Auto Service World
News   October 19, 2016   by Steve Pawlett

More Consumers Turning To Professionals For Repairs



Compared to last year, the majority of automotive do-it-for-me (DIFM) consumers have shifted more of their vehicle maintenance and repairs to a professional, according to global information company The NPD Group’s Do-It-For-Me Consumer Report 2016. Convenience is the leading reason for the transition, followed by having the right tools for the job.

The preferred type of vehicle service professional — whether it is a dealership, quick lube, or repair shop — shifts and varies, depending primarily on vehicle age. Many consumers trade between these different service outlets during the life of their vehicle. For example, among DIFM consumers still under warranty, 16% will consider transitioning to a new outlet in the near future, while more than one-quarter are unsure about how they will handle their future service needs.

“This uncertainty represents an opportunity for service outlets to appeal to this consumer group, in an effort to capture their future service dollars,” said Nathan Shipley, director and automotive industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Achieving customer loyalty takes effort in this competitive service environment, but it all boils down to a matter of trust. Trust is critical, as it is the most important factor for consumers when determining where to take their vehicle for service.”

Consumer preference is highest for car dealerships when it comes to simple jobs such as changing oil, fluids, or wiper blades, and advanced jobs such as replacing starters, brake pads, or spark plugs; but consideration steadily declines as the vehicle ages. Quick lubes have the highest consideration for simple jobs during the post-warranty period beginning after three years, while independent/local repair shops lead for advanced maintenance among vehicles eight years and older. For complex jobs such as full engine, transmission, or driveshaft repairs, dealerships maintain the highest consideration until the vehicle is 16 years and older.

“Service providers should focus on inspiring trust and communicating their knowledgeable staff, fair pricing, promotions, and availability of services to build a returning customer base. Encouraging satisfied customers to review their service experience online is also important, seeing as many consumers conduct research via search engine reviews and consumer feedback websites prior to selecting a service provider,” said Shipley.