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8 Tips For Auto Shops To Reduce Phone Time

March 29, 2024
4 mins read

Efficient communication is just as important as clear and effective communication to keep your auto repair shop moving at a fast pace. 

Excessive phone time can significantly reduce your shop’s productivity. 

When time is money for your shop, ask yourself how much time you or your staff spend on the phone. Is it time well spent? How much of that time is spent answering the same questions repeatedly? How much of that time is playing phone tag with customers? How much of it is waiting on hold with parts suppliers?  

Reducing time spent on the phone streamlines operations and frees up time for other activities and initiatives that will grow your revenue.

Here are eight tips for how to spend less time on the phone in your auto shop:

1. Address FAQs on Your Website 

Most consumers will go to the web first to find information. Because of this, make sure that your website clearly answers the most frequently asked simple questions.

Many customer inquiries are repetitive and can be answered without direct communication. Make it very easy to find answers to common questions about your shop directly on your site — you may even consider having an FAQ section on your website. 

By developing a comprehensive FAQ section on your website, you can reduce the volume of informational phone calls — allowing staff to focus on more complex customer needs.

Examples of frequent topics customers may call to ask about:

  • Hours of operation
  • Types services offered 
  • Types of vehicles you service
  • Dropoff and pickup options outside of regular business hours
  • How to make an appointment

2. Claim and Update Your Yelp and Google Profiles  

If you google the name of your business, you’ll likely see your shop’s Yelp and Google profiles in the search results. Take the time to claim and manage your business profiles on these pages. Make your profiles as complete as possible and provide answers to basic FAQs like the ones listed above. Not only does completing these profiles help reduce time on the phone, but it also helps your business get found! 

  • How to claim your Yelp profile — link 
  • How to claim your Google My Business profile — link

3. Implement an Online Appointment System

Implementing an online appointment system is one of the most effective ways to reduce phone time. Such systems allow customers to schedule their appointments without calling the shop. This frees up significant amounts of time for your staff and improves the customer experience by providing flexibility in scheduling appointments. Many of these systems also have automated appointment reminders, eliminating the need to dedicate your team’s time to calling customers to remind them of their upcoming appointments. Learn more about online appointment systems – link.

4. Utilize an Automated Phone Answering System 

With an automated phone answering system, your shop can reduce the need to answer simple questions, such as inquiries about your shop’s hours. It will often help those who are calling get to the right person faster by selecting from a menu of options to meet their needs. This technology ensures customers can quickly be informed and engaged without time-consuming phone conversations.

5. Implement Text and Email Communications with Customers

Formally implementing a process for texting and emailing your customers can significantly reduce phone time. This method not only reduces phone time, but it is an efficient method of providing written records of conversations, which can be helpful for both your shop and your customers. If you implement this type of communication, make sure to train your staff and also set clear expectations for response times to maintain customer satisfaction. Learn more about why and how you should text your customers — link

6. Streamline Internal Communication

Reducing phone time is about more than managing external communications. Streamlining internal communication can also have a significant impact. Efficient internal communication ensures everyone is on the same page. Many auto shop management systems allow all team members to see a vehicle’s status, look up a work order, and see notes about the vehicle in seconds. This reduces the need for a service advisor to put a customer on hold to connect with a technician about a vehicle’s status, for example.

7. Train Staff in Efficient Phone Communication

Training staff to efficiently handle phone communications can help reduce the duration of each call without sacrificing service quality. Techniques include learning how to appropriately take control of the conversation, using scripts for common queries, and gathering all necessary information in a repeatable, structured manner.

8. Embrace Online Parts and Tire Ordering

Calling parts and tire suppliers can eat up a lot of phone time. Between calling multiple suppliers to find what you need and waiting on hold, this can be a major culprit of significant time on the phone.

To further reduce phone time, embracing an online parts-ordering solution is a game-changer — allowing you to search and order from all of your parts and tire suppliers in a single lookup (see PartsTech example below) and say goodbye to ordering parts over the phone.

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