We spoke to Marcus Aman of Shyft about contactless pickup and return vehicle service.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcus Aman: Thanks for asking! We are doing well as you know we are living in the craziest of times which presents some challenges at home. My wife and I have 3 children, so working from home has been a bit challenging while trying to also be the teacher and parent during the middle of the day.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Shyft.
Marcus Aman: Growing up, my father owned an electronics store, so I was always around technology. Selling and servicing products were very important for the success of his company. I used to watch consumer behavior in the showroom of my father’s storefront and study how consumers gravitated towards certain showcases or products and then make adjustments to help increase sales. In my early 20’s, I started in the automotive industry as a used car salesman and later became a service manager of a large automotive dealership in Greenville, NC. I managed that automotive service department for 12+ years and realized that consumers really disliked having their vehicle serviced while the dealership was losing 75% of consumers after the warranty period expired. I started offering a pickup and return for vehicle service to make it more convenient for consumers, and we became one of the leaders in retention in the eastern United States. I realized one of the biggest problems was communication, convenience, and simple interactions at the service facility between the consumer and service employee. We started the company after realizing the opportunity and the chance to bridge the gap between consumer and auto repair shops.
How does Shyft innovate?
Marcus Aman: We have an iOS, Android, and web application that helps automotive repair shops engage better with their customers. Automotive repair shops can schedule appointments, offer and manage pickup and return for service, send messages to ANY customers, requests online payments, track and manage loaner vehicles, and more. Consumers can schedule from their phone without calling-in, view vehicle service history on the phone, message with the facility, pay by SMS text link or in-app push notification, track the status of their vehicle, and request a trade appraisal.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcus Aman: The covid-19 pandemic was something nobody could be prepared for. During a traditional vehicle service experience, you may have to wait in a crowded lobby with other potential sick customers, which may not be an ideal option today. Fortunately for us, our application had a “contactless” option built-in that has really helped auto repair shops and consumers during the pandemic. Our solution allows consumers and automotive repair shops to interact digitally without the consumer having to visit the automotive service center in person.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcus Aman: We launched our company on March 1st, 2020. We look at everything as an opportunity, whether good or bad. Keeping a positive attitude is key. I think if we had to go back and do it over, we would’ve probably built a progressive web app before we built a full mobile app first.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Shyft in the future?
Marcus Aman: Dealing with stress and anxiety is a big deal in order to be successful in running your own company. It’s hard at times when there is so much on your road map to get done to step away and come back refreshed. I generally spend some time at the park with my children, shoot some hoops with my son, take a drive or go work out at the gym. Having a routine and staying true to it is very important for your success.
We will be the leader in automotive software logistics and consumer engagement in the near future. We have a solid team and the know-how to win at the highest levels.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcus Aman: MyKaarma, Text2Drive, Carmen, and Update Promise – We plan on innovating at every corner of fixed operations with our strong domain and technical expertise. We feel like automotive repair shops really need high-level technology to help them run more efficiently and help their consumers interact with them in a more modern way.
Your final thoughts
Marcus Aman: At Shyft, we really want to make a meaningful impact on the automotive repair space. Doing business with automotive repair shops should be easier and more transparent for consumers. Communication at all levels should be clear and concise. Our mission is to give consumers the very best experience while helping automotive repair shops communicate and engage with their customers better. We are dedicated to continuous improvement and bridging the gap between the consumer and the automotive repair shop.
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