How It Works: Bodyshop Booster
THE DETAILS Website: www.bodyshopbooster.com Cost: Around $200 per month Uses: Online program that connects customers to shops for estimates via photo message Training: online and onsite training
John Fiscus has been in the automotive industry for over 30 years. Fiscus’ career has included every position from technician to body shop manager, and then to regional manager of an MSO operation. Today, he’s managed Snow Hill Auto Body for a little more than four years.
Snow Hill Auto Body was born roughly five years ago in Snow Hill, Md. The 13,000-square-foot shop houses a towing business that works well with the shop’s rural location, manager John Fiscus says. Prior to Bodyshop Booster, Fiscus frequently spent nights on the road driving to assess damage from a customer’s vehicle.
How It Works:
Bodyshop Booster is an online program that gives customers the ability to take multi-angled photos of car damage and send them to the nearest body shop for an estimate. The largest obstacle of getting into a body shop is setting aside time for two visits: the initial estimate and the repair.
According to Bodyshop Booster, “62 percent of existing customers have damage on their vehicles,” but they have not gotten an estimate. Bodyshop Booster allows customers to receive an estimate without entering the shop.
When taking a photo of the vehicle damage, Bodyshop Booster advises the customer on which angles the image will work best to guarantee an accurate estimate. Once customers take photos, body shops connected to the program are contacted via email and receive the customer’s contact, vehicle information and photos of the damage.
After Fiscus receives the email, he puts the photos into his estimating system and begins to work through the vehicle’s repair estimate. Lastly, Fiscus calls the customer to explain the estimate and schedule a time for the repair.
Fiscus doesn’t remember where he heard of Bodyshop Booster, but his shop was interested. Fiscus previously worked after hours to track down vehicles for repair estimates.
“I did a lot of driving,” Fiscus says. “People would call, email, or ask me for help, so I spent a lot of time on the road.”
Once the program was introduced, staff received training on how it worked through online videos.
Bodyshop Booster is on the shop’s website today and branded as “Ribbit the Quick Estimate App,” which coincides with the shop’s frog mascot. Customers are informed about the program when he or she calls to make an estimate appointment.
“We always make it clear that it’s a photo estimate, so it’s a rough idea of what it’s going to cost,” Fiscus says.
In addition, the program is marketed on both radio and TV commercials throughout the community. It’s been a success, Fiscus says.
“They really like it; the response I get back when I email the estimate is always, ‘This is so easy; thank you for the quick response,” Fiscus says. “To me, it’s a valuable tool.
“It’s all about convenience for the customer and that’s our main thing.”
Having the ability to connect with customers through an online program has brought in more business for the rurally located shop, Fiscus says.
“We’ve seen an increase [in the business],” Fiscus says. “Once the estimate is sent, it has a follow-up area where you follow up with the customer, and it gives a report on the percentage you sell.”
According to Fiscus, 93 percent of customers who submit photo estimates for the shop have become returning customers. In addition, the shop receives around an average of five photo estimate jobs per week, Fiscus says.
“I would say we are up from when we started using the program three years ago,” Fiscus says. “I can tell you that it’s a valuable tool.”