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The Right Tool for the Job

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Gaining recognition as one of ATI’s top shops doesn’t just happen, and certainly not overnight. 

“We’ve been in the top 25 five times, top 12 a handful of times, and then last year we were the No. 2 shop,” says Angie Rocha, co-owner of Rocha’s Automotive (Fortuna, Calif.) along with her husband, Ken.

“That was very good for us.”

Angie says after receiving the news (and being recognized at a superconference), they were proud of their hard work, their staff and their culture, but the work wasn’t quite done yet. 

“Ken set some new goals for us for the year and we spoke about pushing even harder,” Angie says, “and that meant going back to basics, going through our policies and getting our team involved even more and working on the culture of the shop.”

Throughout COVID, culture was something many shops simply couldn’t achieve—at least, not in the ways they had before. But Rocha’s Automotive isn’t just any shop, and they attribute much of their success—especially in a small community—to a service they encountered at one of those superconferences:

KUKUI.

 

“Everything We Didn’t Know We Needed”

As an independent shop, Rocha’s Automotive was limited not by its inability to acquire the right tools but by the sheer volume of tools, services and doodads available to the contemporary shop owner and team. Marketing is hard and real time data even more difficult to acquire, assess and adjust. With KUKUI, however, Ken and Angie Rocha have been able to do all that and more. 

“A few years ago we decided to take the plunge and we’re thrilled with the site and every other service KUKUI offers,” Ken says.

“We can track and listen to phone calls, create and customize email blasts (and track its effectiveness) and revolutionize all of our marketing. KUKUI has given us the tools that we didn’t know we needed.”

The Rochas note that “the phone continues to ring,” and they moved from a mere 50-some Google reviews to over 200. In today’s world of blink-and-you-miss it marketing, crowdsourced feedback and customer capture, that matters—especially in a small town.

Fortuna is in northern California near the coast in western Humboldt County. Sporting a population of just 9,000 or so, standing out from your competitors as an independent shop is vital to staying afloat, staying active and providing the best service. They were hesitant at first to utilize KUKUI over their old SMS—was the package too big for their community and clientele? Would they be able to utilize all its features? “We still send out personal thank-you postcards and service reminders!” Angie says.

Implementing the KUKUI dashboard and mobile communication technology has been nothing but a boon to business, thankfully, and they’ve never looked back. “We were born and raised here,” Ken says, “and we work hard for our customers and build those relationships. If it doesn’t work for the car, the customer or the shop, we won’t do it.” And according to the Rochas, KUKUI works.

“We want to be better owners and leaders,” Angie adds. “We were first in the area with digital vehicle inspections (DVI), and we want to be able to communicate effectively with our customers.” She adds that KUKUI’s ability to help stay in touch with customers helped them stay on top of their business relationships through COVID. 

Since implementing KUKUI, they know their website is better—their clients tell them so. They use the dashboard daily to track their marketing efforts through Google AdWords and other email outreach campaigns. They track phone calls and use the recordings to assess their market, train new staff and continually improve how they communicate with their clients. 

“Our commitment to build relationships with our customers coupled with the advanced technology KUKUI offers is  really a great 1-2 punch for us,” Ken says.


The Right Tools Create Opportunities

Looking ahead, the Rochas plan to bring on more help and redesign the shop. Ken says they added on about seven years ago and already need to overhaul the site. They’re up over 20 percent this year and hope to bring on more cars, continue to increase ARO and become more efficient. Ken is also an advisor at the local technical school, the College of Redwoods, and he hopes to recruit, train and mentor more technicians from that pool—his current head technician began his career there, too. 

With any luck, 2021 will be the first year Rocha’s Automotive breaks $2 million revenue. And if they keep pushing forward—using modern technology and communication services such as KUKUI—they hope to nab the elusive ATI #1 shop of the year.

“Growing the team and expanding the shop is a lot of work while still navigating all the challenges of the pandemic,” Ken says, “but it will be worth it in the end. And it will make our shop even stronger.” 

Because that’s what good tools—and the people who know how to use them—can achieve. To learn what you can achieve with KUKUI at your side, check out kukui.com.

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