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In this episode, we hear from Brittany Schindler, General Manager at Rod’s Japanese Auto Care, Robert Allen, Senior Project Manager of Web Presence at AutoVitals, and our hosts Uwe and Bill. They dive deep into website and SEO technology, including key performance indicator tracking that can bring transparency to the murky world of Google keyword ranking and how website and SEO KPIs turn Google searches into measurable results.

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Bill Connor (00:05):
Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and if you’re listening, you’ve reached a Digital Shop Talk Radio. Today I’m here with Brittany Schindler, the general manager of Rod’s Japanese Auto Care. Welcome Brittany, or I should say welcome back. You’ve been here with us before and we certainly appreciate it. We’ve also got Robert Allen, the project manager for AutoVitals Web presence. Welcome, Robert. Good morning. And of course we’ve got AutoVitals very own Chief Innovation Officer, Uwe Kleinschmidt. Welcome back Uwe. And today we’re going to take a deep dive into how website and search engine optimization technology, including the key performance indicator tracking, brings transparency to the voodoo that everybody thinks of when they think about ranking on Google. So today we’re going to give you some solid information on turning searches into measurable results when motorists searched for vehicle services for shops just like yours. So that being said, what I’d like to do is once again, welcome everybody and let’s get started in and Uwe what I’d like to, if it’s okay with you, start out today by let’s define some of the Google. They give us a ton of great metrics and tools to measure their so-called Core WebVitals. So if we can, let’s go and define what these core WebVitals are and what they represent. That sound like a good place to start?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:35):
Sure. Do we have two hours?
Bill Connor (01:37):
Well, I think we’re going to have to shorten it down a little bit from two hours, but it’d be a great pace to start because I’m sure as a shop owner initially I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what Web core vitals were, let alone how to go ahead and use the metrics that Google has got and how they’re changing. So maybe we should let Robert go ahead and start into this path. Oh,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:58):
Oh, no, no, no. I’m not giving my place away here so quickly.
Bill Connor (02:03):
Alright, what a surprise.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (02:06):
No, thank you. And Robert’s going to have plenty of ability to help us out, but I just want to ask everybody, do you remember, and maybe you do that still today, how you as a shop owner go online to Google and Google yourself and Google search terms trying to find out how well you rank? That’s a thing of the past. It’s so sophisticated in the meanwhile that what you see is not necessarily what the prospects you are trying to want to find your shop are going to see. So the complexity of Google, that’s why we call it voodoo science. Not sure it is really science, but we assume it is.
The core WebVitals in a nutshell have given us as website providers and more importantly our customers a k set of KPIs to really judge how well your website is designed. That’s what it is in a nutshell, and that tool is free. The moment you have a Chrome browser, you can just use it and I bet Robert is going to show us a little bit about more details, but that’s what this really is because there’s so much guessing ongoing and there are still many, many companies making lots of money trying to chase Google’s algorithm, which is still changing on a regular basis, right? Nothing has changed, but at least when it comes to is your website designed towards Google’s definition of a well ranking and engaging website? Core WebVitals is the key and everybody can access it. There’s no protected mode just for paying customers or something like that. It’s really everybody has the ability to find out. Is that what you wanted to hear, Phil? That was less than 10 minutes. It
Bill Connor (04:44):
Sure simplifies it, but really what I want to know from a shop owner standpoint is what are the numbers and how do we apply ’em? How do we turn these into making the phone ring or appointments set and so on?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (04:55):
Yeah, I would, it’s all about appointments, but I have to tell you my opinion about this has changed a little bit. I get it. It’s about appointments. We all agree, but on the way to appointments, the web has become an educational environment in which people want to learn first about their cause problems before they actually make an appointment. So for me, in the meanwhile, a big success is do people use the shop website to educate themselves? And it’s not just are there enough five star reviews? It’s really more than that. And I don’t want to jump ahead too much, but if we can during this hour, we should look at how over the course of time, the website as an engagement platform for motorists will change in the future, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. So let’s assume appointments is the only key currently, and I would love to ask Robert, Robert, what are we doing to have this holy grail achieved as many appointments as possible?
Robert Allen (06:35):
Yeah, there’s a couple different paths to this in that different users are going to have different needs that need to be solved. There are going to be some motorists who maybe they’ve done business with their shop before, maybe you have a great reputation where they literally just want your phone number, an ability to schedule an appointment and that’s enough for them. But there’s also going to be the motorists who say, I’ve got a clunking sound when I break. I need to know more about that. I want to know if this shop can address the noise that I’m having. Do they do these services? And so there needs to be content on the website that really caters to both needs. So it has to be easy for them to quickly schedule an appointment, make a phone call to you and get in contact with you. But you also have to have the content that allows them to dig a little bit deeper, build some trust. Can they repair the issue that I’m having with my car? Are they experts in it? And really allow them to make that decision on their own and then go back and schedule the appointment or make the phone call
Uwe Kleinschmidt (07:45):
And I guess you prepared something to show could we do that?
