How Hollenshade’s Auto Service Stays on the Cutting Edge Since 1939
Hollenshade’s Auto Service Quick Facts:
- One location in Towson, Maryland
- Established in 1939
- Family-Owned and Operated (4 Generations)
- 11 Bays
- 10 Full-Time Employees
- 2 Part-Time Employees
- Over 14,000 ROs completed in FY2018
- Average monthly website traffic: 1,200 sessions
Think about how much has happened in the past 80 years. Apollo 11 landed on the moon, World War II changed the course of history and life was shaped by transformative inventions such as the computer and world wide web, smartphones, hybrid + electric cars, anti-lock brakes and fuel injection systems, autonomous vehicles and connected cars, to name a few.
Yet, Hollenshade’s Auto Service, has managed to stay on the cutting edge of every technological change since its humble beginnings as a Texaco gas station in 1939. Now, the third-generation owners, Tom and Tim Hollenshade Sr., are proud to carry on the legacy of their late father and grandfather and eventually pass the torch to the fourth generation, Tim Jr.
Tech-savvy Tim Jr. has quite the impressive background. He holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. It’s no surprise that he knows a thing or two about how to evolve in tandem with technological trends.
Stay Current, or Fall Behind
Tim Jr. explains that “we do everything we can to stay relevant and stay on top of our service offerings as technologies become more significant.” That’s why he was eager to give Openbay Otis a try to see if artificial intelligence had a place in their business strategy.
Ten years ago, Hollenshade’s launched their company website. This was just the beginning of their digital strategy. In 2018, they noticed a problem and quickly found the right digital solution:
The problem: “We realized our office staff was spending a significant amount of time replying and conversing with internet leads that were either in need of a service we didn’t offer or seeking honest information from a trustworthy professional with no intention of selecting our facility to do the work.”
The solution: Tim Jr. explained that “we aren’t marketing or computer experts. Fixing cars is what we do.” He wanted an automated tool that would bring in high intent, high quality leads without spending thousands of dollars on marketing. So in February 2019, Hollenshade’s became one of the first beta users of the industry’s first AI-powered virtual service advisor, Openbay Otis.
Through conversational artificial intelligence, Otis delivers real-time information to Hollenshade’s online visitors. Whether it’s delivering personalized service quotes, booking appointments or answering basic questions about the business, Otis handles it all for them.
Within a few months, Hollenshade’s was seeing a 2x increase in closure rate. Otis was bringing in better leads that were converting into paying customers. Here’s the breakdown:
From February to June 2019, Otis:
- Participated in 147 conversations with online visitors
- Scheduled 33 appointments for new customers
- Delivered 23 service estimates to potential customers
- Engaged with 43 new contacts
- Average Otis conversation duration is 6 minutes 54 seconds
- Time saved = 16 hours, 54 minutes and 18 seconds (based on # conversations x average duration)
Before Otis, the team was burning half of their time simply seeking the additional information they needed to fulfill a customer’s request. Now, “one of the greatest efficiency gains Otis provides is reducing the amount of back-and-forth conversation with customers. Phone calls result in a quality engagement with the customer but are very time consuming. Otis provides a similarly high-quality interaction DIGITALLY between consumers and the auto shop’s brand.”
What does this mean for Hollenshade’s? “It frees up time for our team to do what they do best: service cars and customers.”
How does Otis fit into the day-to-day operations? “The real power of Otis is the ability to take in appointments. Now when Otis passes along a lead to one of our office staff, they already have all the pertinent information they need to take action on the request. With this additional information we can generate a personalized reply, a more accurate estimate or follow up with the customer to confirm their selected appointment date and time.”
What words of wisdom does Tim Jr. have for other shops considering Otis?
“Not all tools are created equally. Other tools aren’t tailored for automotive aftermarket applications. Otis not only tailors to our industry, but also to our business. It offers scalability and flexibility to serve our market best.”
The “old-fashioned” concept of customer satisfaction will never go out of style. Otis frees up the time for Team Hollenshade’s to focus on what really matters: turning new customers into repeat customers.