Defining a target market is essential to any business. This doesn’t mean that a company can only service one market. This is virtually impossible in the automotive repair business. Even shops that specialize in a specific make of vehicle will find that there are many different types of customers within that market. The important thing is to identify and know the markets serviced in order to do the best job possible. Customers purchase benefits. A vehicle owner doesn’t have their automobile taken care of for the sake of the vehicle. Their vehicle provides one or more specific values in their life and this is what they’re seeking. A clearly defined target market will support identifying the value sought by customers. The list of values customers equate to having their vehicles serviced is probably endless. The following list is not intended to be all inclusive but is meant to provide examples of the relationship between a vehicle owner’s perception of value and the corresponding focus of service:
- Safety and Reliability – Vehicle owners can place their highest priority on safety and reliability. With this primary focus dependability in parts and service is foremost in the customer’s mind.
- Image and Prestige – A customer may view their vehicle as an important element in the perception of their stature. In delivering service – extra care must be given to appearance and assuring that the vehicle is well tuned and in tip top mechanical condition.
- Utility – Some vehicle owners rely on their cars for work or recreation. In this case their concern is that the vehicle be able to perform the functions necessary to these activities.
- Performance – Some vehicles are meant to be performance cars while others are modified or upgraded for performance reasons. In either event the owner is competitive in nature and seeks the ability to excel.
- Comfort and Drivability – A vehicle owner may be most concerned with a smooth comfortable driving experience. With this being the primary focus the emphasis is on the aspects of vehicle maintenance that affect the way the customer feels while driving the automobile.
- Convenience – In today’s fast paced world some vehicle owners are primarily concerned with ease in transacting business with the service provider. The quicker and easier it is to drop the vehicle off and pick it up will be the most important factor in perceived value.