Many vehicle service customers would rather go to the dentist, survey shows

service customerMost dealerships are trying harder than ever to take care of their service customers, but that doesn’t mean consumer opinions about how dealerships and mechanics/technicians service their vehicles are changing quickly.

In fact, 85 percent of customers rate getting their car serviced right up there with going to the dentist, and many women would actually prefer going to the dentist, according to the website AutoMD.

The survey was conducted in March and April of this year, with more than 2,400 online respondents answering questions about their service and repair experiences.

“We know that there are excellent repair shops and service centers in every city in the U.S., but, as this study shows, a persistent perception problem plagues the industry: Consumers simply don’t trust that they are paying an appropriate price for a repair and their view of the whole experience is, generally, not a positive one,” said Brian Hafer, vice president of marketing for AutoMD.com.

While women have a more negative view of the repair shop/service center experience than men do, across the board consumers say a more transparent process would improve the experience, according to the AutoMD survey. Consumers say that not knowing what a repair should cost is the biggest challenge in the process and that they want real “apples-to-apples” repair job quotes.

Among the major findings of the AutoMD survey are:

About 83 percent of those surveyed said they have “felt” overcharged for vehicle service at the repair shop or dealership, a number that has edged downward but has remained stubbornly high over the past four years: This year’s percentage compares with 85 percent in 2012 and 88 percent in 2010.

 A whopping 86 percent said that the repair experience ought to be more transparent.

Overall, 84 percent said that getting comparable repair price quotes, available for most goods online, is either “important” or a “must have” in the auto-repair process. And 91 percent said knowing the specific part to be used – and its price – was either “important” or a “must have.”

Almost two-thirds, 65 percent, said they have looked at reviews before going to a repair shop/service center, with women at 73 percent considerably more likely to do so than men at 64 percent.

There is opportunity for dealerships in the survey results, according to Hafer of AutoMD:

“Consumers are going online to check price quotes and repair shop reviews and are craving actual job quotes. So, for shops that are pricing fairly, offering real quotes and keeping up a good digital presence, there is a real chance to improve perception – and, with it, their business.”

– Mark Macesich

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