8x8 Business VoIP Phone System Helps Auto Repair Franchisee Provide Amazing Customer Service
Fix Auto is a network of 54 auto body shops, all maintaining the same standards of quality, ethics and performance. In 2011, Mary Oliver and her business partner converted two independent body shops into Fix Auto franchises operating in San Jose and Gilroy, California.
Although the San Jose and Gilroy shops are part of a national chain, they still maintain a family atmosphere, especially when dealing with customers. In addition to offering the convenience of one-stop shopping for vehicle repair, they simplify the claims process so that customers can get back on the road as quickly as possible. The company’s commitment to quality and customer service is reflected in its outstanding customer service index (CSI) scores and Yelp reviews.
Outdated Phone System Resulted in Missed and Dropped Calls, and Poor Voice Quality
When Oliver joined Fix Auto in 2011, the business had been using a standard AT&T landline telephone system for many years. Not only was the technology old, so was the building’s copper wire infrastructure. That combination resulted in static on the line, dropped calls, and poor voice quality.
“The lines to our building were underground and more than 25 years old,” explains Oliver.
“Every time it rained, we had problems with our phone system because the insulation around the underground wiring had worn off.”
Another serious problem was call coverage. “We didn’t have enough full-time staff in Gilroy to answer the phones live and a lot of calls were going to voicemail,” says Oliver. “In our industry, customers want to talk to someone right away, especially if they’ve been in an accident and need to schedule repairs or a tow. If you miss their call, they call someone else.”
8x8 Business VoIP System is Up and Running in Two Weeks
Oliver and her partner realized they needed to replace their outdated phone system, but neither had the technical expertise to select a new one. They asked a friend and fellow small business owner for his recommendation. He gave them just one name: 8x8.
“I watched an online presentation of the 8x8 business VoIP system, and it looked like it was easy to set up and use,” says Oliver.”
Oliver ordered new phones and within two weeks Fix Auto had its 8x8 business VoIP phone service up and running in both locations.
“Setting up the 8x8 system was even easier than I thought it would be,” says Oliver. “We started installing our new phones and boom! Everything was working right out of the box. When I did have questions, I called 8x8 and got instant help.”
“Our society is becoming very fast-paced, and businesses need efficient communication tools to keep up. We switched to 8x8 business VoIP phone service because we’re a little more tech-savvy here in Silicon Valley. I hope the success we’re having inspires other Fix Auto franchises to adopt this amazing technology.”
Owner of Fix Auto
Ring Groups Distribute Calls to Both Locations for Live Answering
With Fix Auto’s San Jose and Gilroy locations on the same 8x8 phone system, call coverage is no longer a problem. Using a simultaneous ring group, Fix Auto redirects unanswered calls from Gilroy to San Jose after two rings. Customers can talk to the receptionist or a staff member at the San Jose office, completely unaware that their call was transferred from Gilroy.
“8x8’s ring group feature has significantly enhanced our customer service,” says Oliver. “When a customer’s been in an accident, they’re often upset and don’t want to wait for a callback. With 8x8, we can be there for customers no matter which office they call.”
Warm Call Transfers Provide a Personal Touch
8x8’s call transfer capability is also a much welcome improvement for Fix Auto. The company’s receptionist can easily transfer calls to any extension at either location, or to a user’s cell phone without giving out their personal number. Transfers are “warm,” which means the receptionist can talk with the party she is transferring to, make sure that person is available, pass along the caller’s name, and summarize the purpose of the call before transferring.
“It’s kind of like two features in one,” says Oliver. “Our receptionist can first talk with the person she’s transferring to before handing off the call. Both callers and staff appreciate that personal touch when calls are being transferred.”
Dedicated Fax Lines Deliver Important Business Partner Documents
As a repair shop, Fix Auto frequently partners with insurance companies who send “assignments” detailing which part of the vehicle is covered for repairs from the current claim. Some insurance companies still use a fax machine to transmit assignments. Similarly, some of the company’s auto parts vendors still prefer to receive a fax for parts orders and confirmations.
“Our industry has been slow to adopt newer technology, like email,” says Oliver. “With 8x8, we can have a dedicated fax line at each shop location for a very affordable price. That’s important because working with insurance companies and parts vendors is our bread and butter. We have to support their business models.”
Call Blocking Prevents Telemarketers from Disrupting Business
Unwanted calls from telemarketers, on the other hand, are easily blocked on the 8x8 business VoIP system, a feature Oliver loves.
“I let telemarketers ring through once, and then program their number into a blocked call list,” she explains. “Once they’re on the list, they can’t get through again. Like most business owners, I’ve got a million things to do, so being free from the constant distraction of those calls is a huge relief!”
Oliver also likes the built-in business continuity of 8x8’s transfer capability. If Fix Auto loses power or Internet connectivity, incoming calls are automatically transferred to Oliver’s cell phone and business goes on as usual.
Email Notification of Voicemail Enables Owner to Correct CSI Score
Fix Auto’s receptionist does occasionally send calls to voicemail when the caller wants to leave a message for someone who’s not available. When that happens, the recipient gets an email notification with a sound file attached so they can listen to the message right away.
“Receiving email notifications is very convenient because I check email all day long,” says Oliver. “Instead of dialing into the voicemail system, I can click the email attachment and play the message immediately. It saves time, and helps me respond to callers promptly.”
It also enabled Oliver to correct her franchise’s CSI score when Fix Auto unexpectedly got low marks in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by a third party. Oliver reached out to the customer and received a callback that went to voicemail. In her message the customer assured Oliver that Fix Auto’s service had been excellent. It turned out that the low score was caused by a bad connection during the third party’s telephone survey. Oliver emailed the customer’s voice message to Fix Auto’s corporate headquarters so they could follow up with the survey provider and adjust her franchise’s CSI score.
“Fix Auto CSI scores are supposed to be no lower than a 9 out of 10,” says Oliver. “Getting a low score is something we take very seriously. Thanks to 8x8, I was able to clear up the misunderstanding with this customer. And corporate was very impressed that we can email our voicemail messages!”
Visionary Franchise Hopes to Inspire 8x8 Adoption Throughout the Chain
Recently Oliver’s franchise received a Fix Auto Vision Award for their efforts in promoting the chain’s brand. According to Oliver, an important part of being a visionary is looking at where Fix Auto wants to go as a company.
“Our society is becoming very fast-paced, and businesses need efficient communication tools to keep up,” says Oliver. “We switched to 8x8 business VoIP phone service because we’re a little more tech-savvy here in Silicon Valley. I hope the success we’re having inspires other Fix Auto franchises to adopt this amazing technology.”