We are happy to be expanding our Customer Experience team with new hires, and this has allowed us to finally launch our long promised live chat support service for our auto repair software.
Initially we will be rolling this out to our unlimited plan customers, monthly and annual, at no extra charge! Naturally we cannot man the lines and be available 24/7, but not to worry we will receive an email with your inquiry and get back to you as soon as possible.
This is part of our commitment to excellence in both service and support, and hope that this will make it easier for our customers to get in touch with us in times of need. We are listening!
For our customers on other price plans, we will have more news on options available in the coming weeks for live chat on your account, remember you can always reach us from the contact form and support links on our website and we will get back to you asap as usual!
Another new year, another development roadmap for the year ahead. Most of our planned 2017 upgrades were successfully carried out and implemented, with a few hiccups along the way as our more regular users were great in highlighting and reporting to us. We hope you all have reaped the benefits of the new features.
So, what to expect in 2018? More third party integrations are at the top of the list, particularly with parts suppliers, but also with other online services that may be relevant. We hope to move on this soon, within the next few weeks to get the ball rolling. This will be part of a larger upgrade to our inventory system and tracking, which will bring many new features such as invoice-level profit reporting and many other exciting new developments.
In the near future we will be offering live chat customer support, and customers on our unlimited plans will be able to message our support team directly. We will roll out live chat support to other customers for an additional monthly fee later in the year.
Online payments are another area we are looking at in a big way, and the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a payment method both for our software and for you to get paid from your customers. We anticipate this generating much interest, and we are waiting a little while for the markets to settle, we will be option for a high-speed transaction currency, at the moment Ripple is most suited to this, but the tech changes fast.
Other plans for this year include revising the VIN decoder and providing better data sources for this information. More reporting and cost analysis is on the way too along with useful information on shop performance and profitability, these new features will make your auto repair shop more efficient, part of these upgrades will involve a smoother flow through the system as work is being carried out.
Many of you will be happy to hear that a full upgrade is planned for our Android app, to iron out the bugs and bring it up to date with latest version of our web app. We still currently hold no plans for iOS development as of yet.
As always, stay tuned for updates here on our blog, facebook and twitter.
We were delighted to exhibit at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Aside from being an excuse to visit a fabulous sun drenched country, it was a most enlightening event with a whole new world of technology emerging all around us, including some interesting movements in auto tech. The event attracted a lot of high profile public figures and celebrities, including Al Gore, President and PM of Portugal, Stephen Hawking, Wycleff Jean and high profile government and financial types, hence the maddening airport like security entering the event every morning.
Self driving cars and ‘smart cities’ were discussed heavily, and many significant advances in commercial transport and fleet logistics, the first areas we are beginning to see driverless vehicles. Public transport in some cities around the world are also piloting driverless trains/buses or aiming to do so soon. Autonomous driving still has a lot of speculation and doubters, and sure the technology is far from perfect, it is getting damn close. I was extended a personal invite to check out an actual self driving car, I could not go far in the confines of the conference grounds but it was interesting to see how well the car reacted on its own to the environment around it.
We took the opportunity to figure out how best to scale our operations from industry leaders, as well as seeing what else is happening in the software eco-system for auto repair. Some of the most interesting avenues are of course further integration with 3rd party data services and parts services, we were hoping some of these may have been at the Web Summit but unfortunately not.
Interaction between shop and customer is something we will explore more as well as updating our mobile experience, we are in talks with several agencies that may be able to help in speeding up delivery on this. Further expansion in the mobile space can allow a better shop-customer experience and this is high on our agenda now, but more on these developments at a later time.
The conference was more focused on AI and FinTech, these topics were hotly debated not just technologically but also philosophically and in terms of the impact AI and robotics are and will have in our future, exciting times would be an understatement on what is on the way. One of the most interesting was a talking robot that was somewhat self aware, proclaiming that it fears itself, therefore so should humans also, for me, this is a little too close to Terminator and Skynet already and we are only dipping our toes! The rise of the machines is very real and humanity does need to exercise caution and responsibility with new technologies, the military often tend to ignore such warnings as history tells.
Most casual conversations with other attendees tending to wind up on the subject of blockchain and Bitcoin, so much to the extent that during the three days of the event there was a significant dip and immediate recovery in bitcoin valuation, and blockchain startups were well represented and some with very novel and charitable concepts, one notable one was for helping fund education in Africa.
Below are some of the better automotive related shots we got at the event, unfortunately no footage of testing the self driving car.
Formula 1 Racing Car
Remote controlled cars, drawing on a canvas, it was fairly nuts at the end of the day!
We are busy with preparations underway for our exhibit at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, and have now been assigned our day and booth location. Auto Repair Bill will be exhibiting at Booth A347 of the Software Conference on Day 2, Wednesday 8th November, at the MEO Arena in Lisbon.
Be sure to stop by and visit us! We will be in Lisbon from 3rd Nov – 11 Nov, please feel free to drop an email or tweet if you wish to arrange a meetup. Look forward to seeing everyone there!
