IRVINE, Calif. –– By providing price transparency to consumers about dealership service departments, Kelley Blue Book continues to deliver positive results from its Featured Auto Repair Center pilot to-date, proving the power of connecting consumers to trustworthy recommendations related to servicing and maintaining automobiles throughout vehicle ownership. Kelley Blue Book’s Featured Auto Repair Center, which is part of Auto Repair Guide on the company's website, advises vehicle owners on repair pricing and other service-related information in three main categories – recalls, maintenance and repairs – and has driven new and existing customers to schedule dealership service appointments directly online.
As fixed operations accounts for a larger share of dealership revenue, it is more important than ever to engage with consumers in a transparent, easy-to-understand way to drive more customers to the service department.
Since the pilot launched in September 2019, Featured Auto Repair Center has seen significant interest from its audience, showcasing the strongest success in the recall segment. In fact, the tool has received an impressive 1.7 million unique visitors per month on average and is generating continuous month-over-month growth. This includes more than 46,000 consumers clicking on the service request button and more than 50% of customers that booked appointments were new to the dealership. Additionally, the tool has seen consumers research more than 85,000 vehicles for recalls with nearly 25% completing the recall after confirming the open recall.
These figures further demonstrate consumers’ reliance and the value placed on trusted third-party resources for advice when it comes to the servicing of vehicles. By increasing the flow of information and minimizing dealership skepticism through increased price transparency, Featured Auto Repair Center provides consumers with increased confidence that prices paid for vehicle service work are fair.
“As fixed operations accounts for a larger share of dealership revenue, it is more important than ever to engage with consumers in a transparent, easy-to-understand way to drive more customers to the service department,” said Jim Roche, vice president at Cox Automotive. “Without a trusted source, consumers lack necessary information like needed services and pricing, which they use to decide where they will service their vehicle. Through Featured Auto Repair Center, dealerships have the unique opportunity to show unconvinced customers the benefits of obtaining high quality and reasonably priced service from dealerships.”
Since its initial launch, Featured Auto Repair Center has introduced new features including trim selection to increase reliability of repair prices across repair and maintenance inquiries, regional repair pricing, capability to research recalls with a license plate number, and more.
“Dealers are in the repeat and referral business, and Kelley Blue Book’s Featured Auto Repair Center is going to ensure that dealerships are viewed as more trustworthy by promoting price transparency,” said Tully Williams, fixed operations director at The Niello Company. “Response to the program so far has been massive – we’re very impressed.”
The need for a transparent third-party tool that eases the information gap between consumers and dealers inspired Cox Automotive’s Jim Roche to add a chapter to his recent book, “Fast Break: Creating a Customer-Centric Operating Philosophy for Automotive Service.” This book guides dealers on how to increase their service market share and achieve profitable growth by focusing on a customer-centric philosophy. In today’s digital age, this is synonymous with creating a trustworthy relationship by showcasing transparency in prices and online information.