To conclude our January study “Look Back at Covid/2020,” we asked consumers to describe their auto service experiences during the last year. Based off their responses, we’ve compiled 8 consumer insights we think all dealership and repair shop owners need to know to best respond to and strategize for phase two of the pandemic:
- Despite its drastic impact on driving habits, Covid-19 surprisingly did very little to slow down the frequency of maintenance visits: almost 8 out of 10 (77%) survey respondents reported that they took their vehicles in for service between March 2020 and December 2020.
- When asked which types of repair facilities they used most often, 86% of consumers said DIFM providers.
- During their visits, customers saw a variety of sanitation/PPE measures in place: 80% of businesses required customers and staff to wear masks, 58% set up glass or plexiglass barriers at their counters, and 42% required their staff to wipe down vehicles and keys after completing repairs.
- 60% of consumers who used DIFM providers still chose to wait inside the facility while their cars were being serviced.
- The most popular sanitation measures seen inside waiting rooms were increased social distancing (74%), wipes or hand sanitizers (70%), capacity limits (51%), and employees cleaning high touch areas (42%).
- 9 out of 10 respondents said they felt comfortable with the level of preventative sanitation at the facility they visited—but a quarter of those respondents also noted there was room for improvement.
- Vehicle pick-up/drop-off was the most desirable feature customers looked for when selecting an auto care facility, followed by contactless transactions, key drops, and remote payment systems.
- Of those who used DIFM providers most often, only 23% said they saw themselves attempting more DIY vehicle repairs in the future because of Covid-19.
The pandemic has not stopped car maintenance by any means, but it has altered, and in most cases heightened, the standard of customer service consumers expect to receive when they walk into a dealership or repair shop. Overall, they want business as usual when they visit their local repair facilities—just with thoughtful sanitation and safety measures in place.
Maddy Leddy is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Babcox Media, focusing on direct marketing, content creation, and social media. A Shaker Heights native, she received her B.A. in English from Boston College and her M.A. in English from the University of Oxford.