Over the last year, auto shops have faced all kinds of challenges, from worker shortages to supply chain delays to increasing demand for services as more consumers repair their vehicles instead of replacing them. What are the defining auto industry trends of 2023 so far? From the ongoing auto technician shortage to a demand for electric vehicle service and maintenance skills to customer experience expectations — here’s what to be on the lookout for this year.

Prediction: Auto shops need to focus on digital transformation to appeal to customer preferences.

When it comes to interactions with your customers, one report found that consumers of automotive services want to see changes that will make their lives easier — changes that embody frictionless experiences. This desire is projected to be mainstream by 2025.1

What this means is that people have come to expect all services (including auto care services) to be as seamless as shopping on Amazon — with the ability to manage and complete transactions with a few taps of their phone screen. We’ve seen repair shops respond by integrating critical communication tools to help create a better customer care experience.

With 2025 just around the corner, we expect to see more and more auto shops across the country adopting auto repair software in 2023 that will allow them to provide the key digital features that customers crave. Changing how your shop cares for customers includes up-leveling your customer touchpoints through things like real-time updates, text message automated appointment reminders, sending photos and videos, providing fully automated payment options, and the ability to easily approve estimates right from their phones. Building in these communication standards is critical for repair shops looking to boost revenue and grow their businesses in 2023.

Prediction: The shops that get ahead this year are the ones investing in retaining and training their technicians.

The auto technician shortage has been affecting the auto repair industry for the better part of a decade. By 2024, the industry will be short approximately 642,000 technicians, spread out among automotive, diesel, and collision specialties. An astounding 79% of technicians have thought about leaving the field, and 69% of technicians feel job burnout. By 2029, the industry is projected to see a 4% decline in employment in the auto technician field. As many technicians are retiring from the industry and turnover rates remain high, there are also fewer younger technicians entering the industry, and those who are often don’t receive adequate training.2

Forward-thinking shops will be looking to deter technicians from leaving their current jobs, and the industry at large, by investing in giving them the right tools and training they need to succeed. And when we say “tools,” we mean digital tools: software that supports technicians with digital tools can optimize their time and provide clear insight into assignments, allowing them to efficiently complete their work.

Make sure your technicians do not become frustrated because they’re not given the tools needed to get their job done. The auto repair industry has access to modern technology for technicians such as digital vehicle inspections, parts lookups, digital estimate creation, and even simple digital organizational tools and internal communication capabilities. Look into how you can help your technicians be the best they can be, they are going to appreciate the strategic thought and care you put into up-leveling them.

Technician training is also key. With the right digital tools, you can track the areas where your techs need to become more efficient. This helps you to focus on where they need to be trained so that you can proactively provide them with the specific training that will not only grow them individually but also help increase your shop's productivity level. Training your technicians also helps them feel valued, which will help with retention.

Prediction: Rising demand for EV repairs and maintenance requires technicians to gain proficiency in EV services.

Related to technician training, shops are finding themselves in need of the capabilities to properly and quickly service electric vehicles (EVs). The popularity of EVs continues to grow, but most technicians don’t have the specific skills needed to service EVs. The time is now to make it a priority to get your technicians trained in EV repair and maintenance.

Prepare your auto shop for 2023 and beyond.

The shops that are best positioned to meet 2023’s auto industry trends in stride are those willing to be flexible and invest in both digital solutions, and in the growth and development of their technicians.

Whether that means providing digital customer service tools or looking for ways to optimize your techs’ time, taking modern approaches to auto shop management can not only boost overall efficiency and bottom lines, it can also help your shop keep up with the competition and increase its relevance and longevity.

Learn more about how Shopmonkey can help put your shop on the path to a modern future that prioritizes your operations, your customers, and your technicians.

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