Robert Allen (07:52):
All right. And so I call this the organic customer journey. There’s different journeys depending on where a motorist is coming from around the web. In most cases, a motorist is going to go to Google and say, I need an auto repair shop near me. I need brake repair near me or air conditioning repair. And it may be that they’re looking for a specific location to fix the problem. It may be that they’re looking for someplace where that information exists so they can make an informed decision as far as where they’re going to go. Google, as Uwe was saying, he was talking about core WebVitals a little bit. Google has done a great job at simplifying the, I guess turning something complex into something simple. At its core, Google wants to show the user the best result for their query in the best method that meets their device, whether they’re on a mobile device or a desktop that has a great user experience.
Now for us, that makes it a little bit complex to try and to meet all these criteria, but for the motorist, it really makes it simple in that the top results oftentimes going to be relevant to their search. It’s going to be a site that performs well as far as speed, and it’s going to be a site that’s secure and meets all of Google’s criteria. And so once that motorist finds that Google search result and gets to the page, then it is about engaging them. And like I was saying before, there’s a couple of different paths that that motorist is going to go if they trust you already, if they know who you are or they know that you’ll suit their needs. It’s really just that call to action. And if they need to learn a little bit more about you and understand if you can suit their needs, then it’s going to be to the content on the page or the content on the website to make that decision and then do the call to action.
And the call to action was really just how that motorist takes the next step. And so that could be clicking the appointment button on your site, it could be finding your phone number, it could be sending you an email or I don’t think this happens as often looking up your address and stopping by. Those call to actions need to be on the site, but at the same time need to be positioned in a way that the process for both the customer who’s looking for an immediate contact and the customer who’s looking for an educational experience both interact well with that information. And then at that point it’s handed off from the website over to the service advisor, the initial person at the shop who needs to nurture that relationship, who needs to have the conversation with the customer and also handle that in a manner in which it’s going to convert that customer from someone on the phone or someone over email to someone who’s in the shop.
Bill Connor (10:56):
I really like this funnel because it really explains really well that if you don’t go ahead and work with Google’s core WebVitals and you don’t rank, you might as well not exist as far as they’re concerned.
Robert Allen (11:08):
Absolutely. At any point here, if something is botched, they can fall out of that funnel if the website’s not optimized well with the right content that meets those queries. If core WebVitals is not met, which really includes, is a site fast? So does it load fast? Does the content shift around on a page? I’m sure everyone can think about a time when you go to a website and it’s still loading as you’re trying to click something. And right as you click something, the website shifts and you click on the wrong link. That is one of my pet peeves. And that’s one of the things that Google looks at making sure that the website doesn’t do that and overall is the website loading quickly and being interactive in a quick fashion. So if those things are missed, you’re not going to have the motorist progress to the website content.
They’re not going to be looking for the phone number, the request appointment button. They’re not going to be reading the content on brake repair when they have that clunking noise in their brakes. And so at each step they can fall out and at this point, if they go through the content and say, Hey, I really want to work with the shop that can’t figure out how to contact you, or it’s very difficult to contact you, they may just go to the next Google search result and start that funnel over again with a different shop. And then at the last part of it, if the phone isn’t answered in a way or email isn’t answered in a way, or chat’s not answered in a way that makes that motorist comfortable, it could be anything from thanks for the information I’ll call you back to not showing up for an appointment that’s scheduled. Does that make sense? Yep,
Bill Connor (12:51):
It sure does. And so what this is all about is creating opportunities for the service advisor, but the live human on the end of it still has to go ahead and do the actual conversion.
Robert Allen (13:05):
Bill Connor (13:07):
So this isn’t replacing the human, and that’s one of the things that Brittany’s been so good about doing is getting her humans to go ahead and actually do those conversions.
Brittany Schindler (13:17):
Yeah, I mean, we pay for the phone to ring, right? It’s one of the most important things to be completely on your game when you’re answering the phone. I talk about phone training all the time at work and just how important it is, and you can almost figure out what that person Googled when they call you and they ask a specific question, and it’s just our time as the professional to take over that conversation. They’re usually calling and just asking a question and then we take over and kind of direct them in the right way and then yeah, convert them.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (13:50):
Can I have a question for you?
Brittany Schindler (13:52):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (13:54):
Did you over the years see a trend that people come from the Google mechanic and you have to reeducate them? In other words,
Brittany Schindler (14:07):
I know what you mean.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (14:09):
Yeah, whatever on the internet and then you spend time and saying, so hold the horses for a second. Oh yeah.
