When you bring your car to the dealership or an independent auto service center for service, from an oil change to a new transmission, have you ever worried about putting your costly key “fob” in the service center’s after-hours “dropbox?”
I sure have. When one of my electronic keys broke a few years back, leaving me with only one, I remember bringing my car for service at my dealership shortly after it had closed and was left wondering, “What happens if they somehow lose my one remaining key? And, how much will it cost me to replace it?”
Well, thanks to the brother of a friend of mine, worrying about leaving today’s expensive, computerized car keys will soon be a thing of the past, because of a new smartphone app and key drop terminal called “Keys with Eeeze.”
That’s the good news. The even better news is that Keys with Eeeze will one day do more for auto service centers and even rental car companies than just make it more convenient to leave your keys. With everyone in our technologically-driven world begging for speed and convenience, Keys with Eeeze will allow you to step up to a machine that looks very similar to a bank ATM, and with a few touch-screen commands, secure your valuable keys, order whatever services you need, and every time your key or your car moves — from the parking area outside the service center to onto the lift to completion, etc. — you’ll receive a Facebook Instant Message (IM).
In other words, even if it’s not after hours, Keys with Eeeze will allow you to check your car in, order the services you need and pick up your car without ever having to talk to a service writer. How’s that for convenience?
The Wesley Chapel Connection
Keys with Eeeze was invented by a Dillsburg, PA, software developer named Tony Santo. If that name sounds a little familiar to you, you may know Tony’s brother Ken — the former owner of Skinny’s Sports Bar and Santo’s Pizza & Pasta on S.R, 54.
But, Ken is more than just Tony’s brother. Ken and his friend (and former owner of the Silver Ring Café, which also was located in the same Pinebrook at The Grove plaza as Santo’s and Skinny’s) Tim Booth are Tony’s point men to roll out Keys with Eeeze here in Florida. The invention is so new that Ken, Tim and Tony are revamping their existing marketing materials for Keys with Eeeze in order to better capture the attention and imagination of Wesley Chapel’s growing list of auto dealerships, chain and local independent service centers and those rental car companies.
And, Keys with Eeeze is already operational and exceeding expectations back in Dillsburg, where HC Automotive became the first auto repair shop in the world to employ Santo’s incredible, new technology.
Santo says the idea for his invention came to him as he was dropping off his car for service and looking down at the paper envelope he had to fill out by hand, drop his key into and deposit in the box at the dealership’s door. He wondered why anyone, in today’s technologically advanced age, would still be using a system that hasn’t changed much since the 1950s?
According to hard numbers given to Santo by HC Automotive owner Jon Gustafson, who only rolled out the new system at the end of April, the software is more than paying for itself. In fact, although Santo originally estimated that it could take up to a year for a service center to generate enough additional income using Keys with Eeeze to pay for the cost of the software and kiosk, Gustafson’s two-lift service shop generated enough income to justify the expense in less than 120 days!
“We knew we had something special when Tony first told me about Keys with Eeeze,” says his proud brother. “We just didn’t know it would make such a difference so quickly.”
Tony adds, “(Gustafson) says it has revolutionized his business. He tells me that when he first rolled out the kiosk and software at HC Auto, only 10 or 15 percent of the service center’s customers were using it. Just a few months later, 49 percent of his customers are using it and he’s seen a 30-percent increase in revenue, all of which, he says, is directly attributable to Keys with Eeeze.”
Santo’s invention combines an automated software system you can download to your smartphone that will allow you manage your service appointment — from dropping off the key into the kiosk to picking it up after hours. The new technology also allows your key to be coded to your phone and be delivered back to you at the kiosk any time of the day or night.
“Our Keys with Eeeze system puts you in the driver’s seat by giving you the ability to do business on your own time constraints, not the service shop’s,” Santo says. The software alone gives you carte blanche to pick a service date, order various items from a menu, communicate the issues you may be having with your vehicle electronically — concise, legible and in print — and receive instant feedback, updates and digital reports about your vehicle’s condition, all in Facebook Instant Messages to your phone.”
He adds that if necessary, customers also can receive uploaded photos and recall notices about their vehicles, receive an electronic message when their vehicle is ready for pickup and even access easy payment options, “so you can literally bypass the service desk most of the time and only talk to a service rep if there is a problem with your car that needs to be addressed.”
HC Auto has the prototype kiosk for Santo’s system, which only allowed 12 keys to be stored in the kiosk at once, but the newer model shown on the previous page allows up to 30 cars at once to be entered into the system.
“That will be perfect for these dealerships here in Wesley Chapel, some of which have ten or more lifts,” says Ken. “I can’t imagine that a more efficient system than this one for keeping track of all those keys and service orders is going to be invented anytime soon.”
Tony has a patent pending on his invention and is in the process of rolling it out to dealerships and service centers nationwide. Ken and Tim only recently began handling all of Florida for him and say that even though they are still working on the re-tooled Keys with Eeeze website and marketing materials, they’ve already had some great interest.
“Keys with Eeeze is perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle and millennials are eating it up,” Tony says. “I’m confident that I’ve hit on the right idea at the right time. And, why are there three “eeeze” in Keys With Eeeze? Eeeze of checking in, Eeeze of doing business, Eeeze of checking out!”
For details, pricing and leasing information, please contact Ken Santo at (813) 727-5794 or visit KeysWithEeeze.com