truly interested in hearing about their shop and the processes they use to run it. These questions often start great conversations which at times turn into questions about numbers, volume, and efficiency. More often than not such interactions lead to more questions and a friendly debate about what the numbers actually mean. You had a great week last week, how do you know it was a great week? Is it efficient to look at the total income for the week or the year and feel satisfied because it’s a…

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Part II: What’s Your Delivery Style?

Have you spent the entire day working on a customer’s car where all the interactions to meet your promised time have gone off without a hitch? Everything worked out and the car is fixed and running, perfectly. Your customer comes to collect their car, you collect their payment, get their signature and they drive away. A few minutes later, the phone rings and the caller ID shows that customer's name and your heart sinks! Reluctantly, you pick up the phone and the customer tells you that their car is running smoothly and thanks you profusely. Honestly, this isn’t what likely happens. Usually a customer calls to tell you that there is a problem with their car. The “ever since you touched my car…” game has started and, in my opinion, this will rarely end with the shop on the upside. You take the call and ask the customer to bring the vehicle back into your…

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