In expansion mode since Jim Reeser arrived in January 2018, K&W Tire has grown from five stores to 10 locations sprinkled across eastern Vermont and Central Pennsylvania. The regional chain’s Director of Retail Operations credits the owners for keeping their minds and pocketbooks open to his drive to unify operations around four critical software tools.
“I attribute our growth to four things: AutoService1, Protractor, 360 Payments, and Federated Car Care,” says Reeser. “First of all, they are great business partners. Nobody needs another expense. They provide us with the tools we need to, frankly, make more money, but you need someone to spearhead the program and put it in place — hold people accountable.”
K&W Tire added AutoServe1 in August 2020 to standardize mechanic inspections. Reeser didn’t expect the immediate impact the digital inspection tool and its texting capabilities would have on sales, helping even the inexperienced to land big-ticket repairs.
“The first week we had AutoServe1 in our Lancaster (Pa.) store, a young fella we had at the counter sent the report to a customer with a bunch of suggested repairs and a couple of needed repairs,” Reeser recalls. “That ticket totaled $1,500 with no tires involved. Our counter guy admitted he would never have presented those repairs over the phone.”
Today, K&W Tire’s service teams never hear from 40% of the chain’s customers, as they approve and pay for repairs digitally through AutoServe1 — the latter capability the result of the DVI tool’s integration with 360 Payments. Reeser notes that invoices making up that percentage now track $103 higher than those without an AutoServe1 texted inspection report.
“Of all the pluses that go with AutoServe1 — the pictures, the video, the customer education — I’d say the most important thing for us, especially during the pandemic, was Text-to-Pay,” he says.
A Digital Ecosystem
That experience also connects with K&W Tire’s Protractor shop management software — integrations that ensure frictionless workflows and data transfer for his stores. Reeser is now using those connections to drive his idea for generating more Google reviews through Protractor’s CRM capabilities. And when logged into Protractor, his advisors only need two clicks to pull up repairs customers deferred through the AutoServe1 tool on their last visit.
“My career taught me that if you ask for an air filter and the customer says ‘No,’ you better ask for that filter the next time. Otherwise, they’ll believe you’re just trying to make money,” Reeser says. “So, when they’re writing someone up, we expect our advisors to take a moment to look at the deferred category in Protractor.
“I don’t know how you can hold people accountable without these tools — how you even perform a proper preventative-maintenance analysis. Does the mechanic write everything down, or does he pick and choose what he wants to do? Do customers get whatever story the advisor wants to tell them?” he continues. “AutoServe1, Protractor, and 360 Payments give us the tools and integrations we need to be consistent, effective, and productive.”