- Invest in search engine optimization and marketing (SEO & SEM) for accessory-related searches. You need to be on the first page for unbranded searches, and at the very top of the page for branded searches.
- Assess your “connect” and “close” capabilities for accessories. How does your site’s build-your-own functionality compare to those in the aftermarket? Your e-commerce capabilities?
- Join the dialogue on enthusiast websites, which, right now, is relatively one-sided. As the OEM, you have the credibility and the unmatched product knowledge to combat misconceptions and redirect the conversation.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Hardly a blog goes by where we don’t reference Digital Service Customers or “DSCs”; we coined this term a couple of years ago when investigating how service customers use the internet. But what about accessories customers? SEMA’s 2012 Segmentation Study highlighted heavy use of web-based research among these folks:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Over the last few months, Carlisle & Company has been talking to Heavy Equipment end-customers, both farmers and construction equipment managers across the US and Canada, to learn how they make their service provider and parts sourcing decisions. The 2013 NAPB will offer deep dives into topics such as online parts sourcing trends, counter personnel impact, and parts availability trends and tools. Right now, the subject is mobile service – a key topic that stands out in the “What makes a great dealer?” category. Why does it matter? Because time is money and convenience is king, especially during harvest season. Put yourself in your customer’s boots: Try loading a 10-ton piece of broken equipment onto a trailer. You take it to the dealer, get one of those elusive same-day appointments, wait for the repair to be finished, and then load the equipment back onto the truck before heading home. No wonder customers consider this a hassle, especially when every minute that the equipment is not running is costing $$$. But wait, there’s more. If the dealer offers mobile service, the trucks may be inadequately stocked, resulting, again, with the customer paying a penalty. Dealers charge travel time to come out and look at the problem, to go back to get the right parts, and return to make the repair… with a separate charge if the customer has an additional piece of equipment with a problem. So what do customers do? They look for convenient alternatives. “I’d rather use an independent guy who can come anytime I need him.” “I have a guy come out and work right on the farm.” This guy becomes their go-to guy. And who do you call next time your equipment is down? Your guy. My guy. Bottom Line: Great mobile service is not a “nice-to-have”. In fact, lack thereof is a “dissatisfier” that drives customers to other service providers – and probably not just for that one repair. If you want to learn more about Carlisle & Company’s research on Heavy Equipment end-customers, contact Gene Metheny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-324-4395.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Audi dealer gave me a brand new S4 with 39 miles as my loaner. I love the shit out of this car. This was their plan…I immediately took a screenshot and sent it to a fellow Carlisle consultant: “Look! Evidence of our research in the wild!” In a recent sales customer retention study we discovered that, for one OEM, the sixth biggest lift in retention came from "service loaner vehicles that are the same make". Dealers using this practice enjoyed a 6.5 percentage point sales retention increase over dealers who used other make loaners. This makes sense, right? Loan me a newer vehicle than the one I am driving and I might fall in love. Look at this set of Facebook posts to see your customer's, and their friends', reaction to getting an Audi service loaner from the Audi store. Within hours, there were over 20 “likes” from friends. This stuff works. So, do all dealers loan their own make to service customers? Nope. We found that for one brand, better than a third of their dealers loaned other makes rather than their own. Why? They said:
- I just turned everything over to Enterprise and they don't run my make in their inventory.
- Loaning my make is too expensive; so, I loan cheaper makes.
- My "insert other brand here" store is struggling; so, I put those into my loaner fleet.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Top-box satisfaction with the most recent dealer service experience increased by 6 percentage points. This sort of improvement is critical for keeping service customers in-channel (e.g., making sure customers stay, broadly, in the dealer channel). Unfortunately, chains picked up the most with top-box service satisfaction increasing from 42% in 2012 to 51% in 2013. It is easier for the chains to implement strategy because they do not have “independent” dealers.
Friday, January 4, 2013
David P. Carlisle(http://ccsparethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/12/seinfield-at-your-local-dealer-my.html) that helps explain the “why” … why we, Carlisle & Company, need to focus on the transaction itself, and not just the processes supporting it (i.e., supply chain, sales, marketing, T&Cs, etc. … all that stuff we do). As expected, just before Christmas I received a notification from GM asking me to rate my Soup Nazi dealer experience. I told the truth and said that it was OK to send the survey to my dealer – I had already made up my mind not to go there anymore. I said that I had not received a trusting experience and would not recommend anybody go there. Well, a week later at 7 a.m., Steve, my very sensible Chevy dealer service manager, called me at home. He said he woke up at 5 a.m., went online, and was devastated to find my service survey … he knew me to be a long-time faithful customer. He was genuinely distressed and contrite as he asked me what had happened. I told him the story I related in the Soup Nazi blog. Our conversation reminded me of a time when my 70-year-old mother asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was a consultant. She replied, “No, really, I mean, really, what do you do?” We never connected that day. I never connected with my Chevy service manager either.
The service advisor told me he was charging $95 to check the “check engine light” code. I told this to Steve and said I could buy a device for $24 to do this with my cell phone. He explained the rationale behind the $95 charge. It made no sense to me. We did not connect. I told Steve that the service advisor called me and said my air filter was dirty and that he could replace it for $140. I told him that I bought an ACDelco replacement filter on the web for $38.59. Steve said his price for the filter was $75. I told Steve that his parts department was double netting the price and selling them to service for $75, and that service was nearly double-netting. We simply did not connect on this.
- The MyGuy website is up, running, and completely free.
- It speaks directly to Service Managers and Service Advisors, not down to them.
- It will leverage everything we have researched and what we know in this space – this is considerable.
- Although it targets only service operations, it is a shotgun blast that anybody in the service arena can use. Chains and IRFs, too. I’m OK with this.
- It explains what customers want, what to do, what the expected outcomes will be, and couples all this with quantitative research and best practices.
- It will use a lot of short videos – of customers, of non-dealer operators, and of best-practice dealers.
- It will be updated weekly.
- The only thing for sale on the MyGuy website will be MyGuy certification … and we aren’t pushing this very hard. Certification is like a church – you have to believe in God before you buy a cathedral.