Big Opportunity for Dealer Service Lanes: Women 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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