Who is responsible for car maintenance and repairs in your family? More and more, that person is a woman.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, women are taking over the traditionally male-dominated responsibility of car maintenance and repair
With regard to vehicle maintenance, 74% of women state they are responsible for making the maintenance decisions concerning their vehicles. 18% reported the decisions were shared and only 8% said they were responsible for none of the maintenance decisions
You'll find and these and other interesting stats about women and automotive services here.
Why focus on women when selling automotive services?
As we've seen, women are often the one responsible for bringing the vehicle in to be serviced.
So what can companies do to sell to and connect with women consumers? To start with, they can look at the success of Michelle Neilson and Ms. Tuffy.
Selling automotive services to women -Ms. Tuffy Success Story
Meet Darrel and Michelle Neilson. Darrel owned many Tuffy Auto Service Centers throughout Virginia. When Michelle came on, she suggested creating a center devoted to serving women – Ms. Tuffy. At first the franchise owners said, "no." But after more persuading, they agreed to let Ms. Tuffy go forward as a test.
The result? The Ms. Tuffy experiment has been a big success. Darrel says if he had it all to do over again, he'd open 30 Ms. Tuffy stores. So what is Ms. Tuffy doing differently? How are they creating an experience that women (and men) appreciate?
What women want from an automotive service center
Technicians report that women
- Ask more questions
- Inquire about details
- Are more willing to look under the hood or check out parts
- Are focused on preventative maintenance
Every detail has been planned for including wireless internet access, a super comfy waiting room and women friendly magazines and TV stations.
Michelle Neilson regularly hears from her customers, saying they drive by other Tuffy locations to get to Ms. Tuffy. Which brings up a critical point. Convenience is super important, but for women, trust is even more important than convenenience.
By being transparent, Ms. Tuffy pulls back the curtain and actually walks customers out to show them their cars and parts. One technician noted a woman dressed to the hilt who probably wouldn't want to go out into the service bay. But when asked if she wanted to see her car, she trotted right out, pumps and all, to see what work had been done.
Action steps you can take to create satisfied loyal female customers
- Hire women – technicians and customer-interacting staff.
- Listen to her full story without interrupting (she’s giving you details she thinks you need to understand the problem). Don't jump to a diagnosis til she's had a chance to fully explain the problem.
- Over-explain what you’ll be doing. Women want more information and details about what's being done and why.
- Set up a regular maintenance schedule and send reminders. (just like a dentist) Get her email address and set up an auto-responder email.
- Give her regular phone updates on how the work is going and when she can expect her car to be ready.
- Physically show her the work that has been done.
- Return her car clean – no smudges, no changes to radio station or seat position (respect her space) Even offer a free vacuum. (she notices details)
- Ask a woman to critique your shop and point out details, good and bad from a female customer point of view.
Pay attention to the unique needs of your women clients and watch your sales soar.