Fixed Ops | Lower Your Defect Rate with Women and Improve Profits

Posted: May 5, 2021 by Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate

As humans, we generally have a false sense of control that is automatically built into our thinking. Added to that is an optimistic bias, meaning, an artificial sense that things will work out. It’s there for all of us. Let’s bring this into the automotive space.

Car dealerships and fixed ops managers believe that customers will continue to be customers. Why? Because they have been customers.

Fixed Ops StatsNew Insights, New Actions
A new 2021 Fixed Ops Trends by JoinWomenDrivers, reports that 1 in 4 women defect from their dealership due to inconsistent delivery of communication. An estimated two-thirds of fixed ops customers are women. When they leave your dealership, while you may have a process to have clients complete a review or CSI, this does not ensure they will be back again.

Women pay the bill, walk out the door, and you have no way of knowing that this could very well be her last business interaction with you.

Top Reasons Women Don’t Stay with a Dealer:
1. The top reason women defect is 1 in 4 report that the amount paid was inconsistent with what was quoted. This can happen once and be understood and forgiven. When it happens a second time, she is gone. $1.030M ANN. POTENTIAL LOST SALES

What to Do: Audit your estimates and invoices to see where and when the differences appear. For the inevitable variances, be sure your advisors are providing adequate explanations for the changes in a timely fashion, prior to pickup and delivery.

As a best practice, when diagnosing a repair(s), provide a dollar range and contact the customer with the exact cost when the extent of the repair is known. The confidence and trust in your brand are at stake.

2. The second reason these customers don’t return has to with an upset in how her vehicle was returned. Let’s say the average dealership writes 18,240 Repair Orders (RO) annually. That means 2,166 of those RO’s were women reporting they were dissatisfied with their vehicle’s interior cleanliness or exterior wash when they picked up their car. $780K ANN. POTENTIAL LOST SALES

What to Do: This is a dealership’s last touchpoint to make an exceptional impression with a current client; make it count. Put a process in place that before a vehicle is turned over to a customer, a manager approves the vehicle inside and out. Driving away in a clean car will be appreciated – and is expected. Definitely do not leave the car in a worse state than before it was dropped off. Do you take photos of ‘before and after’ for your files? Do you return the seats to their original placement as a courtesy? This is a good place to start.

If your brand does not provide this service, manage customer expectations.

3. Reason #3 that this demographic opts out has to do with the messaging from a service manager which is contradictory to her expectations. Said another way, the interaction was not to the customers satisfaction. $650K ANN. POTENTIAL LOST SALES

What to Do: Independently monitor your employee greetings and communications – in-person, on the phone, and digitally. What are your employees saying? Are they listening? Are your customers feeling heard?

1 in 4 women customers are dissatisfied with their fixed ops experience.

Do you have a feedback loop directly with customers, to independently audit their experience and to hear their dissatisfaction? Need Help?

Schedule periodic training sessions with your staff and share suggestions for improving these interactions.

Catalyst To Increasing Retentions Starts Here

How much service revenue are you losing due to these 3 reasons? It’s in the details where customers opt-out. Take time in your next meeting to review. Put new processes in place with accountability. With awareness to women, customer retention will increase.

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