Service advisors are your go-between from the customer to the garage, and many times, writing up repair orders and quoting vehicle maintenance isn’t standardized. However, it can be thanks to new software from Epicor called SideKick360 that aims to be — literally — a sidekick for the service advisor and the shop owner.
Unveiled at this year’s AAPEX and SEMA Shows, SideKick360 is a web-based reporting platform that is exclusively available from Epicor, a software company that covers all aspects of the automotive aftermarket, and has been added to the newest version of the TireMaster shop management platform from ASA Automotive Systems. Both Epicor and ASA demonstrated the software at their respective booths at this year’s AAPEX and SEMA Shows.
“SideKick360 is a powerful solution that helps users approach each service opportunity in a very strategic way, leading to a more proactive and efficient experience for the service writer and the consumer,” said Tim Hardin, senior vice president and general manager, automotive at Epicor. “By extending this capability into the tire channel, we will also help independent dealers and chains tap into supplier marketing programs and promotions and gain invaluable access to service-level data that can drive better, faster decisions about which parts, tires and other items they need to carry in each location.”
Patrick Murphy, co-founder and CEO of SideKick360, said the goal of the software is to be able to easily tell service advisors within a couple of clicks what services are recommended for a customer’s vehicle based on their past history with a shop. This tool, called SideKick360’s Maintenance Hunter module, helps the service advisor have more consultative conversations with customers and allows shop owners to see maintenance sold across their store locations at a bird’s eye view.
“It basically takes a schedule — let’s say it’s a Valvoline or a BG Products schedule — and applies it against the customer’s history in about three seconds and provides talking points for the sales associate to have a conversation naturally without having to flip through invoices to figure out when the last time an oil change was,” Murphy explained, adding that shops can upload customized service schedules to the software as well.
When integrated with a shop management platform, such as TireMaster, the software is able to analyze customer data, including past invoices, and standardize it so that service advisors at different store locations can align the customer with the services their vehicle needs. The software’s “Invoice Detail” tool also analyzes each new invoice to help ensure all parts and labor charges are properly listed and billed.
“If you have three or four different associates at different stores, they might be writing up services differently,” Murphy said. “This actually goes through the [point of sale] system to standardize all that, so it’s easy to apply a schedule against it.”
For tire dealers, the software also has tire-tracking features. For example, it keeps tabs on the last set of tires a customer purchased and any type of maintenance that was performed on them (alignment, rotation, balance, etc.). It also tracks tire age and can tell a service advisor when to recommend new tires to a customer and what manufacturer promotions might be available. With each customer interaction, a service advisor can also text or print out a snapshot of the vehicle’s health with services recommended.
Murphy, who also created marketing software BayIQ for independent tire dealers and repair shops, said tire dealers with multiple locations particularly benefit from SideKick360 due to its back-end reporting features.
“If you’re a multi-unit operation, it allows you in almost real-time to see all transactions coming in across your stores and allows for customized reporting,” he said. “It really adds the ability to allow owners to stay on top of what’s going on in their stores without having to go there.”
Back-end reporting features in the system include a dashboard showing statistics such as the average revenue per repair ticket, the amount of money made on tires, parts and labor and the gross profit a shop makes off each sale. Dealers can choose different time frames to look at and analyze through the system. In addition, SideKick360 provides in-depth “missed opportunity” reporting to compare services recommended by the software to those actually sold and performed.
For tire dealers, the software also has a Tire Analysis view that tells shop owners about their tire inventory, including which brands and sizes are top sellers.
“It allows the owner to have better compliance with the tire [manufacturer] programs,” Murphy said. “You can export reports with a couple of clicks so that you can send your compliance reporting into Bridgestone, for instance. It makes it easier for the shop to maintain compliance.”
Currently, SideKick360 is exclusively available from Epicor and has a full integration with ASA’s TireMaster, a partner that Murphy said can help bring it to enterprise channels. However, the software can also be used as a web app that can be bought and logged into through an internet browser.