The Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s has released “The Canadian Automotive Service Sector Consumer Behaviour Study,” revealing that one out of three participants rely on their vehicle to earn a living.
In addition, the average daily commute is estimated to be 39 minutes for Canadians across the country.
The report was contracted to J.D. Power and Associates by AIA Canada. Designed to benefit all AIA member companies, the overall goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of consumer attitudes and habits at the shop level.
“Our vehicle fleet in Canada is growing in size and aging”, states AIA Canada president Marc Brazeau. “At an average age of 8.5 years, it is surprising to find out through the Canadian Automotive Service Sector Consumer Behavior Study that as vehicles age, there is a significant decline in the frequency of service visits as well as a significant increase in the amount spent per visit. The industry would benefit from a concerted effort to promote the benefits of regular maintenance, as vehicles get older. Frequent visits with a lower price tag result in happier customers, compared to those who come in less frequently and face a high repair bill.”
The study found that 56 percent of all last service occasions were prompted due to routine maintenance. In addition, six percent of service occasions were, “Service provider scheduled maintenance” and 13 percent were, “Tire replacement/seasonal change”.
That being said, it is safe to say that three quarters of vehicle service occasions are routine, or seasonal, therefore predictive in nature. Contrary to previous belief, Canadian drivers regard the maintenance of their vehicles with importance. These figures are a credit to the success of programs such as the industry-led campaign, Be Car Care Aware. However, an exception may be younger drivers (aged 18 to 24), where only 50 percent cited routine maintenance as the reason for their last service occasion. The study suggests an educational campaign targeted to younger drivers might be beneficial.
“Automotive Service Providers (ASPs) should also take note of the communication preference of their customers”, said Dave Fifield of Wakefield Canada and Chairman of the AIA Market Research Task Force. Nearly 4 out of 10 (37%) auto owners demonstrated a preference for their ASP to communicate with them via email – not far behind those who prefer phone calls (46%) and well ahead of those preferring traditional mail (12%). In addition, texting and social media have now become an option for ASPs when communicating to their customers. A number of participants aged 39 and under – many of whom will be service customers for many years to come – indicated text messaging as their preferred means of communications.
Customers appreciated a vehicle inspection during their service visit – two-thirds believed their vehicles are being inspected during the service occasion, and in those instances, customers cited a significantly more satisfying visit. They also indicated a higher level of forward intended loyalty (70 percent) and advocacy to the automotive service brand. Indications are that conducting an inspection – either a walk-around or multi-point inspection – can not only boost overall service satisfaction, but encourage the customer’s intention to recommend a shop.
AIA is giving its members access to the full report at no cost in order to help them understand the benefits of promoting aftermarket repair and maintenance. The report may also be purchased by non-members for $1500. Knowing a customer’s vehicle maintenance behavior can help the aftermarket industry use the proper strategies to educate the consumers on how to maintain their vehicle, which can result in a better environment and can also contribute to safer, more reliable vehicles for the driving public.
AIA members can download a copy of the full report from the AIA website www.aiacanada.ca.