Men drive approximately 30 percent more miles than women. Yet, they're implicated in slightly less than 30 percent of all car accidents in North America. Men do cause more accidents, but they are less at-risk than women, by a small margin.
In the U.S., there are roughly 500,000 women who are actively looking to purchase a new vehicle at any given time. They have a significant influence on all automotive purchases, but many women feel misunderstood by the collision repair industry overall.
Even though men get in more accidents, women bring their family's vehicles into body shops more than men do in many states, and that is why shops nationwide are now catering more and more to women by making them a priority in every aspect of their marketing and customer service.
I've interviewed literally thousands of body shops as an industry reporter for more than 12 years, and I've encountered many collision repairers who are going over the top to please their female customers and getting more business as a result.
To this end, these shops are doing things such as producing how-to videos to educate their clients; sponsoring networking events strictly for women at their facilities with industry speakers; getting involved in a wide range of community organizations that appeal to their female audience and reaching out to them more regularly through e-mail newsletters, targeted blogs and social media.
Nancy Friedman, the President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service works closely with body shops and other automotive companies to enhance their customer experience. She says that women appreciate the little things, but all of them have to do with compassionate customer service and a professional approach--essentially the same things that men want when they get their vehicles fixed.
"First, women want to be heard and have their answers delivered promptly and with respect," Friedman said. "Making eye contact is always important, so please don't rush me or ignore me. And never talk down to us, because that is the number one reason why women complain about their experience at a body shop. And smile--because it goes a long way, believe me. Use the identical handshake that you do with a male customer without breaking our hand, because a weak handshake using only three fingers is never a good sign. And finally, put a hook in the women's bathroom, so that we can hang up our bags. It might sound like a little thing, but in the end these little things will add up.
"When polling women, they want a shop that is clean and orderly with ample parking and courteous staff," Friedman said. "One other tip--women appreciate shops that accommodate children, so if If you have a little kiddie section with toys and books in your reception area, that will go a long way with the ladies."
By recognizing what women want from a body shop and providing it, you will get more referrals and kudos from this ever-growing customer demographic. Count on it.