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How Service Quality and Convenience Shape Powersport Consumer Loyalty in Maintenance and Repair.

How Service Quality and Convenience Shape Powersport Consumer Loyalty in Maintenance and Repair.

Tristin Burdick | May 22, 2023

In the rapidly evolving powersports industry, understanding consumer behavior is critical for success. As technologies advance, consumer expectations rise, making it essential for powersports dealerships, retailers, and stakeholders to stay ahead of the shifting dynamics. This article delves into the patterns, preferences, and behaviors of powersports consumers, guided by an extensive survey spanning various aspects of consumer interactions with service providers, maintenance habits, and customization tendencies.

Consumer satisfaction and perception of service quality. Our survey indicates a high level of satisfaction among consumers with their chosen service providers - approximately 72% of respondents were 'Very satisfied' with the quality of work performed. However, despite high overall satisfaction, there are nuanced implications for powersports dealerships and service providers. A notable 19% reported being only 'Somewhat satisfied', pointing to opportunities for service quality improvements.

Communication and customer service are significant contributors to overall satisfaction. Among the respondents, 56% rated their service providers' communication and customer service as 'Excellent'. But a combined total of 13% rated these aspects as 'Average', 'Poor', or 'Very poor', again indicating areas where service providers can enhance their interactions with customers.

Frequency of communication, including updates, promotions, and service announcements, also impacts customer perceptions. A majority of consumers reported receiving communication 'Occasionally' (29%) or 'Never' (26%). Regular, meaningful communication can boost customer satisfaction levels and strengthen relationships between powersports consumers and their service providers.

Cost perceptions and factors affecting the choice of service provider. The survey explored consumers' perspectives on the cost of service and maintenance repairs, which plays a pivotal role in service provider selection. Half the respondents (51%) found the rate – the prices of repairs and other charges – fair and reasonable. However, a substantial 34% perceived the rate as slightly higher than it should be, suggesting a potential misalignment between consumer price expectations and the actual rates charged.

When considering what might prompt a switch in service providers, 'More convenient location' and 'Lower cost' were the most prevalent responses. Interestingly, 'Better quality of work' ranked third, suggesting that while cost and convenience are important, consumers aren't willing to compromise on the quality of service.

Maintenance and repairs: do-it-yourself vs professional service. We examined the type of maintenance or repairs performed by consumers themselves versus those done professionally. Across various types of vehicles - motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats, and ATV/UTV/SBS - oil and filter changes were commonly undertaken by the consumers themselves. The data indicates a trend towards self-reliance for basic maintenance tasks.

On the other hand, complex tasks such as propeller inspection and maintenance (boats), track tension and alignment checks (snowmobiles), and control cable lubrication and inspection (various) were typically carried out by professionals. Understanding this distinction can help service providers better tailor their offerings to match consumer habits and preferences.

Customizations and aftermarket parts. Customization is another crucial aspect in the powersports industry, with our survey revealing that 52% of consumers had made customizations or installed aftermarket parts on their vehicles in the last 12 months. Light modifications (i.e. LED kits, modules, taillights, etc.) were the most popular, at 20% of respondents, followed by windshield modifications (16%) and exhaust modifications (11%). This data reflects the enthusiasm of powersports consumers for personalizing their vehicles to meet specific needs or preferences. For retailers, understanding these trends can guide inventory decisions and marketing strategies.

Gender differences in powersports maintenance and servicing. Our survey also examined differences in maintenance behaviors and service provider interactions between male and female consumers. Males showed more confidence in their mechanical abilities, often undertaking their vehicle maintenance. On the other hand, females were more inclined to have their vehicles serviced professionally, likely attributing to their perception of maintenance costs as more 'fair'. Additionally, women are more likely than men to recommend their servicing provider, highlighting the importance of cultivating a positive service experience for this demographic.

The role of confidence and experience in consumer behavior. Confident consumers, those who have accumulated skills through personal experience or online resources, are more likely to engage in do-it-yourself maintenance. However, if the repairs are covered by a warranty, these consumers prefer professional service, revealing the value placed on warranty coverage. Also, confident consumers, who generally perform their own maintenance, showed a greater propensity to install modifications on their vehicles. Powersport stakeholders can leverage this insight to target confident consumers with marketing efforts aimed at DIY maintenance supplies and aftermarket parts.

The influence of price, location, and dealer reputation. Interestingly, our survey found that price is less of a deciding factor for professional maintenance than factors such as location, dealer status, and experience. Consumers value convenience and trust over cost when it comes to servicing their vehicles. Furthermore, those who have been with their service provider for 1-5 years are more likely to switch dealers based on proximity, suggesting a connection between consumer loyalty and location convenience.

Similarly, consumers who believe they aren't getting the best deal for maintenance costs are more likely to switch service providers based on proximity. In areas where dealerships are sparse, consumers who feel overcharged are more likely to shift loyalty if a closer service provider becomes available.

In summary, the insights derived from our survey offer valuable directions for powersport dealerships, retailers, and stakeholders to enhance their services, align more closely with consumer expectations, and foster stronger relationships with their clientele. Understanding these factors enables businesses in the powersport industry to make more informed strategic decisions that resonate with their customers' evolving needs.

about the author

Tristin Burdick

Research Analyst, EPG Specialty Information

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