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Five service features to invest in now

CDK Global study uncovers current market trends in survey of over 2,000 shoppers who frequent dealers, independents, and mobile mechanic services

Hoffman Estates, Ill.—In CDK Global’s recent Service Shopper 2.0 study, it surveyed more than 2,000 active shoppers who frequent dealers, independents, and mobile mechanic services to uncover current market trends. CDK Global also asked those same shoppers what features they would “love” to have offered at a service center and which ones, if missing, would make them “unhappy.” Here’s the breakdown.

CDK Global took the responses and grouped them accordingly, regardless of age:

Strong response for
loving it if offered,
and strong response
for hating it if
not offered
Strong response for
loving it if offered,
and moderate
response for hating
it if not offered
Moderate response
for loving it if offered,
but strong response
for hating it if
not offered
Weak responses
for both loving it if
offered and hating
it if not offered

The following are five service features that stood out for all respondents, as stated in the report:

Transparent Service Pricing: 45% love it if offered — 34% hate it if not offered

Inflation is a more permanent part of our everyday lives — so price matters to shoppers across the Retail and Service experience. To have a realistic picture, understanding the costs of specific Service activity is vital.

Today’s shopper wants a guaranteed lowest price, a detailed invoice with all related fees, as well as real-time cost updates on any repairs. We saw some of the strongest sentiment when the complete cost at the time of booking wasn’t included — 45% on the “love it” side and 34% for “hate it.” Gen X, boomers and Gen Z all fell in the Desire category, but it was highly ranked for millennials as well.

Even customers who have a paid or complimentary Service plan are reassured when they see no charge for scheduled repairs, given these cost-conscious times. The high number of respondents who said they would hate it if this wasn’t included was surprising, so alleviating concerns at the start of the process could be a huge benefit. Boomers especially could feel alienated if this wasn’t offered.

Marketing Factory-Trained Technicians and Certified Parts: 41% love-to-have

One of the biggest advantages franchised dealers have over independent and chain service providers is the experience of factory-trained Technicians and a supply of certified parts. Respondents indicated how important both were by scoring them highly on the love-to-have side of our survey, both at 41%. These two areas also scored the highest overall in the hate-it-if-it-wasn’t-offered category at 46% and 45%, respectively.

That is more than twice the average score. The next closest feature in that ranking was guaranteed lowest prices at 36%. That’s how important these truly are, placing them in the Desire camp for millennials and Gen X camps and Require for Gen Z and boomers.

With a popular assumption that Service costs might be higher at dealerships, promoting these two assets is vital to customer satisfaction and retention. If you display a menu of your services, add language that your dealership offers these love-to-have features. As you roll out marketing materials, direct mail, email, social media etc., make sure to highlight these two competitive advantages.

Real-Time Mobile Updates: 47% love it if offered — 18% hate it if not offered

The results were nearly identical for real-time text updates, with “love it” registering a 47% and just 18% on the “hate it” side. This means these are features that would delight your customers even if not seen as vital to the operation. Dealers also reap the benefits because Service Reps no longer have to spend time directly updating customers. Less time walking to the waiting room or looking up phone numbers means more time focused on workflow. Best of all, it doesn’t matter where your customers are — the information gets to them regardless of their location.

Personalized Offers

47% — Overall, respondents ranked personalized offers at 47% loving it if included in their Service experience. Millennials and Gen X favored it most, both over 50%. Those who would hate it if personalized offers weren’t the norm was also high at 21%.

24% — We saw a higher hate-it score for boomers at 24%, placing them in the Desire camp while the other generations fell into the Delight category. This means that boomers are looking to get as much as possible from dealer outreach.

Dedicated Areas for Remote Workers and Parents

Dealerships have been accommodating remote work for some time with varying degrees of expense. They’ve learned that it’s much more than stocking the vending machine and having hot coffee (although that’s still important, too). Some install full-fledged workstations with power and ports to charge devices and semi-privacy to make calls. Others go the communal route with larger workspaces for multiple people to share.

47% — Nearly half of customers surveyed said they prefer to wait for their vehicle to be repaired.

48% — Respondents would love it if a designated work or play area were offered while waiting for service to be completed.

The response from millennials and Gen X on both points was significant at over 50%, while Gen Z and boomers weren’t as interested — likely because they’re not as engaged in the workforce or raising children.

But all generations responded similarly when asked if they’d hate it if work and play areas were absent —a rating of 20%, putting all but indifferent boomers into the Delight camp. Parents still need to entertain their children when stopping into a Service department — so take this opportunity to build customer loyalty. It’s time to cultivate relationships with families as a cornerstone of a multi-generational Sales and Service strategy.

Play areas are one option, but with so many children using digital devices, a comfortable place for them to sit next to a parent and use their tablet would score customer appreciation points. If you haven’t added these perks, consider making them part of your customer care lineup. They will likely generate good will and return visits, and reduce the number of people asking for shuttle service.

To view the complete CDK Global report, click here.

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