One of the most important components of marketing mix is Place – or from the perspective of the customer Convenience. All other factors being equal this can be the determining factor in whether or not business is won. In evaluating and selecting any type of service – location and convenience are at the top of list when selecting a provider. Of course the physical distance between a person’s home or place of employment are factors in determining convenience. But many shops today are coming up with innovative ways to make distance a non-factor. In fact they’re turning it into an opportunity and offering benefits that turn this challenge into a competitive advantage. Following are ways to provide convenience and bring auto repair services closer to the consumer:
- Proximity to Home or Work are Factors – The location of the auto repair shop in relation to the customer’s residence or place of employment is always a factor in the customer decision making process when choosing an auto repair service provider. Convenience is a big part of the decision.
- Drop off and Pick up are a Crucial Part of Service – The time spent exchanging the vehicle with the shop can be a big impact on the customer or a small one. Recognizing this as an area in which benefits can be provided to enhance service offerings – many auto repair shops offer alternatives to lessen the effect on the customer.
- Shuttle Service Reduces Customer Impact – Providing shuttle service at vehicle drop off or pickup can reduce the negative impact on the customer. This eliminates the need for them to worry about getting their car to and from the shop.
- Loaner Cars Ease Vehicle Drop Off and Pickup – Providing the customer with a vehicle to use while theirs is in the shop can significantly reduce the amount of time spent by the customer at vehicle exchange. They can drop their car off and drive away in another.
- Valet Service Reduces Effort for Commuters – To further expand the value of loaner vehicles some shops are providing valet service. That is they drop the loaner vehicle off to the customer and drive the customer car back to the shop to be serviced. When the work is complete they drive the car back to the customer and return to the shop in the loaner vehicle. This makes the vehicle exchange process very simple for the customer.
- Pick Up & Delivery Service Minimizes Time for the Customer – Some auto repair shops are now providing pickup and delivery service meaning that they go to the customer’s home or place of business – pick up the vehicle – drive it back to the shop – perform the repairs – then return the car to the customer. This greatly simplifies the vehicle exchange process for the customer.