- November 25, 2009 at 9:32 pm #4333
More specifically, what percent of the cars that you service are ones where the customer called ahead (or maybe you contacted them) and made an appointment as opposed to people who just drop in?
I’m hearing of some shops where there are very few appointments and others where almost all cars are appointments. How about your shop?
5355 Plainfield Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- November 25, 2009 at 10:32 pm #8769
I manage A full service gas station where walk ins and surprise visits are common place. I have stressed to my regulars the importance of at least calling ahead of time to let me know they are coming. We get so much traffic thanks to the convenience store side it can become chaotic. My waiting space is limited and having vehicles left for service almost always garauntees upsale on needed items. My difficulty is that I struggle to keep al my techs busy and if I had an appoinment book I would have very little luck keeping it filled.
- November 27, 2009 at 4:11 am #8770
we do about 10 cars a day and have about 1-2 Appointments a day . We are trying to offer incentives for pre booking.
- November 27, 2009 at 1:02 pm #8771
I try to run off of appointments. I usually don’t/won’t take in the quick lof. It usually doesn’t seem to produce anything. But with that being said I sometimes think of dumping appointments all togather. I worked a K-Mart Sevice Center and I talked the boss into dumping the appointments. All of a sudden we had people lined up at 8 am to get there car fixed we double our business almost over night. We went from a last place store to one of the top one in the area.
- November 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm #8773
99.9% are appointments. I’m still a one man shop primarily growing through word of mouth and my building is on a side street so I don’t get many people just stopping by.
- November 27, 2009 at 7:10 pm #8774
We work 100% from appointments so that we can properly maximize our productivity. We have found that without appointments many upgrades are missed because the guys are in a hurry and don’t look over the cars as well as they should. Also because our customers know that we work by appointment they are very thankful when we can get them in the same day or next day because they are “special”.
This approach also allows us to book our Preferred Customers in advance for their next appointment “to be sure we get them in when they want to come in”. About 1/2 our appointments are made 6 months in advance (which is our normal interval for servicing).
We also do not do wait jobs unless they are planned in advance for something we know will be very quick – like putting on a part we had to order and will take 1/2 hour or less.
Having said that we do have jobs that are towed in or brought in with no appointment but they come AFTER the appointments and we make sure people understand this. They are appreciative if we work them in right away (why not we needed the work!) and it gives us one more way to make our customers feel special.
- November 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm #8777
We have always been an ‘appointment’ shop, although as the economy is changing we are finding it necessary to do whatever it takes to get people in the door. Increasingly, we are taking people ‘today’ or ‘right way’. We too are in a business park and not easily seen from the street, so ‘drop-in’ business is not really practical.
- November 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm #8778
> This approach also allows us to book our Preferred Customers in advance for their next appointment “to be sure we get them in when they want to come in”. About 1/2 our appointments are made 6 months in advance (which is our normal interval for servicing).
I have tried to pre-book appointments, with mixed results. I think some of our customers were offended when we called them back, so I dropped to program. I think doing this will be a great help to our RO count issue.
How does your program work and what are your suggestions to make this simple and effective?
- November 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm #8779
We have found that about 50% of our customers love making their appointment in advance, 10%-20% will do it to get goodies, and the rest do not want to plan that far ahead.
When we first started doing it the biggest resistance was at the front desk who already had “too much to do”.
I created a Preferred Customer Program card (similar to a car care club card) which gives them $450 worth of goodies for just making, and keeping their appointment. The card is good for 13 months (that is two servicing cycles for us) and gives them things that we would do anyway for our good customers – but this way they know it is a benefit. The card includes two free 1-day loaner cars, a discount on multiple day car rentals (our rate through enterprise) a discount on their minor service and on a transmission flush. You get the idea.
Since the SA’s are always willing to give things away they got all over this program. The biggest thing in making it work to get people back on time is the SA’s must promote it as a huge benefit that goes away if the appointment is not kept. We give them 30 days grace to make a different appointment date and still keep their benefits.
Let me know if you need any more info and we can talk offline.
- November 30, 2009 at 7:23 pm #8780
Most of our car count is made up from appointments but we allow time each day for drop offs and emergencies. If we had no customers making appointments, we obviously take drive ins, but until that day occurs, we will continue to take appointments and prefer the appointment customer to the drive in customer.
- December 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm #8783
We are about 95% appointments. Mostly due to the face that we are on a low traffic road. We encourage appointments and tell our customers that we do it so that we can plan to have a hoist open for their car when they arrive, saving time for both of us. We never turn away walk ins, but largely encourage appointments.
- December 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm #8784
About 95 percent of our customers are by appointment. Depending on how booked the day is we will take walk ins but they understand that appointments come first.
- December 8, 2009 at 12:21 am #8788
We try to book appointments , But due to the economy we have more waiter’s I just expanded our waiting room due to this. We advertise our specials – by apointment only , but you know how that goes.
We also run 12 loaner cars for the apointments , plus offer pickup and delivery , or shuttle We our up 12% this year by bending a little .
