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Top 10 Automotive Repair Web Sites

Posted 1/16/2001
By Colby Horton

Top 10 For the fourth year in a row, AutoInc. is proud to present its selection of the Top 10 Automotive Repair Web Sites. After viewing hundreds of Web sites found in search engines, links from other sites and shop sites in the “Find Nearest ASA Shop” section of the ASA Web site, 19 nominees were chosen and submitted to the AutoInc. staff for review.

The sites needed to have a pleasing appearance with interesting graphics, easy navigation and good color contrast and balance. We looked for basic information like services and business philosophy, but innovative trends such as online appointment schedulers, service updates and employment sections made certain sites stand apart from others.

Each site was rated in four categories: design and graphics, content, speed and navigation. It was a very hard task to narrow the field down to just a few nominees because there are so many great sites available. The AutoInc. staff rated each of the four categories on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest rating. Scores were then calculated and an average score was obtained. With this method, two of the nominees received the same average score, causing this year's “Top 10” list to include 11 different sites.

We are including a screen capture of the winners' home pages, along with a site review and comments from the owner. Be sure to visit each Web site so you can experience the animation, graphics and read the comprehensive information they have provided.

Anchor Auto Body & Frame - Sunnyvale, Calif.
www.anchorauto.com
Anchor Automotive

This site provides user-friendly navigation and thorough content including customer testimonials, business philosophy and shop capabilities. An employment section allows potential employees to print an application and submit it via fax or mail. The “Carcheck” section allows customers to view their repair status, estimated completion date and pictures of repair progress. A customer feedback form is also offered for electronic evaluation of the shop's services and workmanship.

Anthony TyrosVoutis, proprietor and CCRM: “Recognizing the importance of a good interactive Web site as means of servicing our customers better was the primary reason for creating our shop's Web site. Our Web site became successful early primarily due to our location. We are located in Silicon Valley where everyone uses computers to communicate. Computer communications are much less disruptive than the telephone.”


Auto Service of Roseville - Roseville, Calif.
www.wefixitright.com Auto Service of Roseville

Professional graphics, color scheme and easy navigation make this site appealing to visitors. Comprehensive staff profiles and Web coupons also add to the site's personal flare. An online appointment scheduler and employment application helps create an innovative Web site.

George Yandolino, owner: “The Internet is the way of the future. I highly recommend that shops use it. Creating the site was rough in the beginning, but we like it and really enjoy it now. Within the next six months, we hope to allow our service writers to send quotes and communicate with customers through the Internet.”


Butchel Motors Automotive Service - Denver, Colo.
www.buchtel.com Buchtel Motors Automotive Service

This site encompasses a classic scheme, complete with fun and innovative graphics that blends new technology with an atmosphere of yesterday. The history, staff profiles, tips and service menu add a personal touch to the Web site. The employment section goes beyond other sites by publishing exactly what positions are available in the shop. In addition to online appointments capability, the printable coupons and specials produce an excellent customer retention program.

John D. Everest, AAM, president: “Our shop has had a Web site for the last five years and it has been an outstanding tool to help us promote our business and provide our customer with up-to-date information about our shop. I believe our site is so successful because it is so simple and fun to visit. I especially like the home page with the gentleman who 'winks' at you when you select a topic to view!”


Glen Merritt Collision, Ltd. - St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
www.glenmerritt.com

This site offers framed navigation, making it very easy to surf through the site. The site provides complete content, including news and information about the shop, contact information and location map. The site also includes repair status information. Customers simply type in their license number and the shop sends them an e-mail update about the status of the vehicle.

Julio Bruno, president: “Our involvement in ASA and AMI has drawn our focus to the constant changes within our industry, and the importance of exceeding customer's expectations. Our main reason for creating the Web site was to give our customers the option to contact us at a time more convenient to them, while at the same time reducing incoming calls during regular business hours. We also recognized the importance of maintaining our position on the leading edge of technology.”


Joe Auto - The Woodlands, Texas
www.joeauto.com JoeAuto

JoeAuto uses new and innovative trends throughout its Web site. The site allows a visitor to diagnose his or her vehicle's problem and manage their customer profile online. Because there are Web cameras in the service bays, a customer can also watch the repair status of his or her vehicle in real-time. Customers can also arrange an appointment online. The professional graphics and easy navigation make this site easy to use.

