(This Article first appeared in Ratchet + Wrench Magazine)
One week in January Precision Auto Repair in Pleasanton, CA touted 3,999 five-star reviews on the website header. One week later, there were 4,013. Not bad.
Family owned and operated since 1979, Precision Auto Repair sits just east across the bay from San Francisco. Beginning with Honda and Acura, Precision has specialized in foreign imports ever since and has expanded its service offerings steadily for almost 40 years.
The shop homepage shows a long-haired Chihuahua (Peanut), some La-Z-Boys (comfy!), and an office space in which you could perform surgery. Everything is clean, clean, clean. The site also lists customer services such as free WiFi, loaner cars, early bird/night owl drop-off, a courtesy shuttle and after-hours pickup. As any shop owner knows, however, this sort of presentation is neither simple nor easy. “It’s more than just 40 hours per week,” says Renee Edgren, CFO of Precision Auto Repair, “and I have to be able to communicate with our clients at all hours of the day and efficiently as possible.” To do so, she uses Kukui.
Golden State Golden Service
In early February, Edgren had just returned from vacationing in Maui. Using the Kukui Dashboard, she and her husband were able to monitor all client activity at Precision, even though they were more than 2,000 miles away. She responded to every single review from the beach. “When I get an email, I keep them visible until I have a chance to sit down and review all of them,” she says. “It’s very easy and Kukui is very good at helping you communicate with customers. If you’re missing calls, it tells you. You can look and see when they’re coming in. I find Kukui is an easy system to use.”
For Precision, online reviews are part and parcel to staying competitive in the crowded Bay Area market. Kukui has a dedicated Reviews module that does everything except writing the review for you. “Every customer automatically gets a request to give us a review by email. There’s also an option to text them and ask for Facebook and Google reviews right from their phone. We've learned that it’s important to respond to all reviews, good or bad, and through Kukui, I respond to everything on Yelp, Facebook, Google, and our own webpage. Even though it seems like I’m often writing the same thing, each message goes to different people and it’s an important message for them to get.”
Edgren stresses that many clients don’t even visit the repair shop’s homepage first—they look for other public reviews on mobile apps such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google, and more.
After more than five years with Kukui, however, Edgren is positive she can keep up with the pace and power of her clients’ praise, and she understands why potential customers rely on crowd-sourced data—it’s often more reliable than anything else available.
“Kukui makes it very easy,” she says, “and the reviews are all in one spot. I can just log in, reply, and do them all that way, no matter the source. The appointment page works well, too—people make appointments, I confirm them, then simply transfer them to the shop. Everything we use on the Kukui dashboard seems to work easily.” If clients forget or neglect to leave a review, the Kukui Reviews module also features a texting function that allows Edgren to reach out to them via their cell phones and ask for reviews as well.
Kukui also monitors recommended maintenance for every client. “We have a setup where Kukui sends out regular maintenance interval messages—the program does it two ways. One is based on manufacturer (time and mileage), and one pulls from our repair management software that tracks our recommendations and input. Kukui automatically generates and reminds people what they need,” she says.
Once per month, Edgren speaks with their dedicated Kukui service representative, Maury. “Maury emails me once per month with a rundown of the stats of the month prior,” Edgren says. “It’s a great system,” she adds, “it’s an all-in-one management solution.”
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