I get this question asked a lot: “Why can’t the software I want to use integrate with my shop management system?” There really isn’t one easy answer to this question, but let me start with one of the problems I see. There is some sort of misconception about who owns the customer data that you, the shop owner, has collected. There are some shop management systems out there that feel they have some ownership over your data and that they’re “protecting you” from yourself because you want to use another software product in your business.

My question to you, and, to them, is before we had shop management systems and hand wrote everything, did the paper company or the manila folder company have any type of ownership on your data? Did the file cabinet own your data because the paper and manila folders were stored in that file cabinet? I think everyone reading this would answer with a resounding NO.

As shop owners, we work hard to collect our customer data that WE own. And, we should be able to share that data with the systems we choose to share it with.

As a shop owner, I know that we all fix cars, but each one of us does it slightly differently. And, each one of us has tools that we prefer to use when doing that job. We use different scan tools, lifts, and on and on. By the way, when is the last time a scan tool maker asked you to exclusively use their product?

We, as shop owners, need to make it clear to the shop management systems who believe they have some ownership of our data that they don’t. And, they should open up and allow for collaboration with other products that you want to use.

Who owns your auto shop’s customer data? You do!

Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at autotext.me

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 autotext.me, 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...

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