Research shows that 99.6% of automotive repair technicians own a cell phone, with nearly half (46.4%) also owning a tablet or iPad, IMR said. Of these devices, 57% will end up in the technician’s working bay as a part of their daily toolkit.
The data shows 87.4% of technicians actively use their cell phones for work in the bay to access technical information, technician manual sites, catalog information, parts manufacturer websites for technical or product information, ordering parts, and watching training or instructional videos and content.
Overall, more cell phones are used in repair shops with one to three bays across all categories, while technicians in shops with eight or more bays use their cell phones less overall, but approximately 20% more for ordering parts.
“Smartphones and tablets play such an important role in how so many industries are doing business,” said Bill Thompson, president of IMR. “The automotive aftermarket is by no means immune to this trend. Technicians have more access than ever to the important information they need to provide excellent service, and it’s critical for parts manufacturers, distributors and shop owners to understand how reaching technicians is changing in this digital age.”
With parts ordering a critical function of cell phone use in the bay, technicians ranked the overall visual quality of parts manufacturer’s websites as follows: 83.5% answered “good,” 13.7% answered “excellent,” 2.8% answered “fair,” and none ranked quality as “poor,” to show that technicians are satisfied with the way that parts manufacturer’s websites are rendering on mobile or handheld devices.
When using social media platforms, technicians are most active on Facebook and YouTube, followed by Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, according to IMR. Snapchat and Pinterest are not popular amongst technicians, with 4% stating that they are not active on any social media platforms.
IMR conducts the monthly Repair Shop Tracking Study, which provides insights into various trends such as shop demographics, parts and brand purchasing, supplier usage and preferences, as well as attitudes on current industry topics.