When it comes to vehicle service, what are customers’ biggest complaints? Long repair times, and bills that unexpectedly come in higher than estimates are usually the top gripes. Most auto service centers don’t delay and add extra costs just to anger customers, however. It’s not easy to provide an accurate estimate (in both time and cost) since there are so many unknown factors, and no one can predict the future.

Today, software exists that can do more than superficially manage the auto service process. It’s based on the type of workflow processes that are used in the largest companies to manage every aspect of a project. The software identifies the biggest trouble areas for delays and extra costs, allowing service businesses to address them and eliminate them (or at least manage them better). By precisely outlining and defining the steps of the most complex processes, workflow management software can eliminate or reduce SNAFUs.

Austin-based Epicor Software recently sent to market Epicor Smart Inspection 2.0, a cloud-based solution designed to help auto repair shops diagnose, document and estimate repairs faster. The solution also helps improve communication with vehicle owners through comprehensive estimates that feature detailed photos and other important information, the company said. Because it’s cloud-based, all auto service businesses require to use it is a high-speed Internet connection.

“All service businesses, regardless of category, are looking for ways to provide a faster, more convenient customer experience,” said Stephen Gannon, senior director, automotive, product management and product development, Epicor Software. “The Smart Inspection 2.0 solution helps service businesses grow by streamlining and digitizing several of the most time-intensive steps in an automotive service transaction. It also helps users, both in the repair bay and at the service desk, avoid mistakes and more quickly and accurately identify needed repairs.”

The auto service solution can be used on both desktop computers and mobile devices as well, so it can aid tasks for everyone involved in the service process, from the business owners to the service writers to the technicians. It automates the inspection process and captures data and images that can be used in creating a more accurate estimate, and for ordering parts. It can also allow shops to document damage unrelated to the repair, so they can avoid the headaches of unwarranted damage claims in the future.