Brittany Schindler (14:17):
Oh yeah. People WebMD their own cars, right? All the time. Yeah. Oh yeah. I’ve had even just recently, there’s a story like, okay, when a batter comes on, what do we know as professionals? Right? It’s what, 90% of the time the alternator probably 90%. And then they Google, oh, my battery light’s on. Oh, what’s the price for an alternator? Well, it could actually be something else. You could have an oil leak dripping onto your alternator. I don’t want to tell you a price for an alternator, and then it have to be something different. Well, this car came in and I never gave him a price over the phone. He came in and was one of his serpentine belt IRS that came apart, that wasn’t an alternator. They were right then and there, and I told him that over the phone. It was my time to be a professional and tell what I know and the history of our shop and things like that. I said, Hey, it could be something else. Why don’t you come in and we’ll figure it out? And sure enough, it was, and I proved my point there, and I mean definitely have a bought in customer right there after that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (15:16):
Would you say that, I don’t know how to phrase this. The initial effort you have to take to reeducate actually turns out to be the best thing what could ever happen because you could prove the whole expertise and guide the motorist in the right direction.
Brittany Schindler (15:40):
Yeah, that’s right. I mean, we know a lot more than them. We know a lot more than just a quick Google search and what exactly are they looking at? What information did they look at from what websites are they looking at forums of people doing work on their own car or what? So yeah, I mean, it’s good to have pretty experienced people answering the phone, but although I wasn’t when I first started, and one of my service advisors, he’s pretty new too, but he just knows to ask questions and just say it. Well, it could be something different. So we just let the customer know and redirect it and say, Hey, let’s just bring it in. Let’s inspect it and get that conversion and then tell them all the good things about us. Tell them amenities, our warranty and our loaner course, things like that, and then make the conversion and then get ’em in.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (16:30):
This is cool. So this initial perception of, oh wow, I have to compete with Google is actually a good thing. It’s not a competition. They just do the lead filtering for you basically.
Brittany Schindler (16:44):
Yeah, or maybe you say exactly what they Googled, they’re like, oh yeah, I just Googled that. That’s what Google said too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (16:51):
Right? Transparency is the new currency of trust. I mean, this is another example for that. Awesome. Thank you.
Brittany Schindler (17:03):
I love taking phone calls. That’s one of my favorite parts is answering the phone in and converting customers. And again, talking about KPIs, I look at how many times the phone rings and the service advisors have to write down every call that comes in, and then we go through every call like, Hey, did this customer come in? This is what they asked for. And they write a note. They were only looking for the cheapest price or they decided not to come in or they’re going to call me back or whatever. We look at the conversion rate and make sure that we’re doing a good job at answering the phone.
Robert Allen (17:43):
Do you find that over time the number of the percentage of people contacting you is tending to skew higher towards email, online appointments versus phone calls?
Brittany Schindler (17:55):
It hasn’t slowed down on the phone calls. We’re still getting online appointments, but we’re still getting a ton of phone calls. Luckily we also have the text us on our website too. We get probably at least five of those a week, which is nice because some people just want to do texting, so that’s cool with us too. We have everything written down. We have random brand new customers, online appointment requests. I want to come in and do all this stuff, but still the phone calls haven’t really led up, which I like. Like the more human interaction with the tones and the talking, getting to know them, getting to know us.
Robert Allen (18:35):
Yeah, I think that the conversation you can have on the phone is invaluable. And there is a lot, aside from the auto repair industry, traffic on the web is tending to go to digital communication versus in person, but it’s great to hear that your phone’s still ringing.
Brittany Schindler (18:52):
Yes. It’s
Bill Connor (18:54):
Found now that Google has got these new algorithms they’re working with and so on that the customers that are actually calling or interacting with the shop, they start out from a more educated point in the first place where it’s not so much about price anymore, it’s that they’re talking to you about value type topics rather than how much is X, Y, and Z.
Brittany Schindler (19:17):
That’s true too. I mean, we live in a world where people do kind of want the best of the best. I mean, look around how many people have an iPhone rather than the cheap Walmart phone. Everybody has iPhones. They all want the best stuff and they do want to know a little bit more about you that they can’t fully read online. And again, get that human interaction and even get a better sense of the feeling they have with a shop that we are in this automotive world that’s so scary to normal people, they know nothing about it. And then when we get to tell them about everything we do, especially AutoVitals, a huge seller point, I feel like on the phone conversion. Oh yeah. I have SOP written up on how to explain the inspection over the phone to a customer and man, that’s one big reason why we convert people into customers.
Bill Connor (20:10):
So Uwe, should we go ahead and get into a little bit about our redesign that we’re doing right now gets more into designing specifically toward Google’s web core vitals, and maybe we talk about the differences between how that affects the shops now and later and that even though a website might look identical, how they may not perform the same because they don’t live up to those new web core vitals that Google’s looking for.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (20:41):
Yeah, I think it’s a good idea. Let’s dissect the voodoo magic a little bit. Robert, do you want to start?
