Customer trends in the service lane - Digital Air Strike

Customer trends in the service lane

Customer trends in the service lane

A look at Digital Air Strike and Cox Automotive surveys on customer service.

Digital adoption

Dealership marketing firm Digital Air Strike released its 9th annual Automotive Customer Experience Trends Study, which gauges how technology influences customers when they make purchasing decisions and chose dealerships for vehicle service. Here are some study highlights.
Customers who select a dealership for service work based solely on online searches and reviews:
2021 67%
2020 46%
Service customers who said online review sites helped in their dealership selection process 87%
Service customers who research a few days or more before selecting a dealership 51%
Sites customers use to research dealerships:
Google 60%
Kelley Blue Book 17% 17%
CarGurus 17%
Autotrader 13%
Facebook 6%
Edmunds 6%
Yelp 4%
After you brought your in for service, did the dealership ask you to write an online review of your experience?
No 71%
Yes 29%
Was that review positive or negative?
Positive 88%
Negative 12%
How helpful were review sites in your dealership selection?
Helpful 58%
Not helpful 42%
Service customers who say a 4- or 5-start rating influences which dealership they choose 41%
Service customers who said social media ads were helpful 60%


Consumer sentiment

Cox Automotive released its 2021 Service Industry Study, which polled 2,500 consumers who had at least 1 service visit in the past 12 months. Here are some study highlights.
Average number of service visits per year:
2021 2.3
2018 2.8
2021 share of service visits:
Dealerships 34%
General repair/service station 26%
Quick lube 11%
Tire store/repair chain 11%
Retail 6%
Specialist 4%
Body shop 3%
Mobile service 3%
Other 2%
Reasons consumers prefer dealership:
They know my vehicle 55%
Prior experience 46%
Location 41%
They know me 33%
Top reasons for not returning to the dealership for service: 2021 2018 2015
Not a convenient location 1 2 5
Total cost not reasonable 2 1 1
They will overcharge 3 3 2
Unreasonable labor charges 4 4 3
Unreasonable parts charges 5 5 4


Dealership discouragement

Cox also surveyed 529 dealers with decision-making authority over fixed ops. These are their top service operation frustrations.
Parts delays from manufacturers 58%
Finding, hiring right technician 45%
Dealers who say their service department is not fully staffed 57%
Dealers who expect labor shortages to continue or worsen 80%
Dealers who report an increase in service staff turnover since before COVID-19 29%
Top reasons for staff turnover:
Employee wants to do something else or not work at all 43%
Employee leaves for better-paying job 42%
Top roles dealerships plan to grow:
Service technician 60%
New-vehicle sales associate 54%
Used-vehicle sales associate 48%
Service adviser 38%
BDC specialist 33%
Most important skills for technicians:
Mechanical 91%
Electrical 58%
Computer 25%
Customer service 9%

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