Long before I owned an auto repair shop, I dreaded when my car broke down for a couple of reasons. One, I never had the money to fix it, and two, I was going to have to drop it off at a shop and let it go into a black hole of time. I hated being in the dark as to what, if anything, was going on with my car while it was in the shop.
Fast forward now to Chris, the shop owner. I very quickly realized upon buying my own auto repair shop that I was in over my head. At first, I was managing pure chaos. We would lose cars, lose keys, and it’s surprising we functioned to the degree we did. I always look for better ways to do things…Kaizen, continuous improvement, and I knew there had to be a better way. I also knew that I was doing the same thing to my customers that I hated, which was keeping them in the dark, and that had to change. Afterall, my shop’s name is Golden Rule Auto Care, and our mission is to treat our customers as we’d want to be treated.
I first looked for a product to fit my needs but didn’t find one to my satisfaction. I then decided to put my 25+ years as a software developer to good use and create my own tool, which is when autotext.me was born. It was going to be my exclusive competitive advantage, and I used it in my own shop for a year or two. It solved the dual communication problems I had internally within my shop and externally with customers. autotext.me helped to manage the chaos by visually tracking where a car was in the repair process and by keeping my customers in the loop as to the status of their vehicle repairs from start to finish. This expedited communication produced a domino effect of benefits. As communication gaps and delays diminished, our wasted rack time was reduced, and we became a more streamlined, productive shop.
Eventually, I wanted to share what I had founded and created with other shop owners and see their reaction, and, I have to say, the response has been great. It feels good to know that I created something that can benefit others as it has benefited me.
Architect/President at autoflow.com
As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time. With 20+ years experience as a software developer including employment stints at Southwest Airlines and Wyndham International, Chris had seen the benefits of the marriage of software and customer service. With the entrepreneurial passion to create an innovative solution to solve a common industry problem, Chris designed autoflow, a tool that dually functions as a visual workflow management system and as a means for keeping customers engaged and informed by providing status updates throughout the stages of the vehicle repair process. Click here to read more...