Robert Allen (20:55):
Yeah. So what Google has given us is a tool to really easily look at how a website’s performing within their framework we call the lighthouse test. It’s an open source test or a test that Google created for anyone to use basically. And as long as you just have a web browser or a Chrome browser, you can easily access it or access it breaks it down into four different categories. How is the site performing? And this is where most of the core WebVitals measurements come into play. Is it fast, like I was saying earlier, does the content shift? How quickly is the content interactive? And you can see here on performance we have a hundred, then we go into accessibility, which isn’t necessarily core WebVitals, but it’s still important for your website to be accessible to people who are visually impaired or maybe you have different disabilities that need to be accommodated to.
Is the content, do the colors contrast? Is there white text on white background, black text on black background, those kinds of things. Is the site secure? Does all the small SEO features that need to be in a site, have those been accomplished? So real quickly, we can take a look at a site and see whether it’s built well within Google’s framework, and then we can also dissect whether we’re performing well within the core WebVitals, which is really just those speed attributes. And so you can take a look here and see that this site is performing very well. There’s a lot of sites that look really good that don’t perform quite as well, and a lot of it has to do with speed. A lot of it has to do with they didn’t do every little thing that needs to be done for a site to be built soundly within the SEO fundamentals.
And ultimately these two sites, if they go up against each other, if everything being equal as far as content, this site’s going to show first. It’s just that simple. It is basically telling Google that we’re playing their game. So each site you can really go down and do one of these tests here. And this is one of the main things that we do. Anytime we build a site, anytime we’re looking at making improvements to our platform, we make sure that it is built to score well within Lighthouse, within core WebVitals. And then another algorithm is page experience. So something that we really focus on. One of the things, go ahead.
Bill Connor (23:39):
So this is something a shop owner could go ahead and check for themself on their own website or they could have their provider ahead and actually show them their scores.
Robert Allen (23:48):
You could contact your provider and say, I want a Lighthouse score and they should be able to send it to you within, I mean, it takes two minutes to run,
Bill Connor (23:56):
And if not, they can do it themselves.
Robert Allen (24:00):
You can do it. There’s a Chrome extension, it’s called Chrome Dev Tools. It’s the Lighthouse test. Cool. Yeah, it’s something that’s super easy to run. You can run it on both desktop and mobile and it will give you really a baseline for how your site is built, how it’s performing, and understand whether it’s built to Google’s preferred standards.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (24:27):
So would it be possible to show it live? I don’t know. If it takes too much time and we get too sidetracked, we can also put a link to a website which explains how to do it. So you just called the Lighthouse?
Robert Allen (24:52):
Yeah, so it’s a Chrome extension, looks like a little lighthouse icon, and there’s the results right there.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:00):
Very cool.
Robert Allen (25:01):
And if you have a strong understanding of web technology, you can really get down into the details of what we’re doing well, what needs to be improved, but from its very base level, you don’t have to have a computer science degree to understand that my site is fast, my site is accessible. Most of the best practices regarding security and different features are done correctly and that the SEO fundamentals are met.
Bill Connor (25:34):
We’ve actually built.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:36):
So in other words, anything which is below a 90 is a call to action to my web provider check.
Robert Allen (25:44):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (25:45):
That’s how simple. It’s
Robert Allen (25:47):
One of the things that we really focused on when building our web platform was the ability to pivot. So Google does not stay the same forever. Six months from now, we’ll probably hear of some new requirements that Google is going to implement that we must meet. And so we’ve built this platform in a way that when Google does that, we can accomplish what they’re looking for and make sure that we’re in good graces with them going forward.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (26:14):
How, can you give an example? I mean, so let’s assume, I don’t know, can you you go back to one of the examples you had because I saw one interesting fact that the side with a well right here, this is a third party chat solution built into the side and if I’m not mistaken, this is one of the major reasons for this site to have such a low performance, right?
Robert Allen (26:49):
Absolutely. This site would probably be around 80 for performance if it were not for this third party chat widget.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (26:57):
And so for everybody listening, it’s very easy to embed a third party, anything in this case, chat tire catalogs or typical third party additions, make sure that the easiness of implementation doesn’t her the lighthouse score, right? There’s now a new quality assurance step to be done right after embedding some third party tool, run the lighthouse score for mobile and for desktop just to make sure things like that doesn’t kill all the valuable effort put into the website.
Robert Allen (27:49):
Absolutely. And it’s not just the chat. We’ve seen things like the Facebook pixel, which provides valuable insight for tracking your social activity and how it relates to the website, but it will slow down your website as well. Lots of third party scripts or lots of third party widgets that you can add to your site can have an impact on its performance.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (28:17):
And so let’s assume just for the sake of this, we Google is now adding another strict, let’s say the size of an image or how much time it takes to load an image will become even stricter. How would we combat that in the traditional website development? Typically well established website providers have what, several hundred customers and each website has dozens of images, so somebody has to go in and manually downsize an image one by one, good luck. So how would we address stuff like that?
