This article originally appeared in the July 2023 issue of THE SHOP magazine.
By Lukas Kinigadner
Nearly 4-in-10 U.S. drivers replace their tires once every three years or more, and about that same number rely on their mechanics to tell them when to do so.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that establishing trust between customer and technician is a top priority, as specialty tire shops must be prepared to offer transparency and meet consumer needs.
If your shop offers tire replacement or any type of repair service, there’s an opportunity to increase customer engagement at every step, from maintenance checks to tire upgrades. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AI-enabled technology, mobile data capture allows tire shops to pull information directly from the tire sidewall, efficiently and instantly digitizing maintenance data.
With mobile data capture, specialty tire shops can build customer trust and loyalty.
SAVE THEM TIME & MONEY
Manually recording and sharing tire sidewall information with local tire suppliers leaves plenty of room for human error. With 74% of respondents in a recent survey stating that typos on smartphones are a frequent pain point in manual data entry, it is essential for tire shops to ensure that all collected tire data is 100% accurate.
Manual data entry may not only lead to errors but is also a time-consuming process. This, along with recent labor shortages, have caused some tire shops to have longer wait times, as they may not have enough staff allocated to inspect tires.
Additionally, the average time to manually record tire sidewall data such as DOT numbers and tire size from a vehicle is 2 minutes and 43 seconds, compared to 30 seconds with mobile data capture. Mobile data capture reduces the time it takes for technicians to perform vehicle maintenance checks while also improving accuracy, allowing customers to save more time when getting their vehicles checked.
Mobile data capture technology also allows customers to save money in the long run by ensuring checkups are precise and the data measured is accurate. Implementing technology into everyday processes not only makes it easier for customers to get in and out of maintenance checkups quickly, but it also boosts customer satisfaction and peace of mind.
Discount Tire, the world’s largest independent retailer of tires and wheels, sought a way to ensure its technicians had the latest technology to deliver an unrivaled tire inspection process. The company wanted to automate tire maintenance processes to create a better customer experience.
With mobile data capture, Discount Tire was able to complete a tire assessment in about 5 seconds per tire, helping technicians assist more customers and thereby reducing wait times.
REACH CUSTOMERS WHEN IT MATTERS
Almost half of Americans knowingly admit to driving on bad tires, and 46% report having experienced a tire blowout while driving. This data reveals that many customers do not know how to consistently care for or monitor their tires.
With mobile data capture, tire shops can collect and manage vehicle data in a way that not only provides real business value, but also helps keep customers safe.
With mobile DOT scanning assistance, specialty tire shops can improve road safety for drivers and ensure timely connections with customers through preventative tire care. Many drivers rely on professionals to know when it is time to change their tires, so it is essential for specialty tire shops to give customers specific, reliable recommendations about their distinct vehicles.
Using connected, digital vehicle information, mobile data capture allows tire technicians to know exactly when to replace tires, which tire models are the best fit and when they return for a maintenance visit.
Customers also rely on the pros when it comes to purchasing tires. In fact, 39% of respondents in a recent survey stated that they trust their mechanic to tell them when to replace their tires.
This gives specialty tire shops vital upselling opportunities through mobile scanning technology. Having connected, scanned data integrated into a customer relationship management (CRM) platform or dealer management system (DMS) allows tire shops to recommend products to customers specifically when they need them most.
If a customer has been using the same tires for a certain number of years or has had consistent issues with their current tires, the technician can use that history to make a valuable recommendation, boosting revenue and customer trust.
BENEFITS FOR MULTI-LOCATION SHOPS
Specialty tire shops can easily and accurately scan all needed vehicle data—such as DOT and VIN numbers, tread and depth, tire size and license plate number—with mobile data capture. The technology allows technicians at multi-location shops to have consistent information and vehicle history for a customer as soon as they arrive, no matter which location they visit.
When tire shops do not have vehicle maintenance history readily available, technicians do not have information on when the tires were last rotated or installed, as well as if the wear and tear is old or new.
For specialty tire shops, using mobile scanning technology helps connect that data, saving the customer time and money and empowering the technician to make more informed decisions and recommendations.
Mobile data capture is especially helpful when it comes to the DOT recall procedure. This allows tire shops to track tires and know instantly if a tire that has been recalled is in use.
STREAMLINING THE TIRE BUYING PROCESS
A recent consumer study found that while the number of U.S. drivers willing to buy tires over the internet increased from 10% in 2017 to 29% in 2022, the majority of drivers still hesitate to buy tires online.
Meanwhile, the top pain points for in-store purchases include being bothered by upselling salespeople (37%), waiting too long in the store to get new tires (37%), or being unsure of what they were buying (30%).
To address these issues, specialty tire shops can invest in tire eCommerce, mobile data capture and scanning technologies. Not only does mobile data capture help customers make educated decisions about their tires and vehicles, it also saves the customer time while building trust with the tire shop.
Since 43% of drivers would consider purchasing tires online if they had more knowledge about what they were buying, specialty tire shops have an opportunity to boost sales by creating more chances for customers to learn about tires online. Also, 30% of drivers consider cost and instant access to exclusive pricing as key factors in the decision-making process—another area where online service shines.
With online tire buying, tire shops can easily provide customers with all the needed information, allowing them to do adequate research and therefore feel confident in their purchase.
CONNECTED TIRE MAINTENANCE DATA
To keep up with larger commercial dealers, specialty tire shops have an opportunity to build customer relationships and improve engagement by implementing the latest technologies.
To counter competition and labor shortages, smaller, local tire shops can use mobile data capture and AI-enabled systems to enhance their entire organization. Incorporating real-time data can strengthen all processes, from planning and sales to post-purchase services.
To increase customer value, tire shops must ensure that data collection is not only secure, but also accurate and timely. Tire shops that invest in key technologies will not only facilitate repairs and ensure preventative maintenance, but also keep drivers safe on the road.
Creating a regular touchpoint with the customer also allows tire shops to build a long-term relationship and enjoy repeat sales.
Lukas Kinigadner is CEO and founder of Anyline, a data capture and enterprise-grade mobile scanning solutions business. Visit anyline.com.