A Woman’s Touch is Changing Car Service and Sales Procedures

by ucvadmin on August 7, 2012

Women spend $200 Billion on cars and automotive service each year according to Anne Fleming, car buying advocate and president of Women-Drivers.com. She goes on to report that women influence up to 80% of car buying decisions. Yet only 8% of the 231,000 automotive salespeople are women.

Dealerships who cater to the wants and needs of their female customers have shown an increase in overall business. A startling statistic is that women buyers will pay as much as $1,353 more to avoid negotiating over the price of a car.

But it is not about expecting women to pay more. “Car dealerships have to treat women respectfully or they risk sending customers to their nearest competitor – another dealership, or an independent specialty or ‘big box’ auto repair store,” reports Fleming in a recent press release. Flemings website rates dealerships, auto repair facilities and manufacturers on how they “promote trust and transparency, as demonstrated by their Women Satisfaction Index® (WSI) scores.”

Women-Drivers.com has identified “5 Features of Top-notch Customer Service” exhibited by “dealerships with extraordinarily high retention rates with women consumers.”

1. More Women in the Workplace: Over 18% of women working at car dealerships and many are in the position of service advisor, the first line of contact with the dealership’s customers. These dealerships realize that seeing a knowledgeable woman behind the service counter makes female customers more comfortable to ask questions concerning repairs.

2. Using Technology to Communicate Repair Needs: Most dealers continue to focus on “verbal selling” instead of “visual selling.” Women, many of whom are skeptical of “up sells at the dealership” decline the additional or unforeseen recommendation over 40% of the time. Why? Customers want proof to ensure that the repair is warranted – and, when they cannot see the problem many opt out, and may even feel suspicious about it. Companies like ClearMechanic.com develop technology for automotive dealerships including mobile apps, expert illustration content and web‐based tools to “visually explain” auto repairs with real‐time photos and videos. Customers and dealerships alike see this as win‐win. Dealerships that use this “proof‐based” technology have a 20‐40% increase in success on additional service recommendations while their customer retention rates and CSI scores improve.

3. Go Beyond TV: Make the service waiting area into places where women are comfortable spending time, especially mothers with children. A relaxed and friendly atmosphere with comfortable seating, Wi-Fi connectivity, and flat‐screen TVs are a start. The warmth of the waiting area, the types of magazines provided and the wall colors also enhance the space. Provide hot and cool beverages and a children’s designated play center. Allow for free transportation services so women can run errands while waiting for their car to be finished. Where possible, allow for courtesy overnight vehicles – this concierge service is employed by luxury brands and can have a real impact on women using a dealership; so trickle‐down brands and dealerships take note.

4. Expand Hours: According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average service department is open 56 hours a week compared to an 80 hour average for a specialty car repair chain store. With 40% of children today being born to unwed mothers and 29.5% of households run by single parents, dealerships that expand their hours are expanding their customer base.

5. The Golden Rule: Put a highly trained listener into the position of Service Advisor – the professional who can hear not only what women are actually saying, but also be interested in what they aren’t saying. Abandon the role as the know‐it‐all automotive expert and strive to support and educate women throughout the entire sales process. Treat women with respect and treat them as the savvy consumers they are.

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