Robert Allen (29:16):
Yeah, and that’s one of the things that we really looked at when building this platform. We historically, we built websites on a different platform and at the time the websites met every requirement that Google had in place as far as how they performed, what was included in them, how they were built. But Google made this update where page speed and mobile friendliness was a lot more. And so that’s when we realized we had to do something. At this point, the way that our platform is structured, if Google says the way the image loads needs to be done, X, Y, Z, if they say All buttons need to be round, if they say whatever it is that they say is the next step to this, we can go back to our developers, we can have conversations about what this needs, how it needs to be built, we can build it and then we can deploy it to all sites at once. And it’s that simple. It doesn’t take several months at that point to roll it out to each site independently. We have the ability to do that on a large scale, so there’s a lot of speed there.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (30:26):
So instead of waiting months until your website is going to be overhauled by your vendor, in our case, I mean depending on how, whatever the development effort is, but it shouldn’t exceed we and then all websites are updated. That’s pretty powerful.
Robert Allen (30:45):
Bill Connor (30:47):
Building a house on a very strong foundation,
Uwe Kleinschmidt (30:50):
But isn’t it a little worse even it’s not just time, but also ranking because once your ranking drops, it takes a while to get you up again. So you have a very short window. I don’t know what that window is, four weeks, three weeks in which you need to adjust to the new requirements by Google, otherwise your ranking drops and then it takes you another three months or whatever the number is to get up. Again,
Robert Allen (31:23):
It’s kind of an unknown time period. And the reason for that is Google has their bots that basically scour the internet. They go to all websites and essentially read a site and say, this site should be listed this way and it should rank this way. They run every three to six weeks on a site, give or take. And so really what you’re up against is the next time that your site gets crawled, you want to have those items fixed. Now we don’t control the schedule in which they crawl, but the quicker we get those updates done, the more likely you’re not going to lose any ranking positions at that point.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (32:02):
I see. So time is of the essence. Absolutely. Really awesome. Bill, sorry I interrupted you twice.
Bill Connor (32:13):
No, and that’s not the first or last time that’ll happen. So you covered the topics that I wanted to make sure that got in there because basically I wanted to make sure that what I’m hearing is is that we have a foundation that we’re now using to go and build our websites on that is not only goes by Google’s core WebVitals that they’re focusing on, but it’s also made that if there’s a change later on, we can expediently go ahead and bring of our existing websites up into that same new whatever it is that they go ahead and put new voodoo on us. Yep,
Robert Allen (32:49):
Bill Connor (32:54):
And so if we could go ahead, I’d like to hear a little bit from Brittany on her experience because I think that she’s been with AutoVitals a long time and been through a couple different changes as far as web, so maybe hearing some of that would be helpful also.
Brittany Schindler (33:12):
I was just going to chime in on that on the voodoo that it’s 100% working. Yes, we’ve deviated website providers in the past and we’ve been back with AutoVitals again. How long has it been? I think nine months now. And I mean it’s definitely working. I got to say the phone we’re booked out two weeks. I don’t think we’ve ever really been booked out two weeks. We were always able to handle just cars coming in and just stay busy every day or every other day, and it’s definitely working and it’s so nice to have that monthly call with Zach is my guy that I talk to about how the website’s doing and how the key AdWords are going. It’s nice to have professionals just be able to take care of that and especially the Google AdWords, we were having to do some of those too. That’s all taken care of with the AutoVitals team and it is so nice and it is so working and we’re attracting good customers, and I like the way that it tracks a good phone call and a bad phone call. And there’s some recording phone calls too to learn from our website looks beautiful. I get comments on it and yeah, we’re staying super busy with being back with auto idols again.
Robert Allen (34:38):
That’s awesome to hear. That’s exactly what we were going for. Yeah,
Brittany Schindler (34:42):
I know you guys didn’t even have me prepare anything for this talk today, but 100% I am super. It is seriously so nice to be with professionals that know exactly what they’re doing and seeing the results and then hearing this conversation that you guys are having knowing that we’re going to have to change the size of the pictures or we can’t have those third party apps on there. And you guys are constantly looking at this performance and the accessibility of the websites because constantly looking at these things and that’s like a breath of fresh air. That’s what I do at my business too. I’m constantly like, how can we make this better and know you guys are doing, how can we make this better? And then also, what is Google making us do? But it’s so nice to know that you guys are always on top of it and doing what’s best for your clients. It’s amazing. I love hearing it.
Bill Connor (35:30):
It’s a little different, Robert, than just going for it also because we actually have measurements that we’re using to actually identify are we going in the right direction? How fast are we going that direction and so on. So maybe we should go ahead and talk a little bit about what we measure and why we measure it.
