On Dec. 19, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) hosted a webinar titled “Transparency & Trust: A Guide to Getting Customers and Keeping Them,” presented by Jill Trotta, vice president of industry advocacy and sales for RepairPal.
Trotta, who boasts 25 years of industry experience, said the goal of the webinar was to share how RepairPal gains insight into consumer behavior and needs from its 5 million monthly website visitors as well as how shops can apply this information.
ASA Vice President Tony Molla hosted the webinar. He welcomed attendees and introduced Trotta, who defined her key objectives as providing information on how to overcome price-sensitive customers, delivering data about price transparency and consumer behavior, and teaching about tools to work with the modern auto care consumer.
“RepairPal spends a significant amount of time trying to understand consumers who have changed more in the past five years than in previous decades,” Trotta explained. “Today’s consumer is tech savvy and uses mobile devices. They are better-educated and research prices online. They also value instant gratification.”
When consumers were asked in 2017 if they felt they were charged a fair price for their last automotive repair, only 42 percent said yes, while 58 percent answered in the negative. This was a 6 percent increase in dissatisfaction from 52 percent in 2014.
Trotta pointed out, “The majority didn’t feel like they got a fair deal.”
Of the consumers who believed they were charged a fair price, 31 percent determined this based on comparisons to other shops; 31 percent reported a gut feeling; and 28 percent based their opinion on online research. When those who were unsatisfied with the price explained the reason, 36 percent reported that the issue was not resolved; 29 percent did online research; 18 percent compared to other shops; and 17 percent felt they received poor value.
While 85 percent of consumers check prices, only 45 percent check them before authorizing the repair.
Based on research of the 40 percent that check prices after authorization, Trotta shared, “For every 26 unhappy consumers, only one will complain directly to you. Most won’t call you and tell you, but they will call your competition, tell their friends or post reviews. Very few will actually call and tell you. We all know that retaining your customers is critical to the future success of your business.”