Big Opportunity for Dealer Service Lanes: Women Customers

Women car shoppers and service dept customers

SITUATION:
• Researchers at the Kel­logg School of Man­age­ment at North­west­ern Uni­ver­sity tested out auto repair body shops for price quotes and found out some­thing inter­est­ing for dealer ser­vice lanes – women are get­ting higher price quotes than men.

• Researchers had call cen­ter agents call auto repair shops across coun­try to ask about get­ting a radi­a­tor replaced on a 2013 Toy­ota Camry, which researchers deter­mined would be about $365.

• Shops were asked to quote price and on aver­age, women callers were quoted higher prices than male callers were.

• Women who called in and said they had no idea with the price ought to be were quoted higher prices than men who called in and said they had no idea what the price ought to be.

• It might also be about tak­ing advan­tage of poten­tial cus­tomers these repair shops con­sider not very well informed. Men and women con­sid­ered “poorly informed” – who didn’t know what the price quote would be – were get­ting price quotes much higher than call cen­ter researchers who called in and gave the expected price of $365.

SIGNIFICANCE:
• So the dis­crim­i­na­tion appears to be about gen­der and com­ing from “sta­tis­ti­cal discrimination.”

• This could a very bad idea for inde­pen­dent repair shops and a real oppor­tu­nity for dealer ser­vice departments.

• There’s a lot of evi­dence that women car shop­pers are clos­ing the deal more than men these days – they’re in charge of the check­book and are doing a lot more research on the inter­net before call­ing or vis­it­ing a shop.

• So, if this study gets a lot of media cov­er­age, which is hap­pen­ing, they’ve got the pub­lic per­cep­tion prob­lem of play­ing this game and the loss-of-business prob­lem of get­ting female con­sumers unhappy with them and telling their peers about it.

SOURCE: US News & World Report

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