Autosource takes new technology approach
By Mike Mathes
Staff members at Autosource in Chilton use the latest in technology to assure proper diagnostics for customer vehicle repairs.

For 26 years, Autosource has been a customer-friendly for all varieties of automotive parts and service.

Known as a great community resource for auto parts and supplies, as well as repairs, Autosource is looking to venture into new methods of connecting customers to those traditional products and services to customers.

Yes, Chilton’s Auto Source Bumper to Bumper Center is taking that great leap into new technology.

“It’s all about trying to serve our customers better,” said Kathy Schmitzer, who operates the business along with her husband, Tom, and their capable team.

Texting your order

Atop the list of technological innovations is the new Autosource Bumper-to-Bumper texting program.

This month Autosource is launching a new program to allow customers to text in their parts orders.

“This is a way to simplify things for customers. They can text us in their own language. They don’t have to get on the internet or figure out any parts codes,” Schmitzer said.

The customers can also text to set up appointments, and can be part of a two-way texting conversation Autosource can send a text when service is completed and a vehicle is ready for pick up. They can also text a service invoice so the customer knows what their invoice amounts to.

“People don’t always have a laptop or computer terminal available to them, but they do have their smart phones,” Schmitzer added.

“The whole idea is to make it easier for the customer to do business with us.”

Since Autosource is part of the Bumper-to-Bumper parts program, the parts are usually available 36 hours of the order being placed.

“We can’t afford to store a million dollars of inventory here in Chilton,” Schmitzer said. “But we have direct access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of inventory in less than a day and a half away.”

VIP program

As an additional text program option, Autosource is also offering a VIP Text Club choice for anyone to join.

By signing up for the program, customers can received texted specials and offers on parts and service.

“We don’t want to be spammers or flooding people with texts,” Schmitzer said.

Customers will receive occasional text messages with helpful tips and money saving offers.

To join the VIP Text Club, simply text 36000 with the message K612.

Telematics a new feature

Another spanking new feature at Autosource is called Telematics, a product offered through Delphi.

Delphi Telematics is a wireless communication tool that car owners can have installed on their vehicles. This two-way communication device can offer data from the vehicle directly to the Autosource service center, allowing better diagnostics for determining repair needs.

In addition to diagnostics, the Telematics package also provides roadside assistance, reminders about preventive maintenance, a GPS locator system and safety-security systems

Roadside assistance helps determine if the vehicle can be repaired by a mobile technician following a roadside breakdown.

“How many times do you hear people say, ‘The car never klunks when it’s in the shop,’” Tom Schmitzer said. “This allows us to diagnose repair needs much more accurately.”

Great for managing fleets

“We are finding that this technology is particularly suited for businesses that manage fleets of vehicles. They can track the location of their vehicles on the internet. They can also set up boundaries beyond which the vehicle will stop operating,” he noted.

“Parents can also use the system to track where their teenagers are when they are using the car,” he added.

Telematics is offered at Autosource as a monthly fee program. The wireless communication tool is easily installed at the service center, and the customer is billed monthly for the service.

Telematics are so new to Autosource that a price has yet to be established. Schmitzer thought it may be in the range of $15 monthly and available shortly.

Autosource is located at 61 E. Chestnut Street in Chilton. For those who prefer the more experienced form of technology, the store is still available by phone at 920-849-4443.