The Ultimate Tool for Customer Retention
Diagnostics at a Distance for All of Your Customers
On the western edge of the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest about 200 miles west of Missoula, MT, an industry-disrupting shift in how auto repair shops manage customer retention and repairs is quietly taking place as data is seamlessly sent from the cars of over 100 customers to Erber Auto, a repair shop in Moscow, Idaho.
The company behind this emerging force is HoodHub, a small data-driven startup currently in beta testing with several auto repair shops across the country. HoodHub uses the OBDII port and syncs real-time diagnostic data simultaneously from hundreds of your customers' smartphones, so you gain accurate, timely, and near-universal insights into the status of each vehicle.
Instead of looking backward and attempting to diagnose a problem days or even weeks after it occurred, HoodHub provides proactive analysis now to offer the best service available to vehicle owners.
“Long-lasting relationships thrive on trust, not transactions,” muses Isaiah Taylor, longtime software engineer and primary visionary behind HoodHub. At the local auto shop he co-founded, Taylor was hindered by automated repair software and shop CMS systems that relied on regularly-timed intervals for service check-ups and updates.
“Time is not usually a helpful metric for service. I asked myself how to best serve our customers. We do it by contacting them the moment something actually occurs within their vehicle,” he says. HoodHub became a reality soon after that.
Taylor explains that real-time data from the vehicle to the shop offers instant analysis of codes while also adding to the historical record of the vehicle itself. Instead of a driver worrying about a new check engine light, for example, HoodHub shops simply call or text the customer directly to let them know what’s going on and how the problem can be solved.
“If you want to establish long-term relationships with your customers by proactive analysis, transparency, and action, HoodHub helps you accomplish that,” he says.
Over time, HoodHub enables the preliminary diagnosis at the moment a car starts “throwing codes,” Taylor says, and establishes baselines for typical car metrics to further inform technicians when it’s time to make a repair. Drivers benefit through transparency, yielding more timely and necessary service and better maintenance. Shops benefit from knowing the whens and wheres of each and every code in real-time.
HoodHub operates in the cloud and includes a mobile app for drivers and a website for the shops. A shop manager can access their HoodHub console from any computer or device, at any time, from anywhere in the world. Customers don’t get access to the data, but the shop receives a continuous live feed of information from the cars and can interact with customers through the app.
The potential for better service is limitless.
Offer Transparency to Foster Trust
“It’s a game-changer,” says Jonathan Erber, head technician and co-owner (along with Taylor) of Erber Auto.
“After explaining it to customers, they often ask for more HubLinks for their children’s vehicles. Moscow is a college town—the University of Idaho is here—and parents want to know their kid’s car is safe to drive.”
"We also have clients that drive older cars and don't have the money to fix every issue that triggers a check engine light. They drive around thinking that they already know why their check engine light is on. Without HoodHub installed, they would have no idea that a newer, more critical issue has surfaced.”
“HoodHub both depends upon and builds trust,” he says. “It’s simply remarkable.”
Leverage Trust to Build Your Business
Safety-driven data provides deep relational foundations (along with premium auto care) and is the reason why Taylor and Erber’s shop enjoys over 60 perfect 5-star Google reviews and enviable CSI scores. Despite only opening in 2017, Erber Auto is at capacity every day of the year.
Erber Auto offers the HubLinks to their customers for free. HoodHub’s pricing model allows shops to simply give away the service to customers, resulting in huge retention benefits.
“The ROI cannot be understated,” Erber says.
“People will not turn this service down unless they’re the type of person who likes to worry about their car, and that’s not most drivers. If they know you have eyes on the health of their vehicle, you automatically become their go-to shop. Our customers don’t go anywhere else.”
Erber explains that freely giving out a device to keep customers safer is the best marketing tool he’s ever seen.
“As fast as customers want them, we give them away. Where else can you advertise and get that kind of immediate, guaranteed return? We spent $5,000 putting ads on grocery receipts and 10 people brought them in. You can burn through money so fast and give people nothing, but if you’re giving them something, you’re doing more—you’re offering service that can’t be bought. That’s loyalty.”
For Erber, HoodHub isn’t just a device to keep the doors open and food on the table—it’s an invitation to a healthier, safer community of drivers and people. It’s an open door to a better future.
“And it’s going to spread like wildfire,” Erber says.
To order or learn more, check out HoodHub.com.