Robert Allen (35:49):
Absolutely. When looking at website performance, there’s a lot of, you can really get into the weeds with the amount analytics tools that are available, the different KPIs that are in each analytics tool. You can look in Google Analytics and essentially you could take data and make a case for you’re performing well, you’re performing bad with any business. There’s a lot of noise in some of these analytics tools that you really need to know how to understand to use. But what we’ve done is with the BCP, we’ve taken the important KPIs that really can show how a website is doing from a more base level. And so what we look at is appointments and phone calls and contact us form submissions. Those are the three conversions. Are those going up? Are those going down? That’s really an indicator of everything that happens before. While we do monitor how a site is ranking, how it’s performing on Google, ultimately what’s important is whether the phone’s ringing, whether there’s an appointment that’s being scheduled on the website or whether someone’s contacting you with questions about how having service.
We also look at how many visits the sites get. If somebody doesn’t visit your site, they can’t schedule an appointment. I’m kind of going backwards in the funnel at this point, and then we look at how many times your site’s been seen while you’re on Google. Now, an impression really we call it a vanity metric in a sense that an impression doesn’t equate to a dollar value. An impression means that someone saw your website in Google. Google has historically tried to take more share of the digital business in a sense with Google my business and other tools. And so sometimes impressions do drop a little bit because Google’s now starting to cannibalize a little bit. At the end of the day, what Google’s doing is passing that customer off to you. Same way the site’s passing the customer off to you. And so what I’m getting at here is that impressions, while they’re important because it’s important for people to see your site and an impression is literally just them seeing your site served up in the listings. Really what’s important to look at is how your site’s converting, how much traffic your site is getting, how many people are actually on the site, and how many people are clicking the button to either call, text, schedule an appointment, or send you an email. That was kind of a long-winded explanation of that. Sorry.
Bill Connor (38:32):
So as a shop owner, what excites me is am I getting new customers that I can measure? Am I getting web appointments set that way? And also am I getting phone calls that are coming through the website that my service writers can go ahead and do their voodoo magic on, so to say?
Robert Allen (38:53):
Absolutely. Yeah, an impression. A website visit doesn’t really mean anything if it doesn’t convert into a lead.
Brittany Schindler (39:00):
I like how you guys can have the reports of knowing when someone clicks on a different landing page on our website too, like, oh, they’re going to read about us. That’s important. That’s important to have good stuff in there too. So that’s super cool.
Robert Allen (39:14):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (39:19):
Want to talk about the future or are we still in the presence?
Bill Connor (39:25):
I’m always happy to talk about the future.
Robert Allen (39:30):
I’m happy to talk about it too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (39:32):
What do we have in the pipeline, Robert? Let me start with sharing the trend. I see when websites came about, I don’t know how long ago it seems ages, there were purely a copy of the printed yellow page ad just more polished and you could press a button and get an appointment or actually I don’t think that existed. There was just a phone number to call. And with the trends now that more and more people have a lot of screen time every day and use the Google or other means to educate themselves because it’s so quick, I feel there’s more and more on the engagement side. So we talked about chat a little bit. I would like to go into that a little bit more. What’s important and doesn’t become a time sink for the service advisor because that’s very easily possible, but also in the ideal picture, in my view, I drive a whatever you make model.
I would love to see specifics about my car on the website. That’s what I’m looking for in the future. So I predict that as other websites or as the online experience for us as consumers will more and be more and more specific about the exact problem I’m trying to solve or the product I’m trying to buy or at least educate myself about it will favor solutions. And by the way, Google also favors specialists over generalists. Talking about the landing pages, Brittany mentioned, the more you specialize in your presence, the higher the ranking, which makes total sense, right? Specialists in general are supposed to know more about than a general list about the topic in question that I predict. I don’t know how long, two, three years, maybe we will see websites where I just select my you make model and I see symptoms for this or is that one of yours you’re experiencing? We have a solution for you click. So really specific to the problem, what do you think?
Robert Allen (42:30):
I think that’s,
Bill Connor (42:33):
I say that sounds like a good plan, but I’m just thinking from a shop owner standpoint, what do I have to do to make this happen? Or can I go ahead and do a good job on certain things now so that information gets repurposed later on? What do I have to do as a shop owner to go ahead and position myself and my shop to go ahead and be ready for your vision of the future?
Brittany Schindler (42:56):
I was thinking the same thing and having your guys that are answering the phone have that same knowledge of the stuff that would pop up on that website. Like, Hey, the service advisor knows that this car has this, these top three issues, and the customer calls after they saw it and then the advisor says the same thing that they just read. Yeah, I think it would just be us getting ready of the education of different year makes and models, especially the ones we specialize in, and it would obviously just take time like it does with any advisor or technician. You just learn things and save it in your mind and can relay the information later.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (43:32):
Yeah, that’s awesome, Brittany, I didn’t think about that. So the user experience while on the phone, on the web between the advisor and the motorist should be the same. It’s like going through the inspection results, right?
