Fender benders aren’t fun. Dealing with insurance isn’t fun. And finding an auto body shop that’s both compatible with your insurance and has good reviews can feel a whole lot like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.
However, one Staten Island-based shop is changing all of that.
With 27 years of experience, Jamie Jensen of Straightline Collision knows for a fact how stressful it is to get your car fixed. “In this business, when most people come in here they’re already ticked off because they have to be here.”
Instead of subjecting customers to the same old story, Straightline Collision uses two-way messaging to provide seamless communication any day or hour.
Time to Shift Gears
Text messaging is the preferred method of communication—90% of people would rather text message than call. Straightline’s customer base is no different. Not only do customers prefer to text, but they demand its convenience especially during stressful times. Jensen saw this shift in communication preferences firsthand. “They don’t like to call. They don’t like to be on the phone. So I get text messages.”
Additionally, Straightline primarily relied on word-of-mouth reviews and its hard-earned reputation to gather new customers. And while Straightline’s online review rating was lingering around 4.6 stars, the shop needed an easier, faster way to gather reviews that would help solidify their online presence and draw in new customers.
Trends in customer search habits are evidence as such “as far as people that don’t know of you, they’re going to Google ‘Auto body shop in Staten Island.’ The first thing they want to look at is the reviews. The more you have on Google, the better it looks for you” says Jensen.
For this Geico-backed repair shop, the writing was on the wall: it was time to shift gears and provide customers with an easy, convenient way to communicate and leave reviews.
That said, Straightline needed a software that was compatible with its CRM system, ProfitNet, to maintain full efficiency as a well-oiled service shop. Podium is integration-compatible with ProfitNet, so it popped up on Jamie’s radar.
Jamie did what her own customers would do—researched and read reviews. “I saw an update on ProfitNet with Podium’s pop down. And I’m not going to lie, I looked at all the options. I looked at all different like tutorials, reviews on each company.”
A Clutch Solution
The ProfitNet integration allows auto service businesses to transfer all aspects of customer information, from estimates to contact information and delivery dates, into Podium’s communication dashboard. From there, businesses such as Straightline Collision, can communicate with customers via text messaging and gather reviews easily.
For Jamie, the seamless connectivity and ease of integration are what really sealed the deal. “What I liked the most was that the text message gets sent right from delivery with Podium. As long as the customer’s cell phone is filled out in the form, we don’t really have to do much after that. I like that we can text the customer from our actual business phone number. And I like that customers can actually text us as the business owner because nowadays people like to text.”
The ProfitNet integration allowed Straightline to cut time spent on manual tasks like delivery phone calls, while Podium’s two-way messaging enables Straightline Collision to connect with customers on their term without losing touch. And regardless of what questions customers needed answered, they could count on Jensen and Straightline to respond. “Sometimes on the weekend, I’ll get something like ‘I just hit something. Is this fixable?’ And they’ll send me a message and….a picture of their car because we’re not open. It’s convenient because it’s a way to keep in contact with customers and them to keep in contact with us even when, even after hours, even when we’re closed.”
Since signing on with Podium in December, Straightline has received 30x the reviews it originally had—the auto shop has gone from 56 reviews (accumulated over the course of 27 years) to 20 reviews per month.
Putting a Premium on Experience
Rather than add to customer stress levels, Straightline Collision gets ahead in the race by making it easy to connect with them—no matter the time of day. And more importantly, Straightline is able to manage all of customer interactions and information through one dashboard.