Tech Talk: How to Add a Booking System to Your Auto Repair Website

What’s the key to conversions in today’s competitive digital landscape? Online appointment scheduling. It’s what your customers want—and expect—from your auto repair shop. And the numbers back this up: Research shows that 67 percent of customers prefer self-service instead of talking to a salesperson.

Why should you make self-service your #1 priority? It’s simple: Your prospects want their questions answered and problems solved quickly. They don’t want to wait around with flat tires, a broken A/C system, leaking fluid…you name it. Put yourself in their shoes: Why would you play phone tag when you could instantly schedule an appointment?

Self-service isn’t just a “nice to have” anymore. It’s necessary to give your customers a five-star experience. Not only do customers prefer self-service applications like online booking systems, but the vast majority of customers—a jaw-dropping 86 percent—now expect company websites to include self-service options.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to give your customers the control they’re craving with a full-service online booking system. Here’s how to add a booking system to your auto repair website without starting from scratch.

1. Direct Visitors to an External Booking Website

Our clients are busy running their shops, answering the phone, and keeping their mechanics busy. They don’t have the time to experiment with HTML, spend hours behind a desk, or embed booking applications on their website. Sounds familiar, right? 

If you’re short on time, an external booking site is the easiest option for online scheduling. All you need to do is choose an online booking system (see: Calendy, SimplyBook, or Square) and add an easy-to-find link on your website. You’ll probably need to pay for an account with an external booking service provider, but you’ll save time with easy installation.

The main drawback to external booking systems? You’ll send visitors to an external location, away from your website. The external link will most likely come with external branding (so it won’t be aligned with your auto shop), and your company image will be tied to the booking website (so if something goes wrong, it’s on you).

2. Embed a Booking iFrame Into Your Website

This option might sound complicated, but it’s easier than you think. It involves embedding a booking system into your website, along with an actual calendar, so your leads can easily schedule appointments. Basically, you embed code just like you would for an embedded video.

Even if you’re not a tech whiz, embedding a booking system into your website can help you save time and money so you can focus on running your auto shop. And unlike external booking systems, it’ll keep visitors on your website while they’re scheduling appointments, eliminating any risk of them losing interest on another website.

The downside is that, like external systems, you still rely on a third-party online booking system provider. In some cases, search engines find it harder to index embedded code, so this option can take a toll on your auto repair website’s SEO performance.

3. Install a Booking System Plugin

Website plugins are an efficient way to add online scheduling to your website. If you’re using WordPress, plugins like Bookly can help you create a five-star experience—even if coding seems like a foreign language.

All you need to do is install the plugin, add it to your sidebar, and enter any relevant booking information. When a customer books an appointment, Bookly sends confirmation notifications, and the appointment will be automatically added to your calendar. The best part? It’s fully customizable, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile devices.

Even if you’re not using WordPress, most CMS platforms have booking plugins. It’s worth taking some time to investigate which plugins would work best for your website. Some plugins even come with built-in analytics features, giving you valuable insights that you can use to improve your customer experience.

4. Use an Application Program Interface

What’s the best way to offer self-service booking? Use an application program interface (API). Most CMS platforms already come with a booking system API. That means search engines can easily index them, making them SEO-friendly. 

At the same time, API-enabled systems integrate both external data (collected by your website) and internal data (collected from previous bookings) so you can refine your process with comprehensive insights.

So, what’s the catch? First, APIs require moderate technical expertise, so if you’re a stranger to web development, it’s best to hire an expert. Second, most APIs require regular updates to avoid potential system crashes. If you don’t have the time to regularly update your website and check on your booking system, we recommend choosing another option.

5. Hire a Professional Web Development Team

If you’re relying on an online booking system to keep your appointment book full, a professional web development team can help you choose the best option for your website. After all, your website is the backbone of your marketing efforts. If it’s going to serve your needs, you need a pro-grade strategy to guide prospects down the sales funnel and amplify your conversions.

Sure, hiring experts comes with an initial investment, but it’s the best long-term solution for auto repair businesses. Why? A professional, user-friendly online booking system leaves a lasting impression on your prospects, even if they’re not ready to schedule an appointment right off the bat. It adds credibility to your services, showing them that you take their needs seriously. 

This was the choice that Rad Air Complete Car Care and Tire Centers made: They trusted Company 119’s web development team to custom build their booking system. With ten locations across Northeast Ohio, Rad Air needed a streamlined, easy-to-use online scheduling tool for their clients. All of their digital marketing efforts are designed to generate leads and direct them to the scheduler to make their appointment online.

At the end of the day, your website needs to quickly answer your clients’ questions, showcase your auto repair services, and highlight your professionalism. Think of your website as a firm handshake that welcomes potential customers to your brand.

Ignite Your Conversion Rate With Self-Service Tools

Your customers want to be in control—and that starts with online appointment scheduling. Instead of playing phone tag with your sales team while dealing with faulty brakes, your customers want to schedule an appointment ASAP. Chances are, if you’re not making their lives easier with self-service applications, your competitors are.

When you’re ready to watch your conversion rate soar, reach out to our team. Our award-winning web development experts will help you grow your auto repair business with customized scheduling solutions to build trust and wow your customers.

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