Strathcom had the privilege of attending a webinar recently put on by Google and Mintel that focused on the issues and opportunities that exist for Canadian dealerships’ parts and service departments. Here are some key takeaways from Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst at Mintel.
Canadians seem to be a little neglectful when it comes to vehicle maintenance! Mintel’s report shows that 19% of consumers bring their vehicles in for service just once or twice a year. Further to this, only 17% bring in their vehicle when there is an immediate problem. Whether it be financial barriers, scheduling barriers, or other barriers, consumers seem to be very hesitant to bring their vehicle in regularly.
There is also a strong presence of DIY (Do It Yourself) customers. About 10% of customers perform basic maintenance service on their own.
- Recent vehicle sales are up
- Future sales projections are up. As millennials now represent 21% of the Canadian population, they are the most likely generation to purchase a new vehicle
This represents a great opportunity for service departments as these recent and future vehicle sales need to be serviced.
How to leverage this opportunity? What should dealerships focus on?
No surprises here…offering good customer service is a must. According to the findings, key components of exceptional service include:
- Decreasing waiting periods
- Having a mechanic or a repairman available
- Offering free shuttle service
- Offering a complimentary loaner car
- Seamless spending: Assuring the shortest possible purchase path – challenge the convention with mobile technology and craft a payment process that makes it easy for the consumer
- Making it easy to book an appointment – ask yourselves what prerequisite information is actually required. Are there ways to decrease the length or forms to make it more likely for consumers to submit the booking online?
- Help owners track cost of ownership
Other ways to generate business from these opportunities include:
- There is space for the service industry to leverage referral business generation. For example, UBER leverages digital referrals by offering a bonus to those that make the referral and those that receive the referral. Possible rewards could include a free car wash, or a discount, for example.
- Consumers are also looking for tools that provide the reward / punishment system to help them better themselves. For example, just like Fitbit badge, digital achievements are acquired for achieving objectives.
- Drive organic traffic by taking photos of your service and tagging photos to drive awareness among your customers’ networks. This is a great way to establish and expand on relationships on the digital space.
- Attract the DIY customer by providing a high-level service class. This will facilitate relationship-building and rapport with the consumer.
- The DIY customer can also be more price sensitive. Counter this by offering time sensitive promotions while the service bay isn’t heavily occupied.
- Leverage YouTube advertising as DIY customers often consult YouTube for instruction on how to maintain their vehicle.
- Perform efficient mobile marketing that will drive traffic with location based, long-tailed keywords
- Customer service is still king: repeat business relies on good customer service
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