STORE STATISTICS: Midwest Performance Cars Site: Chicago, Illinois, Northbrook, Illinois. Owner: Andy bizub Staff size: Chicago – 9. Northbrook – 5 Shop size: Chicago – 8,500 square feet, Northbrook – 7,500 square feet Number of elevators / bays: Chicago – 9 lifts 5 spans, Northbrook – 6 lifts 3 spans Average monthly number of cars: Chicago 128, Northbrook 85 ARO: Chicago $ 1150, Northbrook $ 70 Annual revenue: Chicago $ 1.7 million, Northbrook $ 700,000

As the repair industry continues to adapt and invest in the customer experience, convenience remains paramount, especially when it comes to conveniences like the ability to accept payments remotely, says Andy Bizub , Owner and Chief Strategy Officer of Midwest Performance Cars.

Whether using an online portal, an SMS system or other software, Bizub sees the implementation of new technologies as a crucial step for repair shops.

“The auto industry is lagging behind in a lot of ways,” he says. “I’m trying to get things done and do what I can to bring the industry up to speed. ”

But with convenience comes a caveat or two. Stores offering services like remote payments need to be careful about how they collect these payments in order to protect their operations, Bizub explains.

The story

As the owner of an efficient repair center, Bizub will often receive requests for pre-purchased inspections from customers who send their vehicles to it. For years, the Bizub store has been taking payment information over the phone.

For most of that time, Bizub never encountered many problems. But over the past five years, he’s seen a massive increase in credit card fraud and chargebacks which he says almost always end up on the customer’s side, despite evidence of legitimate work in progress. .

The problem

Bizub clearly remembers a situation that led him to change the store process. The store received a pre-purchased inspection of a Porsche owned by a Florida real estate agent. The workshop did the work, returned the car and documented the entire process. The customer submitted a chargeback request and American Express chose to side with the customer, despite seeing the appropriate documentation.

“It’s crazy. We’re guilty until proven guilty, but the credit card companies don’t care,” says Bizub. “If it’s American Express charges, you can forget about it. You don’t get it back.

But Bizub didn’t want to stop remote payments altogether. He has seen the added convenience this provides to customers and it is a necessary part of his business model. The challenge was to find a way to continue payments remotely without having to worry about chargebacks.

The solutions

Invest in a system.

What Bizub hadn’t done, and he sees that too many stores continue to fail to do so, is invest in technology that will protect the store from fraud. About two years after the Florida incident, Bizub set out to find an online electronic signature service that would allow the customer to approve repair work remotely and would also be legally binding and documentable for the store. . It was a step he’d missed before: there hadn’t been any paperwork to trace back to prove the customer had approved the purchase. It is difficult to track credit card information over the phone and it is easy for the customer to call fraudulently.

Bizub landed on Adobe Sign, but there are plenty of other services that offer the same protections for similar prices.

Via the system, Bizub sends the customer an invoice which he signs and returns. Next, the customer must also complete a credit card authorization form. Finally, the store will then return an invoice showing a zero balance and indicating that the payment has been processed. Throughout the process, IP addresses are tracked and time stamps are recorded to ensure that the store is legally covered.

“It sounds more complicated than it is,” says Bizub. “But it’s only three components and it’s a lot less steps than having to dispute a chargeback.”

Bizub is quick to point out that just because there are additional elements, it doesn’t take a lot of time. This may add an extra step or two to every purchase, but it’s an important step in making sure the business is covered. And avoiding remote payments altogether is not a solution either. It would be a mistake to do so with the industry trend, says Bizub.

Understand your customers.

Despite using the system, Bizub will still accept remote payments over the phone for long-time customers. Bizub prioritizes a relational shop, so for customers that Bizub has worked with several times and knows well, he won’t force them to go through the process. But for all new customers, they will still go through the electronic signature process. All of the chargeback issues that Bizub has ever dealt with have been first time customers.

And with established customers, there are always guarantees. Any work over $ 2,000 requires a deposit and the vehicle will not be released until full payment has been made. Bizub also offers text-to-pay for both types of customers, another added convenience that is trackable.

The results

Bizub has not encountered any chargeback issues since he started using the electronic signature service. He has not received any complaints from customers and he considers this another step forward for the industry.

Bizub deplores the lack of progress in the automotive industry. He sees distance and online payments as a way forward.

“We always try to meet our customers where they want to be,” says Bizub. This includes remote vehicle pickup and drop-off, which requires the use of this electronic signature.

Now, with a taste of this technology, Bizub takes it one step further. He is currently investigating the possibility of accepting BitCoin and other alternative payment types in the store.

“The way the industry is going, it’s going to branch off. Stores that offer these services will thrive, while low- and mid-range stores will be gutted, ”he says.

Takeaway meals

Dealing with chargebacks is a long and expensive process that can cause stores to fully accept any type of remote payment, explains Bizub. But in his mind, if stores are to successfully move forward, convenience is key. And being able to accept payments remotely, whether through an electronic signature service, an online portal or by SMS, will become increasingly important.

Thus, in order to capitalize on this convenience, but also to protect the store from fraud, Bizub advises stores to invest in an electronic signature service. But it is not a rigid system. Just like other parts of the business, processes can be moved for long-standing and trusted customers. Technology can be implemented without losing the mindset of a relational store.

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