Aust & NZ
26th Mar 2015

Are Women Shying Away from Your Service Department?

In an overgeneralized yet often thrown around stereotype, the automotive world has always seemed to favour the male gender. Though not always supported, it seems gender did play a role in a recent study done by the Institute of the Motor Industry. The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) survey revealed that a large percentage of women are less comfortable than men to service their cars - mainly due to issues of cost – causing fewer appointments to be scheduled than generally recommended. Considering that close to half of all cars are purchased by females – the proposed threat to the aftersales market seems fixable. So, what happens between the showroom and the service department that deters women from coming back?

The survey suggests that women shy away from the service department due to the uncertainty of cost that comes with aftersales appointments. Many service appointments are ridden with unforeseen expenses and spur-of-the-moment suggestions for repair – and according to the survey, women are less comfortable differentiating between what’s fair and what’s unreasonable. In an effort to address the findings, there are now global campaigns in place to encourage more women to get their car serviced through an offering of greater transparency and fixed pricing plans.

Suggested plans of attack for inviting more female consumers into the service department revolve mainly around transparency. One way modern dealerships are providing transparency is by equipping their service staff with driveway service tablets. On the portable tablet, service staff can confidently walk customers through, line by line, exactly what they’re paying for – and why the services need to be done. It’s easy to see straight away how much parts and labour cost in real-time, leaving little to no surprise for consumers at the end. Providing consumers with the exact cost of service up front takes away any feelings of uncertainty and removes skepticism of the legitimacy of the repair claims. As a consumer it’s one we can all relate to - when you know what you have to pay up front, you’re more comfortable spending the expense.

Another way to increase service department frequency is through the offer of fixed service pricing plans. Third party suppliers are offering, in collaboration with dealerships, inflation-proof service plans upon the purchase of your vehicle. The fixed vehicle servicing plans offer an honest and secure way of servicing your vehicle throughout the entirety of its lifespan. How does it work? A monthly direct debit starts as soon as you purchase your car, paying for the cost of all routine maintenance before the car is even due for the service; taking away the unexpected cost of servicing and the question of validity of the expense. With vehicle servicing plans, you will have paid for the work required before your vehicle even hits the service department – eliminating the element of surprise altogether. Fixed servicing plans not only give peace of mind to consumers, but also create a sense of loyalty between the dealership and the consumer, perpetuating the customer-for-life relationship further.

Creating an emotional connection of trust, transparency, and consistency is important for all customer relationships - regardless of gender – and might be easier to instil than you think. For more information on how to make your service department more inviting, please contact a Pentana Solutions’ expert today.