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Being different will get you more service business, according to a recent study published by Google. In a study titled “The Road to Winning Drivers: What Drivers Want In the Automotive Aftermarket Service,” Google shared some interesting insights into how service departments can win business.
According to Google, only 1 in 3 consumers have any loyalty to a particular service provider and, out of those that do, 36 percent stated that they would go somewhere else if it were more affordable or convenient. At the same time, 81 percent of consumers say that they’re willing to pay more for quality service from a shop they trust. The facts, according to the study, are that “Drivers tend to stay with one shop due to lack of differentiation among service providers rather than high satisfaction.”
“The driver is yours to win,” says Google. What they’re saying is that you have the opportunity to win over every service customer. Two out of three have no loyalty and the remaining one can be won by becoming more convenient or affordable. However, in all cases, loyalty can be won through differentiation. Consumers have no loyalty to an automotive service provider because they’re given no reason to be loyal. In consumers’ minds, all automotive service providers are the same; simply a place to get their car serviced. Yet, even though consumers are reporting no loyalty, 73 percent of them state that they would “return to a service center they visited for preventative maintenance for future large repairs.” Add to this the fact that they’re willing to pay more for quality service from a trusted provider, and you have the key to your success.
If it’s all about being different, how can you be different?
Provide customers with a service experience unlike anyone else. If that sounds daunting, it shouldn’t. According to Google, only 2 percent of consumers are reminded by providers that they are due for scheduled service. Simply by notifying your customers digitally via e-mail and text message, you are doing something that 98 percent of the industry isn’t. “Since our world is becoming more and more digital… Enough with sending me something in the mail that I’m just going to throw away,” said one consumer in the study. Are you sending your customers service reminders via e-mail and text messages? That’s how they want them.
Another way to differentiate yourself from your competition is in a thorough explanation of your service and/or recommendations. One consumer stated, “I’d like it if they spent a bit more time explaining things to me. I know they are busy, but it would make me trust them more.” Don’t assume that just because a customer is shaking their head in understanding as you explain what’s included in their service, that they actually understand. According to Google, 62 percent of drivers research the service technician’s recommendations before performing the service. Why? Because they don’t understand you or you haven’t earned their trust. One consumer commented, “I take the mechanic’s advice and then I go home and research the parts and labor online, then I go back in with more knowledge.” You have to earn their trust. You earn their trust by making sure that your recommendations and explanations are verifiable through third parties like websites, videos and other service providers. You trust your doctor, right? Be the service provider they trust.
If these two small changes can make your service department customer experience different than 98 percent of your competition, why would you not implement them? Take the time to ensure that you’re reminding your customers of service digitally; and that you’re thorough in explaining not only what you’re doing; but also why it’s important. By doing these two things, you’ll be well on your way to winning loyal customers.