At AutoNiche, a repair shop located in the city of Markham in the Canadian province of Ontario, all first-visit work orders automatically include a second-visit promotion to encourage client loyalty. It’s part of owner 

Emily Chung’s four-visit, customer-retention strategy, one driven by the deep integrations between her repair shop’s Protractor shop management software (SMS) and AutoServe1 digital vehicle inspection tool (DVI). 

“We’re always looking at how the systems can support our goals and the three pillars we have for our business: quality, honesty, and integrity,” Chung says. “So, it’s the before-and-after photos my technicians take on every job using AutoServe1. They allow us to live up to our commitment to our customers as well as our suppliers in the event of a warranty claim.” 

Integration Leads to Discovery 

The hassle of double-entering data into QuickBooks and “never having a true reading until everything’s reconciled” led Chung to Protractor and its built-in accounting tool in 2014. And it didn’t take long for her to uncover other efficiencies the SMS’s integration with AutoServe1 could drive, including quick access to previous work orders and AutoServe1 inspections for advisors. 

“One of the first things I learned about AutoServe1 is we can go through the background in Protractor and have the advisor start estimating as the technicians are going through an inspection,” Chung says, noting the DVI tool also uncovered technician-related efficiencies she didn’t expect.  

“Sometimes, as technicians, it’s difficult to fully explain what you’re seeing when you’re inspecting a component,” she says. “When you take a picture, it’s easier for the advisor to understand. That helps with that technician-to-advisor relationship, which helps build a better work culture.” 

Chung says AutoServe1 also helps reduce liability — the 20 photos and videos her techs shoot, on average, per inspection serving as critical evidence should her shop be challenged or questioned. “If we discover a customer’s brakes are metal to metal, and they opt not to have them replaced, well, now I have the evidence that they opened and read the report.” 

The Gamechanger 

Then there’s Protractor’s Reminder List, a feature that allowed Chung to create a custom preventative maintenance schedule advisors present to every customer. The visual aid is also accessible to technicians when conducting their AutoServe1 inspections. 

“Protractor’s Reminder List is definitely a gamechanger for us. We use it at the beginning of the service to tell customers, ‘Hey, this is the maintenance schedule, especially if you’re keeping the car long-term.’ Then the AutoServe1 report is presented as further evidence,” Chung says. “Schedules and routines are part of the dealership model, right? It’s nothing new. It’s just that there isn’t much consistency in the aftermarket to talk about preventative maintenance.” 

When it comes to fiscal responsibility, Chung adds: “What Protractor does is prevent us from being lazy. And I appreciate those checks and balances because now I know the numbers are true when I run reports.”