You can use Gmail as a form of company intranet, no really… it’s that easy to do and its simplicity is what should drive you to implement it. Oh and did we mention that it’s free and mobile?
Running an auto repair facility is a daunting task. Like any other activity on earth, its success is dependent on the communication of the team making it happen. Communication is second only to centralization of business information. To keep this simple, we’re going to cover the ways that ONE Gmail address can make a huge impact on business flow. We’re going to cover it by talking about an extended feature of Gmail and how you can apply it in your auto repair business today.
Gmail's Basic Offerings & How They Benefit You:
- Email - This one is obvious, you can all communicate! But, this is team communication. You can also use it to create logins that everyone can have access to. At CAR’s test facility, everyone has an iPad with the internal email loaded onto it.
So when we have to request a e-fax, email, or any digital communication from the dealer, vendor, or outside source (like Identifix)… you have a central location for everyone to access it immediately.
- Tasks - Create a list of tasks that each employee is to perform to hold up their end of the bargain. This way, everyone knows what's expected of them each and every day. For larger shops, technicians might not have many responsibilities, but for smaller businesses, the owner often relies on his employees to help him accomplish a few housekeeping tasks.
- Calendar - This is an easy one. One team shares the calendar. Mark days off, customer appointments, continuing education classes, lunch and learns… you name it. If you can use a calendar for it, your team can share it here.
- Contacts - This is where you can put all contacts you want employees to share.
- Drive - This is perhaps the most underrated asset, because everyone forgets how important it is. Every piece of literature you get, can be scanned. Once it is scanned, it can serve as a part of your library. Where all employees can access them as needed. You can also buy educational books and scan then into your library. So say you work on classics Porsche’s (pronounced poorshhas), you can get reference books and upload them to your team Drive folder.
- Photos - Every photo or video taken from all logged in devices or apps, can be saved here. Creating a medium where data transfer is immediate.
- YouTube - We’re all guilty of YouTube use… whether it’s to learn about CAR’s awesome shop management software instructional videos OR learn about a car you might be working on. Build a reference profile so that you can build reminders to infrequently performed services. Maybe follow your favorite YouTube instructor. Here’s looking at you Scanner Danner, who’s really not Dan! 😉.
- Docs - So you can do a lot here. You can make “Word” Documents that everyone can access. You can also make simple, yet powerful spreadsheets to help you manage the business. For example, you can rude a crude “inventory” model from a spreadsheet. Is it pretty? Nope. Is it functional, 1000%
- News - Structure industry news to be delivered to you and your team daily with the “For you” section. Maybe your team wants to get your fill on celebrity gossip, who are we to judge?
- Maps - Research your competition as a team with a few keystrokes. Oh wait, did we say that out loud? Maybe no one is reading.
Photos of what it's like to access some of the items noted above, from a tablet.
Follow through with this article by reading about our other experiences in the auto industry, where we pass on lessons about running a business in 2018. This is focused on the auto repair industry, but there is plenty here that can be applied forward to help other businesses get off the ground and noticed locally. Even though the businesses may differ significantly, the challenges of getting noticed and operating efficiently are similar.