Daytona Beach, Fla. - DMEautomotive (DMEa) released its second report on how (and how frequently) auto service customers want to be contacted by dealers/providers, and the resources they're turning to in their vehicle maintenance research. The findings show that while all customers are receptive to a diversity of communications platforms, under-35 customers are strikingly receptive - wanting not only more frequent communications, but also wanting communications across all six possible platforms, with 59% welcoming mobile app communication.
Multi-platform marketing has long been a buzzword, but this data reveals that for dealerships and service businesses, cross-channel communications are now a must, said Doug Van Sach, vice president of strategy & analytics at DMEa.
Findings are based on a national survey of 2,000+ U.S. vehicle owners conducted by DMEas Strategy & Analytics division. Findings included that more than a third of consumers are open to receiving communications from their automotive service providers via every platform. Not surprisingly, e-mail and mail are the top channels preferred, with more than 4 in 5 welcoming these methods of contact, and a solid majority wants communications via these channels at minimum every 2-3 months. It's critical to note that while consumers may be open to recorded calls and texts, businesses must be cautious when implementing these channels, given the rise in litigation and changes in the regulatory landscape.
While the percentages of those under 35 and over 35 desiring mail, e-mail and calls are on par, those under 35 are roughly 2.5 times more open to mobile app notifications and almost twice as likely to desire text messages. In addition, across each platform, the under-35 customer desires more frequent communications (more than once every 2-3 months).
Although mobile apps are an emerging technology without the near-universal adoption of e-mail or texting, 59% of those under 35 (and 35% of all customers) welcome mobile app communications from service providers. Those under 35 are roughly three times more likely to use mobile apps, use them daily, and have one from a dealer/service provider. And, with 6 in 10 of those under 35 using mobile apps at least every two days, and 3 in 5 of that segment welcoming service providers to reach them in this manner, mobile apps represent a powerful way to reach the next-generation servicer where they live: on smartphones and tablets. But only a small percentage of dealers/service providers now offer a mobile app.
The research also found that, while the owners manual, family/friends and service centers remain the top sources of vehicle maintenance info for both those over and under 35, those under 35 research harder, using every traditional and digital resource at higher rates than those over 35, with the exception of the owners manual. And the younger servicer is far more likely to use digital platforms: for instance, theyre 4-6 times more likely to turn to social networking sites, online video or blogs in their service info quest.
Most service providers outreach is focused on mail and e-mail, which the data shows remain imperative channels. But too many other disconnects remain, with customers wanting communications through channels that dealers/service providers are not addressing, said Van Sach. This is starkly true with the information-hungry, under-35 customer, who is more likely to research service using every available on- or offline resource, and wants communications across more channels. These all-platform consumers are trailblazing the behavior that other customer segments will likely and that service providers must ultimately follow.