Encouraging customers to book in work that’s not urgent is a challenge for any garage. An MOT centre might issue advisories on a vehicle, but because they’re not essential to passing the MOT, they quickly move down a driver’s to-do list. MAM Software explains how Autowork Online’s deferred work feature can help garages to chase up customers and maximise profits.
Capitalising on deferred jobs can be lucrative, so it’s essential for garages to ensure that they are actively keeping in contact with customers to secure the work. Autowork Online, MAM Software’s garage management software, includes a feature that helps garages do just that; the most proactive users are recouping hundreds – if not thousands – of pounds worth of extra work.
What is deferred work?
The deferred work feature can automatically send out SMS and email reminders to customers for jobs they have previously turned down, eliminating the need to manually follow up on leads.
A customer might have been given an estimate for a particular job, and decided to go ahead with parts of it but postpone others. For example, they might have visited the garage to have new discs fitted, but, at the same time, the technician finds the tyres are close to the legal limit.
The customer can choose to leave the tyres until a later date, and thanks to the deferred work feature, Autowork Online will send a reminder when it’s time to schedule in the work.
How garages are benefitting
Brackmills MOT Centre (pictured) is an Autowork Online user that is reaping the benefits of the deferred work feature. Owner Mo Hussein explained that before using deferred work, his business wasn’t actively pursuing customers after they’d turned down work on their vehicles: “We weren’t encouraging bookings before because we didn’t have the option to store conversations that we had with customers. This meant we couldn’t schedule any of the work, and it was instead down to the customer to try and remember when they were due to have the job carried out.
“We’re an MOT centre, so whenever a vehicle fails, we price up both the failures and the advisories. Ideally, we want customers to book in for the job there and then, but this often isn’t the case. Deferred work ensures that we don’t miss out on the job further down the line.”
Staff will ask a customer when they are looking to get the work completed. By using the deferred work feature, technicians can move the job to the relevant part of their diary, and the system will automatically contact the customer at a later date.
“We are able to use this feature successfully because we use it alongside selling our services. Customers generally see an advisory as something that’s non-essential, but it is important to remember that it has been issued for a reason. This is work that needs to be carried out,” said Mo.
“As a business, you’ve got to bear in mind that this work needs to be actively encouraged. I’ve got a fantastic team who are proactive in getting customers to book work in. There needs to be urgency in relaying the message that expresses how important it is to get the work done.”
How much money can garages recoup?
There’s real potential for garages to increase their profits by proactively pursuing deferred work. Figures obtained by MAM Software show that in the six months leading up to January 2020, the average garage recovered 5.5 jobs per month, worth a total value of £1,989. On average, a job recovered by a garage is worth £367.
The data, which spans the period from August 2019 to January 2020, shows that the most proactive user recovered £69,555 (exclusive of VAT) of work in a single month, while another garage booked in 46 jobs it may otherwise have lost.
Brackmills MOT Centre has successfully recovered many of its deferred jobs in the past six months, and Mo believes there is a solid business case for continuing to use the feature.
“What they have been advised on is only going to get worse, so it’s work that needs to be done – if we’re not getting the job then someone else is,” Mo concluded.