Digital Strategies to Win Today’s Drivers

What plans do you have in place to ensure that you are able to attract and retain customers in a digital format?  If you’re missing out on a digital strategy for the future of your business, you might be missing out on a huge opportunity for future growth.  The 2016 Global Mobile Consumer Survey by Deloitte highlighted very interesting observations about how smart phones are becoming a more and more ubiquitous part of everyday life.  

Take for example the fact that US smartphone users are checking their phones collectively more than 9 billion times each day.  The average American checks their phone an average of 47 times each day, and those in the 18-24 year old range are looking at them a staggering 82 times.  Our phones are continuing the change the ways we live our lives and are paving the way for completely new markets.  

Smartphone Revolution

Consumers today are using their mobile phones for social media, engaging with their favorite brands, consuming news and content, and purchasing products.  For many users, they rely on their phones to help them solve their problems in the moment.  With so many individuals relying on their smart phones, now is the perfect time for companies to join the movement and engage with their customers digitally.  

Takeaways for Winning Digitally

For the automotive aftermarket, there are many exciting opportunities for service providers to win with digital communication.  A recent survey by Google of thousands of drivers found three key takeaways for a winning digital strategy:

  1. Drivers are Yours to Win There is no clear differentiation between service chains in drivers’ minds. Even committed drivers can be swayed.
  2. Stand out in digital Drivers do their research online before making a choice about service providers. Be where they are, using good information and even video to establish trust.
  3. Connect across mobile devices In an industry with no clear winners, it’s critical to be there when drivers are stranded or researching service recommendations.

Google has over 70,000,000 monthly aftermarket service searches on their website alone, indicating a massive number of customers that use digital for car care.  Almost half of drivers use a computer or their phone when deciding where to take their vehicle for service.  The first step for customers is looking up nearby locations and reading reviews for credibility and quality.

Using Digital for Trust

After they’ve come into your shop and received a recommendation for service, most drivers want to verify what you’re telling them.  62% of drivers research the recommendation of your service technicians to double check your advice.      

One clear opportunity to establish trust with your customers is to direct them to external resources to help them verify that the recommendations you are providing them are worth the investment.  

Maintenance Is a Stepping Stone…

73% would return to a service center they visited for preventative maintenance for future large repairs.  Service providers who go above and beyond to bring their customers in for regular maintenance will be highly likely to win their business when they need more expensive repairs.  Having a plan in place to continue to retain these customers is critical to ensuring a long term revenue stream. 

Since our world is becoming “ more and more digital… Enough with sending me something in the mail that I’m just going to throw away (thanks for the reminder, but what a waste of paper).

I would like reminders for service. I have a lot going on with my kids, so sometimes I forget to do basic things like an oil change.

It would be great to have a way to track my service myself – and be able to access it from anywhere.

…But Few Shops Engage Digitally

Though customers indicate that maintenance plays a large role in determing which shop will win their trust for larger repairs, less than 2% of customers report getting digital reminders.  An easy way to drive these customers back to you is by making their lives to be easier and engaging with them in a manner they use regularly.

Catastrophic Failure

Another way to use digital to win customers is by providing them help when they need you the most.  When a customer is stranded on the side of the road, most immediately turn to their mobile phone for help.  Being there for a customer in their moment of need is an easy way to gain a customer for life.

Opportunities For The Future

A digital strategy isn’t just a nice-to-have option any more, its a must-have.  Having a strategy in place to capture digitally through their mobile phones will help you stand above the competition in your customers’ eyes.  Huge opportunities away those that get involved in digitial early.  As cars become more and more connected, repair shops are going to have increasing options with how they engage with customers.  The market for automotive Internet of Things products and services is taking shape as consumers become more open to the promise of a host of interconnected devices. 75% of drivers in 2016 (up from 68% in 2015) were interested in IOT applications to help them better manage their vehicles.  

So start now and use digital to drive more business to your shop and retain your customers.  Using digital communication will help you to sell more maintenance and service in the long run.