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59% Of Under-35 Service Customers Want Communications Via Mobile Apps

New research from Daytona Beach, FL-based DME Automotive (DME), an automotive marketing firm, finds show that — while all auto service customers are receptive to a diversity of communications platforms — under-35 customers are strikingly receptive, wanting not only more frequent communications, but also wanting communications across all possible platforms, with 59 percent welcoming mobile application communication.

Doug Van Sach, vice president of strategy and analytics at DME, said the data reveals that, for dealerships and service businesses, cross-channel communications are now a must. “Reaching younger customers is a whole new ballgame,” Van Sach explained. “They’re thirsting for communication, prefer it across many platforms, and are researching vehicle maintenance in many new digital places.”

DME’s national survey of 2,000-plus U.S. vehicle owners gauged how people want to receive communications from their service providers and how often, and was analyzed by customer age. Click here for a detailed breakdown of customers’ preferred channel and frequency of communication.

Over a third of consumers indicated that they are open to receiving communications from their automotive service providers via every platform. Not surprisingly, email and mail were the top channels preferred with more than four in five welcoming these methods of contact, and a solid majority wants communications via these channels at minimum every two months to three months. DME says it’s critical to note that, while consumers may be open to recorded calls and texts, businesses must be cautious when implementing these channels, given the rise in litigation and changes in the regulatory landscape.

While the percentages of those under 35 and over 35 desiring mail, email and calls are on par, those under 35 are roughly 2.5 times more open to mobile app notifications and almost twice as likely to desire text messages. In addition, across each platform, the under-35 customer desires more frequent communications (more than once every two months to three months).

Although mobile apps are an emerging technology without the near-universal adoption of email or texting, 59 percent of those under 35 — and 35 percent of all customers — welcome mobile app communications from service providers.

Those under 35 are roughly three times more likely to use mobile apps, use them daily, and have one from a dealer/service provider. And, with six in 10 of those under 35 using mobile apps at least every two days — and three in five welcoming service providers to reach them in this manner — DME contends that mobile apps represent a uniquely powerful way to reach the next-generation servicer where they live: on smartphones and tablets.

The survey also captured the resources service customers are using in their auto service research process. Click here for a breakdown of these sources.

While the owner’s manual, family and friends, and service centers were the top sources of vehicle maintenance information for both those over and under 35, those under 35 research harder, using every traditional and digital resource at higher rates than those over 35 … with the exception of the owner’s manual. And the younger servicer is far more likely to use digital platforms. For instance, they are four to six times more likely to turn to social networking sites, online videos or blogs in their service information quest.

“Most service providers’ outreach is focused on mail and email, which the data shows remain imperative channels. But too many other disconnects remain, with customers wanting communication through channels that dealers/service providers are not addressing,” Van Sach said. “This is starkly true with the information-hungry, under-35 customer, who is more likely to research service using every available on- or offline resource, and wants communications across more channels. These all-platform consumers are trailblazing the behavior that other customer segments will likely — and that service providers must — ultimately follow.”

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