How to Treat Women Service Dept. Customers

Today, more women are working outside their homes, managing their own finances and buying their own cars. They're self-sufficient and generally discriminating consumers who often maintain their own vehicles and their families' vehicles as well. Women make up about 65% of a service center's customer base, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Women rate trust as the

Today, more women are working outside their homes, managing their own finances and buying their own cars. They're self-sufficient and generally discriminating consumers who often maintain their own vehicles and their families' vehicles as well.

Women make up about 65% of a service center's customer base, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Women rate trust as the No. 1 factor when choosing a repair facility, says Susan Christophersen, ACDelco manager of product service and training development.

“Good communication is the key to building trust with female customers. Women want factual information and want to feel confident that we won't be taken advantage of,” says Christophersen. “Women want to know what repairs have been done, when to bring the vehicle back for maintenance, and that the service center stands behind the work they do. Learning to communicate in a simple, straightforward manner will go a long way toward building trust with these female consumers.”

Christophersen advises service providers to take advantage of the many booklets, posters and brochures that are available to describe automotive systems. These tools will help customers better understand the recommended repairs.

She also encourages dealerships to offer vehicle care clinics to teach their customers the importance of regular maintenance, and some do-it-yourself basics such as checking tire pressure and fluid levels.

“It's another way to build trust and retain customers,” Christophersen says. “If you educate them so that when they hear the brakes squeal, they bring in their car to replace the brake pads instead of waiting and having to replace the more expensive rotors. They will reward you with their loyalty.”

There are other ways service providers can gain the loyalty of women customers, she says. Little things, like providing a clean, well-lit waiting room with a fresh pot of coffee, washing the repaired vehicle before returning it and providing transportation services while the vehicle is in for repairs.

She adds, “Women can be fiercely loyal to brands and services they respect. But it works both ways: If she has a bad experience, she'll share that with all her friends, too. And that is advertising no shop can afford.”

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