The majority of small business owners have bought into the smart phone revolution by late 2011. However, among that majority, most only use a fraction of what their iPhone, android, or Blackberry can do for their business.
These new phones are particularly useful to detailers, PDR tax, and interior repair techs. The reason is that we are in a particularly visual industry. The ability to quickly receive photos of dance, tears, scratches, etc. can save us a massive amount of time and secure business that we might otherwise lose. So here are four ways that you can put that expensive phone contract to work for you:
- Photos. Ever had a customer call with the job that was “borderline”? it’s too risky to throw out a quote over the phone, so you quote a wide range on the job. The customer says he’ll think about it. But you never hear from him again. Now, if the customer can take a quick photo with her cell phone and text it to you immediately, you can throw out a very specific number with some confidence. Also, we have all driven many miles to a job that just wasn’t fixable as a re-conditioner. A quick photo via text can keep you out of a frustrating trip like this.
- Videos. The video capability of most smart phones is now good enough for YouTube. This is a huge promotional opportunity. You only need a helper, a friend, or a coworker to do a brief video of you fixing again, spraying a seat, or buffing a car. What you do next is upload the video to YouTube and label it with something like “Tucson Dent Repair.” Often, Google will place these videos on the first page of Google much faster than your webpage. You can get a ton of free publicity for just 30 minutes of work. This video by a Portland bumper repair company reached the first page of Google and has over 4700 views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuWFX6HXfns. It has probably produced over 100 bumper jobs and $25,000 of revenue. It was filmed with a camcorder of the same quality as modern smartphones, and edited by a company on craigslist for $75.
- Appointment setting. Some days get pretty busy in the car business. There isn’t a technician out there who has been around for more than five years who hasn’t completely forgotten about an appointment. It’s a huge embarrassment and a bruise on her reputation. If you can structure your whole day on your cell phone, and add alerts as each appointment comes up ( have your phone vibrate 20 minutes before the next appointment) this simply won’t happen again. And applications like Google calendar have some really powerful features that allow you to send out automatic e-mails to your customers a day prior to your appointment. Because it’s not just you that forgets appointments, it’s your customers too.
- Accept credit cards. This costs about 3% per transaction. No fees initially. No monthly fees. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than taking checks, and if you have a trusted account, certainly continue taking checks. But for customers who insist on plastic, and for new customers, processing cards with your phone is a revenue generator and time saver. We recommend SquareUp.