How Shadetree Automotive Keeps the Spirit of the Good Ol’ Days Alive with a Modern Twist

Shadetree Automotive Quick Facts

  • Family owned and operated by the Lambert family since 1994
  • Single location in Layton, UT 
  • Free shuttle service, free loaner cars, free 24 hr towing with repairs

Keeping the Spirit of the Good Ol’ Days Alive

A “Shadetree Mechanic” referred to your local Mr. Fix-It hobbyist who worked on family member’s, friend’s or neighbor’s cars under the shade of their driveway’s trees. Although the days of the old-school shadetree mechanic are dwindling, the Lambert family keeps the spirit of neighborly repair work alive at the family owned and operated Shadetree Automotive in Layton, Utah.  

Over the years, Mark Lambert always did work on cars for family, friends and neighbors from his home garage, hence the Shadetree name. When Mark’s customer base and workload got too big to handle from his small home garage, he opened up shop in town in 1994. Mark’s son, Tom Lambert, grew up in tandem with the business, so it was a natural transition for Tom and his wife Cindy to take over the operations of Shadetree Automotive. 

Investing in Their Employees and Their Customers

As the owner of the business, Tom is a strong believer in working on your business rather than in the business. On any given day, Tom is thinking about the bigger picture, like how to make Shadetree a great place to work for their technicians and how to deliver the best possible customer experience. Tom invests in his employees, encouraging them to dedicate 48 hours each year in the classroom and spending over $100k to get them the best equipment in the business. Now, with better technology to enhance the customer experience, Tom is investing in his customers too. 

Finding the Perfect Balance between Customer-First and Business-First Activities

Tom explains, “our service advisors love people. They love to interact with them. They love to help them. In fact, they spend an average of 48 hours in class each year perfecting customer service and communication skills to explain repairs in a way that puts customers at ease. All while balancing a huge workload. Phones ringing, customers dropping off and picking up, accurately estimating repairs, ordering parts, looking at vehicles along side technicians, endless paperwork.” 

When Tom found out that there’s a way for his service advisors to continue putting the customer first while also reducing their overload of time-consuming tasks, he jumped on the opportunity. 

Shadetree Automotive signed up for and installed Openbay Otis on their business website in February 2019. The primary draw to sign up for Otis, a real-time automotive messaging platform, was the convenience factor for their customers and their service advisors. Tom knows that people like to research and make decisions on their own time, so Otis gave his business the best way to make that possible. 

Using artificial intelligence, Openbay Otis immediately answers questions for anyone visiting Shadetree Automotive’s website. Online visitors can now book an appointment, receive an accurate service estimate or ask questions about the business, 24/7 via the Otis messaging platform that appears when the visitor first lands on the website. Plus, no service advisors are required to answer these online inquiries. All Otis answers are delivered to visitors instantly, no human intervention required.

Service Advisor Workload Overload Is a Thing of the Past

It didn’t take long for Shadetree Automotive to see that Otis was solving their service advisor’s workload overload problem. 

In just 90 days, Otis:

  • Participated in 155 conversations with online visitors
  • Scheduled 16 appointments for new customers
  • Delivered 42 service estimates to potential customers
  • Engaged with 41 new contacts
  • Saved Shadetree Automotive 18 hours, 23 minutes and 5 seconds of time (# of conversations x avg conversation duration)

By automating time consuming processes like answering questions over the phone, accurately estimating repair costs and coordinating customer drop offs and pickups, Shadetree’s service advisors can focus on delivering excellent customer service. 

Modern Technology for Today’s Consumers

According to Tom Lambert, “we need this [Otis] for our next generation of customers.” Why? Because “people don’t like to talk on the phone so communication is moving away from that. And technology helps us get more done each day – for both the business and the customer.” 

Tom told us a story of a 25 year old guy who visited Shadetree’s website, started a conversation with Otis, asked a few questions, booked an appointment, dropped off his keys at the key box and picked up his keys from the same key box when his car was ready. This Millennial customer was shocked (and elated) that from start to finish in his car repair journey, he didn’t have to speak to one person. 

In today’s world, multitasking is second nature. We might be in a meeting at work while also browsing where to go for dinner that night. We no longer need to leave the meeting to call the restaurant and make a reservation because the power of on-demand technology lets us accomplish more than one task at once. There’s no reason auto service and repair should be any different. That’s why there’s Openbay Otis. 

Shadetree Automotive’s Words of Wisdom for Other Businesses Considering Otis

“Just try it. Once I installed Otis on our website, I couldn’t believe how fast the traction was. It was a low investment with a high return. We spend thousands on acquiring new customers, but this was well worth the investment.”

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