Before I owned a shop, I’d drop off my car to be fixed where my brother worked (who is now my business partner) and would wonder all day what was happening, which was frustrating. When we bought a shop, I wanted to solve this problem and communicate effectively with my customers and give them an engaging customer service experience.
I first looked for a product to fit my needs but didn’t find one to my satisfaction. I decided to put my 25+ years as a software developer to good use and create my own tool, which is when Autoflow was born. It worked well, extremely well. It solved the dual communication problems I had externally with customers and internally within my shop. 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.
Our shop grew leaps and bounds year over year, and we constantly heard from our customers, “I’ve never experienced communications and service this way.” Likewise, at our second shop we recently opened, our new customers have been blown away by the experience.
Autoflow was going to be my exclusive competitive advantage, but as I became involved with owners groups and attended trade shows, other shop owners wanted to share my experience. The software took off as a completely new business and grew from a simple idea to a simple idea that does many things to help day-to-day shop operations.
Here are a few thoughts:
- Does the Autoflow work? Yes, it works for my operations and many others. Will it work in your shop? Give it a trial run and find out. We all fix cars but don’t all use the same scanners, lifts, and tools. You will never hear me say that you are wrong not to use our software; however, I will say use something, and get with the times.
- Is software like this hard to adopt? Yes and no. Change is hard, but change is good. You as the leader have to decide how hard or easy it will be.
- Will my technicians and crew push back? There is a good possibility they will. “I can do this faster with paper,” is a valid objection at first, but I doubt there is not an author who doesn’t use a word processor to write their book, paper, or article. I personally can type much faster than I could ever write. And, with voice to text, it is not even a competition.
Why is Autoflow now offering text to pay and automated responses through AI technology? Because I want my shops to be the best, and the shops that trust me to help them with their digital solutions deserve the best.
The phrase “for shop owners by shop owners” is powerful, and I’m seeing it used more frequently. As a shop owner, that phrase holds a lot of weight, and I don’t use it lightly but confidently.
Architect/President at Autoflow
The Desire for Continuous Improvement
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.