Brittany Schindler (43:48):
Yeah, I’m huge, huge, huge on consistency. I love consistency and I know customers love that too. Obviously they want to hear the same things and once you hear something two or three times and it’s said the same way or read the same way, they’re going to more believe in it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (44:07):
That is cool.
Bill Connor (44:10):
Yeah, it’s interesting when people hear the same thing over and over again, whether it’s right or wrong, it becomes the truth.
Brittany Schindler (44:16):
So true.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (44:19):
So Bill, you asked what shop owners can do. The simplest way for us tool suppliers would be just come together and standardize every single job. How is that?
Bill Connor (44:32):
Well, that’s something I’ve been working for a very, very long time. Funny to mention that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (44:38):
Yeah, so kidding aside, that’s the biggest hurdle in the way of providing this, and I’m losing hair over how to standardize because that would make it possible. We have made a huge step with standardized can jobs, but we have to go to the next level so the data can be read and interpreted the same way,
Bill Connor (45:17):
But it’s not a far stretch because there’s other fields out here that do similar things as far as they work with insurance companies, they got a standard set of codes they entered in order to get payments, so on. So there’s other models out there we can emulate. And I know a vehicle is complex because it changes every six months as far as what comes out of the factory, but I have no doubt we can do it. It’s just a matter of resources and some solid thought processes put behind it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (45:47):
Brittany Schindler (45:47):
Yeah, I would understand that. It would take a lot of time. When you said what you said, Uwe, about year, make, model, and common complaints, I immediately thought of Identifix and how much information they have on there. And I think part of, and then I was thinking about what I said about advisors answering the phone immediately say, what’s your year, make, and model? And then they could type it in the same thing, same area that customer typed it in, they could look at what the customer was just looking at, would kind of help be on the same page too. It’s hard to know everything about every single car.
Bill Connor (46:21):
So I would go a little bit further. If the customer’s already given their year make and model to your website and then they chat with the service advisor, I’m going to go ahead and provide that service advisor with that information without them having to ask the customer or at least know it. Even if they don’t go ahead and tell the customer, I know everything about what you’re searching for, but they’ve still got the information at their fingertips to understand what the customer’s looking for and what type of vehicle and so on.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (46:51):
Yeah, I mean you gave the keyword chat. I would really like Robert to help us understand what’s in the pipeline. I like our, so not because of the lighthouse score problems, but because of the best possible service advisor engagement, we build a motorist chat which goes to directly on the TVP, so the service advisor doesn’t need to go to a different place and we even allow the sharp to configure. Is there one service advisor or one person in front of the TVP who should get all the chat first and then relay it to the next person if that person hasn’t responded for 15 seconds. So we really try to implement something. This is right now in a pilot phase. I don’t know how many shops are using it right now. Robert might be able to help us, but there’s something exciting also in the future. Robert, would you mind elaborating?
Robert Allen (48:05):
Absolutely. Yeah. So the chat pilot right now, we have it implemented on five shops and it’s really on a couple fronts. It’s really impressive in that it doesn’t have the same downfall that some of these third party scripts do, where it tanks your site performance, it performs as well as the site additionally. Additionally, we have structured it with some canned questions. We went through I think 3,600 contact us form submissions and grouped the different questions together that we saw on a regular basis. Can I get an estimate for work? Do you sell tires? What are you doing for covid precautions? A couple other ones because those are the kinds of things that will take a service advisor’s time that they don’t necessarily need to answer at that point. I mean, there’s answers that can be found without them pulling away from whatever they’re working on in that moment.
And so provide some common questions that motorist can find on their own and answer them for ’em. And then if they still want to chat with a service advisor, they can do so, and that communication is then sent over to the TVPX in the motorist chat channel. So the service advisor gets an alert when you get that notification or right when the motorist sends that chat. What we’re doing now in this pilot is we’re looking at incorporating text rather than just making it a hundred percent browser based. One of the challenges that we have here is that people have a short attention span, and if this conversation only happens in the browser, you’re going to lose ’em most of the time because you sit there and count to 30 and think that’s how long it’s going to take for someone to respond to you. Things have to be immediate, and these are still manned by people who have other tasks to do. And so if we can incorporate text with that, that motors can then leave the browser and go grab a cup of coffee and continue that conversation next in this pilot.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (50:07):
Very cool. I took the liberty and shared one of the pilot shops side while you were explaining, and you can hopefully everybody can see it. This is we really paid attention that not every shop can afford to have a standby person to the chat. So everything which is seen kind of happening often and deserves a canned message without annoying the customer. We put in this list you can see here, and the shop can define that, but then I can actually chat with a service advisor here, which then goes to the TVPX and then the dialogue. Just like if
Bill Connor (51:05):
You mean a service advisor could talk to chat with more than one customer at a time?