- December 26, 2009 at 3:57 am #8789
Our core business is pre-booked appointments.
We have been offering the six-month check over appointment program for
many years:) We run our shop like a doctors-dentist office, our
clients leave with an appointment set up in 6 months for a head-toe
check over. Our clients love the appointment program, it works very
well for us!
Have a Fun Day
- January 5, 2010 at 2:47 am #8791
Update.. We were making more appointments then i thought. I think we are up to about 30% appointments we were not booking everyone .Now we i am making sure the get put in mitchell and call 2-3 days in advance.
Alan Ollie Gelfand Pres. wrote:
> we do about 10 cars a day and have about 1-2 Appointments a day . We are trying to offer incentives for pre booking.
- June 3, 2010 at 7:47 am #8840
Hi Larry, I am very happy to read that you do 100% appointments. I was sharing your review with my team. The problem at my place is we do take 100% appointment, but 50% of them do not turn up or do not come on time allotted to them. This makes things very difficult when 3 or 4 customers land at same time. I just want to know how do you handle in such situations.
- June 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm #8841
We do three things that greatly increase the likelihood of them showing up for their appointment –
1- When we book their appointment at the conclusion of their current visit we give them a preferred customer card that is worth $450 face value. If they are more than a month late for their appointment they lose the value of this card.
2- we send out a reminder card a month in advance of their appointment and follow up two weeks after that with a a call to confirm they got the card.
3-the day before the appointment we call to confirm the details regarding the appointment.
By doing the above we get less than a 2% no show for confirmed appointments. Usually if they are not going to keep the appointment we know by the time we make the first follow-up call, at that time we reschedule within a month of the original date if possible.
Hope this helps.
- June 4, 2010 at 7:35 am #8842
Thanks Larry. Its a valuable feed back. Let me get back to you once implemented successfully.
- June 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm #8845
How does the Giftcard come in to play with 450 face value?
What are the restrictions/obligations to you and the customer?
- February 7, 2011 at 2:36 am #8938
Diane/Tom, We are about 50% booking, however I will take what ever I can. I would love to learn a technique like Diane has to prebook and get them to come in. I will tell you all that when everybody comes in at 8am it is overwelming for my service writer and I.
- February 20, 2011 at 1:54 am #8940
Chip McAllister wrote:
> Diane/Tom, We are about 50% booking, however I will take what ever I
can. I would love to learn a technique like Diane has to prebook and
get them to come in. I will tell you all that when everybody comes in
at 8am it is overwelming for my service writer and I.
We have been using the Appointment program for many years
with great success:) It is awesome!
One of my motivating factors was the morning bottle neck stress
you mention and the 6-month Appointment program has relieved that
and much more!
It is just so convenient for the clients and your business….
and was eagerly accepted by our clients who are already accustomed
to pre-booking appointments, think dentist, doctor, hair, etc…
We have appointment cards which we print in house and a calendar on
the counter, which acts as a visual aid, showing dates 6 months from
now… We explain that we see our clients twice a year for a full
check over, fixing lil things before they become more costly or a
concern and explain that when our clients leave they pre-book their
next appointment for August, what day would be easiest for you?
Hey, looks like you are from my neck of the woods, wanna come see??
- February 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm #8941
- February 22, 2011 at 2:18 am #8942
- May 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm #9052
How do you re-book and keep track of all those appointments
do you have a program…
- May 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm #9054
re: How do you re-book and keep track of all those appointments
do you have a program…
Hi John:) Yes we have a great program!
We us Mitchell ManagerPlus for booking and tracking our appointments…they are recorded on the calendar and on each clients invoice under recomendations…
There is also, always, a calendar on the counter showing 6 months from now, for the client to choose their next date….and they leave with an appointment card, just like the dentist….
We follow this up with DemandForce sending an email reminder to scheduled appointments from information they pull directly from our Mitchell Calendar….its pretty sweet!
Have a Fun Day!
- May 17, 2012 at 4:46 am #9058
We use SharePoint online from 1and1.com and is attached to all staff members Outlook email accounts and all workstations in the shop so that everybody can view/edit as needed. They are setup by technicians in 1/2 hour time blocks. (see attached)
We have been using SharePoint as a scheduler for many years and has worked very well for us. It enables us to see our work schedule and flow for each tech instantly when scheduling customer appointments so that we can give our customers a pretty accurate time frame when a job is expected for completion. each block is broken down to 1/2 hour blocks, so for example you schedule an 8:00am oil change. it takes 1/2 hour start to finish, then you schedule an 8:30 right after it, so on and so forth. Customer walks in @ 7:45 you do paper work and you can accurately tell them it will be done in 1/2 hour, OR our FVI (Full Vehicle Inspection) schedule, Those take 1.5 hours 1 tech can do 5-6 a day and stay productive and on time, We always tend to over schedule. It’s OK We usually get er done, If not we apologize to the customer and offer a rental car on us. Most customers are Ok with that
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