A McKinsey Insights article titled “Driving the Automotive Customer Experience Toward the Age of Mobility” explores the shift in demographics for the automotive industry. In the article, they suggest that millennials will become 45 percent of the customer base in automotive by 2025. That’s just six years away.
What we know about the millennial generation is that their shopping patterns and expectations are different than previous generations. They expect transparency more than any other generation, and they expect a connected, easy to navigate online experience. Information needs to be readily available or they’ll turn on their heel and choose someone else.
How does that affect service departments? With nearly half your potential customer base at stake, you’ll need to embrace millennial expectations, particularly where service pricing is concerned. Specifically, your menu prices should be front and center.
The values that millennials expect aren’t new, they’re just exacerbated. All customers will benefit from intentional transparency and menu prices that emphasize value and while highlighting OEM advantages and amenities. It builds trust with your customers.
What happens when customers trust you? Sales folks know this well – they open their wallets. They do so because you aren’t trying to sell them on a service or product but because they perceive that you’re helping them.
So, how can you help your customers trust you through your menu pricing?
When you’re establishing your service department’s online presence and advertising through a wide range of old and new media, deliver a consistent message. Use similarly worded and styled ads whether on social media, snail mail flyers, TV ads, or anywhere else you know your customers will see it.
Dealers, there should be a fair slice of the budget dedicated to service advertising. We know that it’s easier and cheaper to convert a service customer to a new car buyer than to attract a new sales prospect. Don’t miss this. It’s a huge opportunity that many dealers still haven’t caught onto.
Service promotions are usually a steeply discounted loss leader to attract customers during slow times. It doesn’t have to be that way. Your promotions can be very minimally discounted – or not at all – and your services emphasized instead.
Once you’ve set your promotion, get the message out with your consistent delivery methods. Tell your current and potential customers why your store is the best choice for them, regardless of price.
Remember this about deep discounts: the lowest price at which a customer has paid for a service is now their perceived value. Trying to raise the price makes them think you’re overcharging. Keep discounts of any kind minimal.
Have you ever considered using your service menu pricing as a sales tool? Think about this scenario:
A millennial shopper (or it could be any shopper, really) has settled on a make and model you sell. They’re either sitting in front of you after a test drive, or possibly you’re still talking back and forth online. Sure, you could drop your pants on the price to try to secure the sale, but what’s to say another dealer won’t undercut you on price? But you can change the conversation. Let the shopper know all the reasons they should choose your dealership, not your car. Bring up your online service menu prices that show competitive comparisons with local providers, a service InteliChek can help you with. Demonstrate that you have amenities others don’t have, your prices are comparable or better than the competition, and they’ll have the advantage of dealing with the OEM.
As a tool in a good salesperson’s hands, menu pricing can change the conversation away from sales price and build trust with the customer.
The bottom line: customers of every generation want to trust the people and companies they deal with. By making your service menu pricing consistent, making it easily available, and using it for more than just selling service, it will benefit your dealership and build trust.