There’s a widely held belief that women aren’t treated fairly when it comes to vehicle repairs, and there’s some evidence to support that assumption. For instance, a recent study regarding car repairs from Northwestern Kellogg shows that “women are quoted higher prices than men when callers signal that they are uninformed about market prices.” Another survey from AutoMD found that women would rather go to the dentist than the repair shop. Yikes.
If your shop is the exception, that’s great! There are plenty of businesses that treat all their customers equally, but even those shops are fighting against the long list of negative experiences from their current and potential customers. The first step is acknowledging that this is a problem in the industry, and keeping that in mind when you interact with female customers. And there’s plenty more you can do too, including:
In that same survey from AutoMD, 86 percent of female respondents said they’d like the car repair experience to be more transparent. The key to that is information. Give your female customers plenty of it. Don’t just list off the repairs. Explain exactly what’s wrong, what’s broken or worn, and how that can affect the overall health of their car. Show them the issue if possible and take the time to explain why exactly it matters and what could happen if it isn’t fixed.
Transparency is vital in combatting previous negative experiences, but it’s important for another reason, too: Google. After all, what do you do when you need to know something about a subject you’re not an expert in? Chances are, you’ll do a Web search about that persistent cough or weird new pain. You want to know as much as you can about your health because it’s important to you, but you don’t have the required training to diagnose yourself. Your customers are doing the same thing with their car repairs, and they’re probably ending up at repair estimators. So for starters, provide accurate estimates, that’s a no-brainer. If there are complications that make the repair more expensive, let them know. That way, there won’t be a disconnect if they do some research or call around to your competitors.
Consider all Aspects of the Experience
Think about how the overall experience at your shop feels to women from start to finish. Is the initial call straightforward and are repairs easy to schedule? If they’re already dreading this call, any hiccups can set you off on the wrong foot. Emphasize great customer service from the beginning.
Once they’ve scheduled a repair, will they feel alienated at all during the process? If they’re feeling out of their element, any unexpected delays can be even more annoying. Set realistic expectations from the start and provide honest updates if there are delays or if added costs creep in. For those who wait in your shop, is your guest area clean? How about kid-friendly? Do you have a variety of reading materials? What’s playing on TV? Every little detail is an opportunity.
When the job is finished, keep the flow of information going. Go over the bill together and reiterate that everything you talked about is accounted for – and show them there’s nothing extra. It wouldn’t hurt to even show them the repairs or the damaged part you replaced, if they’re accessible. Provide a great customer experience to the very end.
Incorporate it into Training
General customer service skills should be a part of your tech’s training, but don’t forget to talk about great service for women specifically. Go over the tips provided here and emphasize that every interaction with your female customers should be straightforward, and that you expect honesty from your employees at all times. One idea is to single out someone who you know is doing a great job in this area, and asking them to give the team some pointers.
That extra emphasis in training is important, because when you provide great customer service and transparency from the start to the very end, you’ll stand out as a positive experience among the many negatives. And that means you’ll be the first shop that comes to mind the next time your female customers need repairs.
Provide great repairs to those customers by choosing the best equipment. Our free Lift Buyer’s Guide can help.