Optimizing Service Offerings

March 1, 2024
AutoSAM is a customer-facing software for shops.

Information is a powerful tool. Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet, for example, knows this well. With a few swipes of your finger and a phrase typed into a search engine, you quickly have access to a world’s worth of information in the palm of your hand. This concept is as overwhelming as it is endearing. But with the right strategy, the concept of information access can be more than a powerful tool—it can be a tool for success.   

In a shop setting, one way to think about this is in relation to service recommendations. It’s about ensuring an efficient process that educates the customer, streamlines the work for the shop employees, and creates a satisfactory experience across the board.   

Inspired by providing a customizable solution for shops, AutoSAM is customer-facing automotive maintenance software currently available for quick lubes, tire dealers, auto service shops, and dealerships. It was founded by Jim Weis and Paul Seiler. Weis spoke with NOLN about the ideas behind AutoSAM and the way that it works in practice.   

“A lot of the issues that I had when I was in the service industry and retail space was the training. It was the turnover and the constant working with employees and teaching them how to do recommendations properly and just making sure that when the customers came into the locations that I was responsible for that they were being told everything they should know about their vehicle,” Weis says. “Because it it's not just about what the cars need at that point, it's about what they've done in the past, what is coming up soon or due soon, and then obviously what is needed or recommended at this point in time.”  

AutoSAM helps with this process, making the service selection and communication process easier for shops and customers to determine.  

“So, I basically took that concept, and I built a program around that which basically provides the customer with all the data ... me as a manager or me as a location owner would want customers to be able to see,” Weis says.   

AutoSAM has service customizability as well, meaning shops can tune the software to their specific offerings. Weis says there are about 100 different service options. This list was developed with what the customers are looking at in mind. He says some of these services (such as vehicle suspension) are more generalized because a customer may not know the intricate details of their suspension issue, while things like oil changes, wiper blades, and fuel filters are more location specific.   

“We work with (shops) initially to set up all of the services based on the services that they offer at their location,” Weis says. “So, we can enable/disable services and do things like that as well as with their pricing and everything to make sure that the customer is getting accurate price quotes, so to speak.”  

Using the Interface  

In practice, Weis says he strives to make AutoSAM as user-friendly as possible—from the ease of downloading the app from the Apple App Store and getting things set up to its use in a shop.   

“So, the customer can view more services at one time and there's more information buttons on each service so the customer can look to see why a service really needs to be completed,” Weis says. “And then all they would really do is when they want to purchase a service, they would hit the ‘select’ button and it automatically populates into a shopping cart for them.”   

Weis says services are shown based on recommendation—it will tell the customer what is due at the time of service, what it due soon, and what is not. After clicking into the shopping cart, in addition to their selections, customers are once again shown recommended services that they didn’t select to have one last chance to look those over before selecting “confirm,” after which point the shop location employees can enter it into their point-of-sale system.   

In this vein, AutoSAM is fully integrated with quick lube management software provider DropTop. Weis says the ability to use AutoSAM and DropTop in tandem creates a “soft sell” interaction between technician and customer, essentially allowing the technician to focus on the service while the customer builds the work order.   

“What we do is we actually pull any of the service packages that (are) built into that particular customer with DropTop, and it's a seamless transition for the customer at that point,” Weis says. “So, they're looking at the services that are available to them based on what DropTop has built in that location’s point-of-sale system and also it actually builds the work order in the DropTop point-of-sale for the for the location.”  

Looking Ahead  

Long term, Weis hopes to see AutoSAM in shops across North America. (More information about AutoSAM can be found at www.autosamus.com.) He wants to help shops generate profitability while making an impact on the industry.  

“Outside of that, we are evolving the capabilities of the application constantly. We plan to incorporate new reporting, a marketing platform, and a client-side portal on our website so changes a business wants to make to their customizations can be done virtually,” Weis tells NOLN. “We also are looking at additional POS integrations with other companies as well.”  

Weis says AutoSAM is a kiosk-style platform unlike anything currently available to the automotive aftermarket that ultimately can benefit the technician and customer alike.    

“So, this is an easier process, because the technician can just focus on the job that they have at hand,” Weis says. “They can work on the vehicle, they can get the service in and out, reduce the bay times ... and the customers get a much better experience because they’re being presented with everything that location offers them, but also tells them things that they don’t need to worry about—which oftentimes get missed.”