The Car Mechanic’s Digital Edge (I’m just dreaming). Investment or Expense

Yesterday my mechanic said he had a web site. From the sound of his phone ringing so often its clear that it’s not used as much as it could be. People call him for two things, from what I can gather.
1. To find out the status of their cars – is my car done yet. I call for that too.
2. How much would it cost for a repair or can I bring my car over now.
My mechanic answers each call and is building a nice volume of loyal customers. However, if he used his web site as a communication tool he would get less telephone calls and less concerned customers.
Imagine that his web site did a few things:
1. When your car was repaired you were emailed and your cell phone was sent and SMS message.
2. Imagine you could get the status of how many cars were in the garage that day and from a drop down menu schedule an appointment and be advised if you should bring your car in that day and time for same day service.
Doing this is not hard, but would take my mechanic to do some level of technology upgrade and a change in his systems for car repair processing. He’d have to train his staff – or maybe just a few to access the new computer system. He’d have to use customer ID numbers and/or bar codes or something for cars.
The system is not hard to put together, it probably would cost a few thousand and it would be a learning curve for the garage mechanics and customers.
What does he invest in? He has a tool that can “read a car”. You connect it to the car and it can read the car’s computer and tell you what’s going on. He invested in this tool as he knows the benefit, time savings and competitive advantages. Why not a better way to communicate with customers? He, like many small businesses probably sees it as an expense and not an investment in his business.
Referring back to the post I wrote earlier, about Tech Divide: If my mechanic is not making upgrades like this, it makes sense that other small businesses are not using technology in more ways as well.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook