A Single Shop Management System That Does It All
Say Goodbye to 1997
After a frustrating journey of trying a multitude of shop management systems at his Ohio business, Alex Ruark, co-owner of Ruark and Sons Automotive, decided to go back to a program he used years prior. While technology had progressed over the years, the program had not. The software system looked as though it came out of a 1997 time capsule—pixelated floppy disk graphics and all.
“We are in an industry that’s kind of anti-technology in a lot of ways,” Ruark says. “Even well-loved software systems look so antiquated.”
The variety of programs he used throughout the years were clunky, outdated, incomplete, and simply did not work in a way that made his job any easier.
Ruark wasn’t the only shop owner to begin to feel like they were fighting an uphill software battle. Dmitriy Orlov, COO of BBI Autosport in Huntington Beach, Calif., had issues with his program as well. Orlov noticed that his software system was old, limited in functionality and lacking critical integration capabilities.
“I needed something cloud-based, simple, easy-to-use and intuitive,” Orlov says.
Orlov and Ruark started shopping around for new shop software, and ran across Shopmonkey (www.shopmonkey.io).
Finally, both shop operators felt as though they had found a tech-forward program in the midst of a tech-delayed industry.
“Shopmonkey is modern, browser-based, and clearly written by software people first, and car people second,” Ruark says. “Shopmonkey knows what they are doing in terms of software.”
Shopmonkey has become a staple at both businesses taking the place of multiple digital and paper processes—an all-in-one tool that continually increases overall shop efficiency, and promotes swift communication between the shop and customer.
Say Hello to Shopmonkey
A simple and often overlooked feature that was missing from almost all of the software Ruark had previously been using was a functional and practical calendar tool.
Before Shopmonkey, Ruark would stack upcoming tickets with handwritten notes and dates scribbled on the corners of each of them to send out.
“At one point, I was printing things out and putting them in trays—there was never a good system, it was very clunky,” he says.
Now, when somebody calls the shop, he pulls up his calendar on Shopmonkey and sees a visual representation of time blocks, something that helps Ruark structure his daily schedule. From there, Ruark is able to add the new customer’s information and create a ticket. Shopmonkey autofills in the name of the customer with his or her information on the ticket, streamlining the order writing process.
Ruark keeps his customers, tickets and technicians organized with the customizable drag-and-drop workflow which he’s tailored for his shop.
In another form of technician organization, Orlov has found the Shopmonkey time-tracking feature to be extremely helpful.
“The need for a feedback loop is crucial. It gives us a chance to evaluate how well the technicians are doing and if they are being efficient,” he says.
Start to Finish
The streamlining doesn’t end there. In order for his technicians to see their stack of jobs through Shopmonkey, Ruark bought them all simple and inexpensive laptops. The technician is able to go over to his or her computer, see the next ticket and type notes right into the program.
“There is no more wondering if a note was jotted down; it’s right there and saved so the customer can see it,” he explains.
The communication homebase has helped Orlov feel like every member of his staff is on the same page with customers throughout the entirety of a job.
“This increases efficiency and minimizes mistakes, because we are all looking at the same thing,” Ruark says.
A text and an email will then be sent out to the customer with a link to the quote and an authorization button.
“I don’t even have to leave my desk. The whole job is 100 percent automated; it’s incredible,” Ruark says.
Accessible Anywhere on Any Device
Shopmonkey is also accessible through a cell phone, moving the platform mobile.
“I have access to everything all of the time,” Ruark says.
This constant access increases the communication between the shop and the customer. Customers can authorize jobs via text and email. If a customer has a question, he can continue to have a two-way interaction with the shop through Shopmonkey.
“We got really tired of having to give out our cell phone numbers and email addresses to customers. It’s really nice to have a centralized system where all communication takes place regardless of who is communicating,” Orlov says.
For more information on Shopmonkey, click here.