As we get excited for our trip to exhibit as an Alpha Startup in Lisbon for this years Web Summit, we got a glimpse of what to expect and what to do at the Runway to Web Summit event in Dublin on thursday night at Dogpatch Labs, with both interesting and very funny talks. There was a good representation of startups here as to be expected. Although judging by a show of hands not many appeared, or admitted to having the runway to get to Lisbon, so it is hard to know who we may see again when we arrive in Lisbon! The talks were very casual and Irish, with crazy anecdotes about bathrooms and buying used underwear, with a good deal of swearing thrown just for good measure and added liveliness to the room certainly!
Spark of Genius Panel
On a more serious note the panels were interesting and insightful with the benefit of both hindsight and foresight from those who had been through the mill, and survived. Sponsored by ESB Spark of Genius, a panel of three recent finalists and winners from Spark of Genius gave their insights to approaching the scale of an event like the Web Summit and how they made it work for them. It seems the most important take away here was to not make an appointment with an investor before 2pm due to the Night Summit after parties which are both legendary and brutal for an early morning.
Paddy Cosgrave & Eamon Leonard debating a wide range of issues form tech to toilets
Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit) and Eamon Leonard (Cohort) had an entertaining mix of story telling, advice for the summit, anecdotes about the Web Summit first office and having to use the toilet in the Italian restaurant up the road, from little things, big things grow. Of course they poked fun at the infamous wifi incident in Dublin a few years ago, but I’m sure everything will run smoothly in Lisbon!
Auto Repair Bill will be exhibited at this years Web Summit in Lisbon, November 6-9, 2017.
We are excited to meet others in the AutoTech and SaaS business, it promises to be an interested event in a beautiful city. Anyone who would like to book a time to speak with our team our CEO is welcome to do so by contacting us through our website and we will see you there!
We will post more details such as our booth location once it has been assigned to us. Updates will be posted here and on our social media channels.
As you were likely aware we have been working on a new release for some time now, delivering a raft of new features, product improvements and important bug fixes.
The most anticipated new feature will of course be our new itemized labor entry for invoices and estimates. With this will also come much better document handling and conversion between documents, it is now much easier to convert a repair order to invoice, or an estimate to an invoice.
The overall responsiveness and reliability of the editor has been improved too, fixing many long standing issues such as losing filled in data when changing client or navigating away from the page accidentally.
Existing features to save time such as the QUIK Service and Preset templates have been seamlessy integrated to the new invoice system, you can still use your old presets that you have saved, it will automagically take you back to the classic editor, and you can of course you start creating Presets to use with the new editor too.
The QUIK Service feature is now a lot more useful and powerful when using the new invoice editor, giving proper detailed job breakdown on both time, labor cost and parts.
There is now also support for multiple labor rates on invoices, repair orders and estimates, you can set up to three rates in settings, but can override when required too.
There are now also a list of online parts ordering services, which will easily bring you conveniently to the ordering service from within the app.
There are now many more settings available to customize the software and invoices to your needs, most notable is the support for multiple labor rates.
Please take a moment to visit Settings and adjust the new system to make it function in the way most comfortable for you and your business.
A small number of our users have had some quirky experiences with our PayPal subscription system over the past few months, this was partly a fault on PayPal’s end, and partly a fault on our backend systems communicating with PayPal. It had been a thorny prickle in our back end for some time, dealing with PayPal limitations and adjusting our own backend.
The problem stemmed from customers missing a payment on their renewal date; PayPal would attempt a re-charge 5 days later, however the failed payment triggered our systems to deactivate account upon failed payment, this led to some users unwittingly and quite understandably selecting a new plan by accident to reactivate, as you can imagine this setup caused a lot of confusion and we issued refunds or special deals to all affected customers. We sincerely apologize to our affected customers are grateful of their continued custom, feedback and support of Auto Repair Bill.
Our new system will now allow you a grace period to keep using your account until the final PayPal payment attempt, depending on your PayPal account and how long you have it, the type of account, etc, determine how many retires are made, the maximum is 3 attempts, 5 days apart, now your account will only be deactivated if you miss the third payment.
Please note we have also introduced flagging of accounts that may attempt to abuse this generosity on late payments. As we grow, we can afford this to facilitate our loyal customers, everyone has a slow month every now and then and we appreciate that, and our software motto is to make your day to day business easier to manage!
Our Android app had been neglected for some time due to an issue with our licence plate scanner, which thankfully has now been resolved. We are happy to introduce the new plate scanner which will scan a plate, read the number, then once you select the State, it will attempt to auto fill VIN, Make, Model and Year, all to save you a little more time everyday! We think this will make our mobile app a more useful compliment to our web app when it comes to incoming new clients.
You can now directly dial or send a text message, or email to client from the app on the view client screen.
Other general bug fixes have been applied, including updated permission handling for Android Marshmallow, we are also working on a general redesign which will be on the way shortly too.
We are looking to add service history checks to mobile app also, but we will first need to check with CarFax terms if this is okay to do.
Thanks to all our customers and their support in 2016, and wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year!
We have plenty planned for 2017, so be sure to stay tuned as always! We will be posting more detail on upcoming upgrades in the next few weeks, and will be contacting our users for a short survey to help us improve our product, as you all know, we love feedback here!