During this pandemic, many dealers introduced measures to ensure vehicle service is more convenient and fits the current lifestyle of their customers. This, of course, comes at a cost. Dealerships have to pay porters or drivers to go to the customer's house, pick up their vehicle, return to the dealership to perform the service, then return it to the customer. What if the labor cost to accomplish this service exceeds the profit generated from it?
Viewpoints are split on the subject. Some auto industry veterans feel that perhaps dealerships should only advertise this service to a segmented audience, offering service pickup and delivery to those vehicle owners who have scheduled service that meets revenue thresholds. And, according to a research study published in Automotive News, when it comes to different age groups, there is a considerable difference as far as those who want pick-up and delivery services or mobile repairs performed at their home or workplace.
As the customer's age increases, the percentage who want pickup and delivery goes from 22% (18-34) down to 7% (55+) when there is a fee involved. Even when it is offered by the dealership for FREE, there is a huge difference as to desire.
If your dealership offers pick-up and delivery, it may be helpful to target your customers differently by age. Be sure to reinforce the value of your dealership and reassure customers that they will be well taken care of. And pay attention to which type of service makes them comfortable. But also take a look at if it is profitable and makes sense to do the service remotely.
It can be a tough call when all you want is to give the best service possible to your customers, but it simply isn’t profitable. It can help to stress the safety initiatives your dealership has instituted so your customers can feel better about visiting in person. Consider making a video of these to send to customers – even include happy customer testimonials from service customers, if you can get them!
Dealerships should also be aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently stated that there is no significant risk of catching the coronavirus from a surface or object. The CDC clarified its position in a guidance update that states that people generally contract COVID-19 through direct contact with a sick person, or from airborne transmission. Countless dealerships have invested heavily in vehicle disinfection upon service completion. We can’t have regrets about following those CDC guidelines – there was just not enough science to refute those early recommendations.
The question is, what do we do about it now? How long does it take for the average consumer to learn about the CDC’s new position? Similar to the early weeks of the pandemic, we can expect confusion as the pandemic subsides. It’s going to take a while for consumers to understand how the guidelines have changed, and whether it’s more beneficial to act out of an abundance of caution. In short, inform customers and let them decide.
If there is a greater opportunity that outweighs the costs associated with pick-up and delivery, then offer that service right up front. Make intelligent decisions on a case-by-case basis to best utilize your resources to achieve growth, profitability, and happy loyal customers who keep coming back.