Randy Vanstory, co-founder and vice president of business development: “The JoeAuto.com Web site was created to serve as a tool to live up to our promise of 'invented to not waste your time.' With our Web site, you can schedule service, have us pick up your vehicle, bring it to our service center for service, allow you to watch service via our Web cams, and then return your vehicle to you, all without you having to leave your home or office. This option has proven to be very popular with customers because it truly does keep from wasting their time.”


John's 4x$ Center, Inc. - Boulder, Colo.
www.johns4x4.com John's 4x4 Center

Visitors to this site can surf through four different sections full of information. A “Virtual Service Advisor” allows a customer to make an appointment, pay for repairs and ask for advice online. The site also offers a tips and maintenance guide as well as staff profiles and a shop tour. Prospective employees may also fill out an online employment application and shoppers can purchase accessories through the site's secure, online store. The graphics are professional and the site loads quickly.

John Rush, owner: “We put a lot of thought into the entire site, but spent even more on the 'Virtual Service Advisor' section. We wanted to be 'state of the art' for the auto aftermarket. Customer response has been great. The way our site is designed, the maintenance is very low. It is form/template driven and can be updated easily. We invested numerous hours with the developer in order to construct it that way.”


Kev's Kars - Kenner, La.
www.kevskars.com Kev's Kars

This site furnishes visitors with a flashy and colorful design. The framed navigation makes it easy to navigate through the site. The site provides music as the visitor goes through the site, which includes the company's business philosophy, coupon specials and customer testimonials. The site also provides a printable accident report that can be kept in customers' cars. Pictures of restored classic cars and other clients' cars help illustrate the company's vast capabilities and accomplishments.

Kevin Goitia, owner: “I decided to develop the site because I felt strongly that our shop was a progressive, high-tech, reputable shop that stood among the best shops in the Greater New Orleans area, and I wanted to convey that to our customers and potential customers. This was just another medium to get our message across. There is still so much I want to do with the site. The ideas are there, we just haven't made the time to follow through with them yet. That is No. 1 on our list in 2001!”


Lopack Auto Body, Inc. - Cleveland, Ohio
www.lopack.com Lopack Auto Body, Inc.

This site offers professional, quick-loading graphics as well as user-friendly navigation. Lopack Auto Body offers online estimates and an employment application. A searchable database of news helps educate customers on different issues within the industry. Location maps, customer testimonials and service and warranty descriptions make this site informative for visitors.

Lee Bokar, owner: “Our Web site was designed to provide benefits to my customers. It allows my customers, or potential customers, to make a better decision, to see the shop, to see policies and to get to know my company a little better regarding who's going to fix their car and if this might be the shop they want to go to. It certainly allows customers to get familiar with us. We can display all types of information there.”


Mecklenburg Fleet & Automotive - Charlotte, N.C.
www.mecklenburgfleet.com Mecklenburg Fleet & Automotive, Inc.

An animated banner greets visitors to this site, offering a brief list of services that are available. An online satisfaction survey is provided for customers to rate their experience. A thorough service menu, suppliers list, history and online coupons make this site's content very informative. The site also uses professional graphics and easy navigation.

Gene Reed, co-owner: “We created our Web site to generate interest in the fleet repair business. In the past year, we have seen an increase in our fleet repair business due to the Web site.”

Papo's Auto Clinic - Queens Village, N.Y.
www.paposautoclinic.com Papo's Auto Clinic

As a visitor enters this site, an audio welcome plays, telling of the shop's location and an invitation to visit the shop. A very descriptive service menu not only tells of the shop's capabilities, but also educates the customer on their vehicle. Translation capabilities allow the site to be displayed in Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. A downloadable customer service checklist ensures fast and efficient service once the customer brings the car to the shop.

Papo Chinea, president: “We decided to create a Web site to give us a competitive advantage over other repair shops in the New York tri-state area as well as to broaden our advertising reach at an economical price. One of the neatest features that our site offers is the ability to translate. In a diverse city like New York, our customers can appreciate this feature.”

Thunderbird Automotive - Peoria, Ariz.
www.thunderbirdautomotive.com Thunderbird Automotive

The navigation system on this site sets it apart from many. A brief description of each section appears as visitors drag their mouse over the name of the section. The site uses customer testimonials on each page, creating an overall appearance of connectivity throughout the site. A section devoted to things to do while you wait, online appointments, automotive frequently asked questions and specials make this site user- and customer-friendly.

Tom Fletcher, owner: “Since computers are being used more and more today, we developed our Web page to give customers a total look at our company, seek information, get answers to problems, find us and set up service appointments. The response has been great.”


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