Don’t Neglect the Stay-at-Home Parent

Today’s Dealership should really consider the needs of the stay-at-home parent with small children. Are you missing this opportunity? We need to ask ourselves, do we provide an inviting environment for not only the parent, but also the children? If we think about it, bringing children, much less small children, to a dealership’s service department and asking them to wait for hours is nothing short of being tremendously stressful. This stress is not just felt by the parent, but also any other guests that are waiting. Most dealerships offer the standard paper and crayons and as much as this is appreciated, in reality, it can only occupy the typical two-year-old for at most five minutes.

While most businesses put no thought into the convenience factor for this group of customers, the statistics from The Huffington Post show that nationally there are 10,173,786 stay-at-home moms and 1,903,091 stay-at-home dads.

The standard solution in our industry is to offer a shuttle ride or provide a loaner – rental vehicle; keep in mind that both of these later options require the moving of a car seat, which is never an easy task.

What typically happens is these customers don’t come to the dealership during the week with their children. They wait until the weekend to either bring their vehicle in without the children, or have their spouse take care of the visit.

Ask these questions about your dealership’s Saturday options:

  • How convenient are your Saturday service hours and what type of service options do you offer?
  • Do you offer appointment options, walks-ins, or both?
  • Are you staffed appropriately so your dealership can provide more than just maintenance services on Saturday?

Do you think you are losing some of these customers?

There are several solutions to consider. One of the more cost-saving solutions is to offer pickup and delivery for these customers. This will not only offer more convenience for a stay-at-home parent, but will allow the dealership staff more time with the vehicle for any additional service recommendations, instead of the current hurry-up-and-get-it-done-before-the- children-are-bored situation.

Another solution is to take a look at some of our fast food businesses.  They offer children’s play areas, educational centers (computer centers) and entertainment centers with televisions and game stations. All of these child-focused areas should be located in a different area other than the regular customer waiting area. These areas will not only provide a better solution for our service customers with small children, but the sales department will benefit from this by allowing the sales customers children to be entertained during the buying experience, as well. Remember, if the children enjoy the visit and look forward to returning to your dealership, then the parents will definitely enjoy coming to the dealership. Wouldn’t this benefit all involved?

My family recently visited a jewelry store that had added a small play area in one corner of their store. To our delight our two year-old was not only entertained the entire visit as we received service, but did not want to leave when it was time.
Could this idea actually allow parents to spend more time in your store and possibly take care of additional needed services or maybe even browse the showroom floor for an impulse buy?

Considering there are roughly 12,076,877 stay-at-home parents, how many of these are your customers and how many could be potential customers if your store had a designated area for young children? A small investment could equal huge sales potential!

Written by by Kemp Evans

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