Millennials are about to reach a new milestone: the largest living adult generation. If your service department isn’t targeting this demographic, you risk losing millennial customers to independent mechanics.
It’s important to be aware that millennials are more cost conscious than older generations give them credit for. In fact, 73 percent of millennials say they create a budget and stick to it. This dedication to budgeting can be challenging to the service drive, since 64 percent of millennials are surprised at the cost of vehicle maintenance. However, the fact that millennials aren’t spendthrifts doesn’t have to be bad news — consumers of all ages are willing to pay up to 16 percent more for a quality experience. To get more millennials coming back to your service drive (and telling their friends and family about your dealership), you have to prioritize customer service, and key control is a big part of that.
What Is a Quality Customer Experience?
Speed and efficiency are the top factors that contribute to a good experience. On the flip side, lack of trust significantly contributes to a negative experience. For a service department, building trust is especially important because millennials are more emotionally attached to their vehicles than any other generation — 40 percent have even named them.
Why Key Control Affects the Customer Experience
Key control plays a pivotal part of the customer experience since it affects speed, efficiency and trust alike. If you keep keys to customers’ vehicles in an insecure place, such as on a pegboard, without an effective way to track who has them and when, that’s a customer experience disaster waiting to happen. Ask yourself the following questions about the key control practices in your service department:
- How much time do you spend looking for lost keys?
- Do employees handle keys responsibly (e.g., never leaving them unattended or inside the unlocked car)?
- If an employee removes a key and drives a customer vehicle for non-work-related purposes, will you ever know about it?
- How easy would it be for someone to get hold of keys and steal a customer vehicle?
If you don’t treat millennials’ vehicles with care and respect, you’ll lose their trust and they’ll never return.
How Mismanaging Keys and Vehicles Damages Customer Trust
Not having the proper controls in place is inefficient, and you risk breaking the customer’s trust in your dealership. Imagine having to explain to a customer why she saw a service employee speeding by in the customer’s own car or why a thief was able to steal the keys to a customer's vehicle while it was in service and total it. These are real scenarios that happened because the dealerships involved didn’t have the proper key control practices in place. As a result, they lost trust not only with the customers whose vehicles were stolen but also with other customers who read about the incidents in the news.
If you can provide a quality customer experience built on trust and accountability, however, you can win over millennials as loyal customers — even if you charge more than the independent mechanic down the street.
To learn how to solve customer experience issues related to key control in the service department and beyond, download our white paper “Three Unexpected Ways Your Dealership Alienates Next-Generation Buyers.”