Does this sound familiar to you?

Lucas Deal

September 14, 2016

Earlier this week Record360, a leading provider of asset condition software in the automotive marketplace, released the official results of its first-ever survey of dealership service center customers.

The survey, which was conducted in June and was completed by more than 500 vehicle owners, was developed to determine the factors for visiting (or not) visiting a dealer service center, the level of service customers had received in returning with their vehicle to an OEM service center, as well as tools and capabilities customers wish they would receive at dealer service centers.

As you can imagine, the results were enlightening.

Record360 reports the top reason not choosing a dealership’s service center for maintenance is uncertainty over the cost of the service itself. Because customers returning to a dealer service center are most likely dealing with a stressful situation, escalating and uncertain costs create an additional level of headache customers simply aren’t willing to manage.

Service event transparency was cited as a key differentiator for dealers as well. Results of the survey clearly indicate that customers are unlikely to have a positive customer experience and return to a service center if they felt they were not adequately updated on the status of their vehicle’s repair during the event. And this opinion was shared for all types of service.

One area where customers did respond positively is to dealers who have acknowledged and are working to address the issue above.

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“It’s exciting to see that customers are asking for services that are well within any dealership’s ability to offer,” says Shane Skinner, Record360’s Co-Founder & CEO. “Whether it’s stronger transparency around cost and the time it takes to complete maintenance or around visualizing vehicle condition, customers are asking for things that dealerships can implement right now, or with some minor technology upgrades.”

Record360 didn’t do a duplicate survey for the commercial truck market, but I doubt the results would be much different. I know from my regular trips to TMC each year (And, FYI, Successful Dealer will be live from TMC again next week) that erratic pricing in the service channel drives fleets bonkers. More often than not fleets are willing to pay a premium for quality service–especially so if it’s also fast–but that doesn’t mean they’ll accept roller coaster rates without incident.

And I think we all know about their quest for transparency.

Carriers today cannot afford to be kept out of the loop. In automotive market a car is a customer’s transportation, but in our world it’s the customers’ livelihood. An extra day in the shop doesn’t just mean another $30 to the rental car company–it can be hundreds or thousands of dollars of business lost.

So if you have good customers and plan to keep them, it’s time to commit to transparency. The money you invest today we’ll surely make its way back tomorrow.

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