Robert Allen (51:10):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (51:11):
Could be, yes. I mean, they’re used to interrupts, right? So multitasking, and so I like that going to text because especially if you have a mobile phone and you do five different things at the same time, it’s really easy once you have switched between different browsers that you lose focus on, where was I? And then the text would kick in and remind them, Hey, would you mind continuing our conversation? Right. That’s really cool. Awesome. Brittany, what do you think?
Brittany Schindler (51:59):
I love it. I was going to say I want that on my website and I always tell my guys, I was like, you have to answer their, because customers text us on the TVP and on our website it does say Texas, just like it does there on Frank’s. And I always say, you guys have got to be really on top of it. I don’t ever want to come walk by your screen and see one incoming. I want it to be responded to immediately. I mean, how long does it really take? I mean, I could set a timer. It takes less than a minute to respond, so there’s no really excuse. And I love that that chat would come to the TVPX because my guys are not allowed to have the TVP down on any screen. They can’t have anything covering it. No vendors, no point of sale, nothing. It’s dedicated to one screen and one screen only, and it always has to be up.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (52:46):
Very cool.
Bill Connor (52:49):
All these things, the future looks really bright for the independent aftermarket, those that actually understand the technology, grasp it and use it for their own benefit rather than just watching what other people are doing and say, I wish I would do that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (53:07):
Do you Ultimate question, Robert, of course is when is that going to be available?
Robert Allen (53:13):
That is still TBD. Okay. But there will be more communication as we draw near.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (53:23):
Okay. We’re going to have you back on, I’m sure.
Robert Allen (53:27):
Uwe Kleinschmidt (53:31):
Bill Connor (53:33):
My big takeaway here is that the way that funnel is inverted, if you go ahead and show that again, if you could, where it all starts by going ahead and making sure that Google actually ranks us well in the foundation that you’ve built, that we can go ahead and modify. That’s where it all starts. If you don’t go ahead and have that done, them other three items that are on the list there. And matter of fact, we’ve never even give the service advisor a opportunity to shine when it comes to their advisor engagement.
Brittany Schindler (54:07):
So true. So true. I really appreciate all the hard work you guys do put in for all of us AutoVitals clients. It’s awesome and amazing.
Robert Allen (54:18):
You could even go as far to say as there’s an arrow that goes from this here, right? Back to website content too. There’s a cycle that those customers go through, and at any point that cycle can be broken.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (54:33):
Right. Awesome. Okay. We have three minutes left, Bill.
Bill Connor (54:42):
Well, that’s what I was going to say is I give my big takeaway. So Brittany, you have a takeaway that you’ve learned maybe something different that you’ve learned today.
Brittany Schindler (54:53):
I just learned how much Google changes and then how much you guys really, really, really have to stay on top of your game. I mean, not only are you guys at the forefront of the DVI, but the website too and making sure that we’re getting these calls and getting these customers. I guess I didn’t realize how much complete effort has to go into it. And again, being on top of your game and knowing exactly what’s going on with Google, it’s awesome.
Bill Connor (55:21):
Yeah. And that’s what digital shop’s all about. Can we go ahead and get a good ARO, first of all? Can we use that to drive weekly revenue? Can we go ahead and measure technician efficiency and productivity so everybody’s busy? Now we can calculate how many new cars we need and we can say, Robert, this is what I need to go ahead and fill in my pipeline. When can we have it done by
Brittany Schindler (55:42):
100%. Yeah, you got to track everything and I love the scale that this gets to.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (55:51):
Bill Connor (55:53):
So we’re at the end here. I’d really like to thank both Robert and Brittany for joining us here today. Uwe, as usual, you’ve asked some pretty penetrating questions and giving us a glimpse of what the future might look like, and hopefully your crystal ball has been tuned up properly. I’d like to encourage people to go ahead and go to and join us live. And if not, we’re available on all your favorite podcasts platforms. Just search for the digital shop, talk radio, and go ahead and listen live. And more importantly, find another shop owner in your area that may have some opportunities for improvement, is the way I like to say that. And ask them to go ahead and join in and take a listen and see if you can help out one of your fellow shop owners. So that’s all I have today, Uwe, unless you have something else that you’d like to add.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (56:45):
I just want to thank Robert and Brittany. I really enjoyed you guys being on. We have to do that more often. So thank you
Brittany Schindler (56:54):
Anytime. Thanks for having me. Appreciate
Uwe Kleinschmidt (56:56):
It. Thank you. Thank you, Brittany.
Brittany Schindler (56:57):
Yeah, thank you.
Bill Connor (56:59):
Awesome. So that’s a wrap. What I’d like to do is tell everybody thank you for joining us today. Go out and make some money and while your customers, and we’ll talk to you next week.

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