Ben Johnson with Mitchell1 shares insight on ProDemand

Jan. 1, 2020
Ben Johnson with Mitchell1 shares with Motor Age updates to ProDemand, and how the company is using feedback in today’s online world to improve its offering.
Mitchell1 last fall announced that it had taken a need in today’s shops and found a way to make it easier for technicians and service advisors to do their jobs.
Ben Johnson shares with Motor Age updates to ProDemand, and how the company is using feedback in today’s online world to improve its offering.

MA: For those not familiar with ProDemand, can you please describe what it is?

BJ: ProDemand is the most exciting project we’ve done at Mitchell1 in several years.  Simply, it’s the new platform all our information products will evolve to. It was designed based on years of feedback from users of our legacy products, users of competitive products and our understanding of the ever-increasing amount of information needed by the techs to service today’s vehicles. ProDemand is designed specifically not only to house the information, but to make it easy to find. Technicians are able to key in what they’re looking for (such as a component), and ProDemand presents them with relevant information from our vast information database such as procedures, relevant diagrams, specifications and TSBs without additional lookups needed. 

The idea is to present the technician with all the information they need without having to make them search multiple times to find it. We designed ProDemand with scalability and flexibility, so that we can react much more quickly to customer needs, industry demands and competitive threats than ever before. In fact, the product has evolved quite a bit since its original announcement, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.   quick example of that is that we’re adding around 30,000 user-provided “tips” to the product in the next month. And many more features are not only on the drawing board but are actively being developed for the ProDemand architecture.    

MA: What kind of feedback have you received from shops since unveiling the program in the fall?

BJ: We have had excellent feedback. In fact, we have a “voluntary migration” program for those currently on OnDemand5, and the calls for migration have been flooding in. In just a few short months of actively selling the product, we’ve had great success with existing customers migrating to the new platform, new sales and users of competitive products switching to ProDemand. My favorite feedback comment so far from a user: “So easy, a monkey with a stick could use this program!”

MA: You have a new website, ProsDemandIt.com. What can shops find there?

BJ: ProsDemandIt.com has been a great communications tool for us. There shops can find ProDemand feature descriptions and videos, real-world testimonials from users and more.  In addition to the website, a recent enhancement to ProDemand includes a link to our newsletter, which is an online resource where shops and technicians can learn about new ProDemand features, see training videos and other relevant industry information. There are also schedules for ProDemand training workshops and more. 

And if you want to keep up with the latest news, follow us on Facebook. Mitchell1 has our own presence there, with over 6,000 “likes” so far. All these initiatives are designed to keep us in touch with our customers and folks in the industry who are focused at keeping cars on the road. I can’t stress how important it is for us to stay in touch with our customers and to be easy to do business with – these communications tools are essential to meet that goal. And they’ll become even more important for us as we’ll be adding new features very soon which will add even more value to ProDemand. I can’t talk much about those yet, but stay tuned because in the coming months you’re going to hear a lot more about this product!

MA: The world is moving more and more online. Why should shops take advantage of online programs for their businesses?

BJ: It’s really simple. As we all know, the vehicles we service continue to evolve and increase in complexity. The only practical way to keep up with all the changes and constantly updated information is online. It’s just not feasible anymore to try and keep up with a myriad collection of update disks or cartridges. Really productive shops also leverage online services for checking parts inventories and ordering parts.  Its all about all of us collectively keeping our customer’s vehicles on the road and keeping those customers happy. 

MA: How can owners encourage their technicians and service advisors to take advantage of programs like ProDemand?

BJ: That’s a really great question. Frankly I believe once a technician or service advisor uses ProDemand once, they won’t need more convincing. As I mentioned, the vehicles we service today are much more complex than those we were servicing just 10 years ago…and there’s no end in sight. This has resulted in “information overload,” and the technician has unfortunately had to deal with that. At the heart of ProDemand, it’s designed to make that information “findable” – easy for the tech to find what they’re looking for without spending a lot of time doing it. 

In our business, we all sell time. The more work we can get done in our workday, the happier our customers are and the more cash we put in the bank. At Mitchell1, everything we do is focused on making the time our customers spend in our products time well spent. We strive for improving shop efficiencies, and ProDemand is at the heart of it all. As I mentioned, this is not the end of a product development cycle for us. It’s the launch of a new platform which will continue to evolve. So keep checking in – my guess is you’ll see something new and different (in a good way) every month.

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