Running a Shop Shop Production Operations

The Perfect Check-In Sheet

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Customer check-in sheets are an important step of the pre-service-repair process. But having a check-in sheet that customers will actually fill out is not always that simple. Nancy Knight, co-owner of Knight’s Automotive Repair in Ledgewood, N.J., says that her shop’s pre-service check-in sheet is vital to numerous areas of her business: service writing, customer communication, workflow and marketing.

Knight says there are a few keys to getting the sheet right: Keeping it to one page, only including necessary information, and considering the needs of your shop.

Knight outlines how to customize a check-in sheet for your shop.

1. At the top is all of the customer contact information. That’s the most important piece for us. We added cell phone and email addresses and asked about the best way to contact them. There is also information about the car (year, make, model, VIN number, mileage, license plate number), which the customer can fill that portion out as much as they are able to.

2. We also added a part that asked how the customer heard about us. We always want to know how customers are finding us, because that helps us identify areas to strengthen and contribute more of our marketing budget to.

3. Next, we have two checklists: services requested and driveability. You’ll notice that it’s not particularly detailed. That is important because a lot of times, the customer isn’t familiar with the intricacies of their vehicle system. Customers want to be heard, so this is a way we can be sure we address their needs.

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Download a sample check-in sheet here

4. One portion we added to the checklist is asking about warranties or extended service plans. That was added because we noticed we often have customers with those plans that we don’t particularly know about. It’s a prompt to prevent any problems happening down the road.

5. We also have an “other concerns/services needed” portion. The customer can jot down any additional notes or the service writer can use it for similar purposes.

6. Finally, there is a little bit of text authorizing an estimate. Certain states require a customer’s signature authorizing work or an estimate. I would recommend checking your state’s requirements.

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