Tag Archives: female friendly

FOXY Lady Drivers Club identifies and works with the best and female friendly garages and car dealerships nationwide across the UK.

How car dealers offend women (part 1 of many)

I am often asked how FOXY can tell a female friendly car manufacturer, dealer or main dealership from the way they market to and then treat women.

Clearly that’s a big story but let’s start by looking at the ones that aren’t female friendly because they are easy to spot with Swiss Toni and/or Arthur Daley tendencies to overcharge, patronise and sell us services we don’t need or want.

I usually start by reminding he who asks (it’s usually a he and often a manufacturer/dealership wanting to pick our brains for free, thinking they can then do ‘female friendly’ for themselves)  that the lack of respect for women starts at the very top of the European motor industry as exampled by manufacturers and Motor Show organisers that seem to think that scantily clad girls draped over new (and F1 racing) cars are needed to ingratiate a male audience :-).

Wake up guys – this isn’t where you should be spending your money in future. There’s a huge female business audience to talk to too.

They clearly don’t know who is buying their cars nowadays otherwise they wouldn’t set out to insult and patronise women in this way (and surely bimbos are so very deja vu).

I then add some of the common and usually current stories we collect via the helpdesk at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

A regular, repeated to me last Thursday evening at a Marketing event organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Sussex, is where the new or used car salesman asks the female, doing her car shopping, to bring her husband in to finalise the buying finances.

Red alert guys – wrong approach here. You will know this because hopefully she’ll walk out the door and go elsewhere or buy online.

I can only imagine that he who says this sort of thing doesn’t have a female to organise his life; most men do of course so there’s no excuse for them to imagine we couldn’t get ‘our pretty little heads’ round a series of different payment options.

Perhaps it is for that very reason that he wants to re-assert himself  in ‘his’ often all-male work emporium? Or perhaps that he simply can’t manipulate women who know what we want, as he might a man, talking that ‘mate to mate’ jargon that few females understand?

Please don’t get me wrong – you do not have to be female to be female friendly and many men are extremely female friendly in the right way. You just have to understand how to talk to us and this starts with RESPECT.

Either way – the future requires motor businesses to be female friendly to stay alive in future and those that are will and those that don’t get it will struggle.

If you run a business and are reading this post, click here to see FOXY’s female friendly Promise at the FOXY Choice website and ways to promote your business to women drivers, ahead of those that aren’t up to this challenge.

Rest assured there are those that can’t,however hard they try, sign up to our voluntary code without knowing they’ll get found out and reprimanded by us.  And, of course, there are a few that aren’t welcome to sign up, on the basis of feedback we receive within the Club.

When we have had to tackle an organisation that has got things wrong for a female (and it isn’t always their fault I hasten to add) we’ve either had a quick and apologetic response or an arrogant ‘we know better’ reply.

Whatever, it always speaks volumes about a business culture and the latter businesses then get their card marked by FOXY so that local women are informed about this, where necessary. It’s highly unlikely that they’d then qualify for a FOXY Choice listing as a female friendly business unless they’d undergone a personality transformation or rehabilitation programme in the meantime!!

Get it right for women drivers and we spread the word = more sales, referrals and profit.

Get it wrong for women drivers and we go elsewhere (and chances are we don’t say goodbye) = less sales, ongoing female dissatisfaction, smiling competitors and a lack of understanding why…

The future requires you to be female friendly; get your business strategy, culture, staff training and communications right so you can take advantage of this ahead of others.

FOXY

“If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different and be just.”
Dame Anita Roddick, Body Shop Founder, 1942-2007

Female friendly means business

I have just read a marketing article confirming that a female friendly business approach is likely to boost online marketing success, according to IPC Media research. Apparently 97 per cent of female web users research products online (presumably 3% don’t bother) while 74 per cent logged on every day in 2008, up from 71 per cent the previous year.

Some 92 per cent of those questioned said they had made a purchase using the internet.

Karin von Abrams, a senior analyst for eMarketer confirmed that three-quarters of female internet users are online every day, weekdays and weekends, stating that “a phenomenal proportion of women using the net are researching or buying products online, signalling a real revolution in retail.”

You’d be surprised if I was surprised by this as I have been banging my drum for quite some time now about garages and dealers needing to be more female friendly to sell new cars, servicing and repairs to more women drivers.  This is because many women motorists feel uncomfortable in garage and car showroom environments whereas if they feel welcome and learn to trust the business they’re likely to be back and perhaps they’d visit garages more often than they do to date…

But some garages may wish to ask typical female motorists what they think of their website because in my opinion many have been designed by men for men – plus ca change in our industry. A few photos with ordinary women (rather than bland models) and cars is a good place to start and it’s equally true of websites and in many business waiting areas.

A surprising number of garages have yet to invest in their own website, shifting from one expensive online advertiser to another without much likely sales effect.

Sadly many are too slow to pick up on email requests that could include valuable servicing and repair work. For example, today I received a most polite acknowledgement to my email from a garage telling me that their email was off-site but they would endeavour to be in touch with me within 7 days. No need to if it had been an urgent request because someone hungrier will have got there before them.

To find out about female friendly garages, MOTs, car servicing and repairs for women drivers.

FOXY

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”

Pablo Picasso

Can car dealers do better for women?

I have spent a lot of today looking at the findings of a survey we carried out in December last. It was to analyse member satisfaction levels with FOXY Lady Drivers Club but gave us the chance to ask what women drivers want when they go to buy a new car.

Almost half our sample took someone with them when they went to buy a new or used car in a car showroom and a significant number had felt patronised during the transaction.

I know it can be hard to get the balance right of providing enough but not too much information here. Sometimes I think that FOXY Lady Drivers Club doesn’t get this right for everyone when we hear from women who are expert DIY mechanics and can change their own tyres (whereas we take the view that the professionals are the better and safer choice) but I must admit to being surprised to find that very few females indeed wanted to see more females employed on the showroom floor.

I had imagined that, in the UK’s male dominated retail motor industry with a poor reputation for getting it right for women drivers, the thought of dealing with a female might have been reassuring. It seems not, certainly in this instance.

The trouble with research is that it always leaves me with a few ‘I wonder’ questions afterwards (I feel another survey coming on…).

For example,

I WONDER IF some women are so liberated that they want to be treated as honorary blokes in the motor industry, much as many of us try to be in our careers.

I WONDER IF some women realise that what matters most is the best person for the job and fear the token female, to be seen to please.

I WONDER IF the true beneficiaries of more females in the showroom (assuming they are among the brightest on the floor)might be the men who, we are told, feel happier buying from a female because they don’t have to pretend that they knew all the answers (which they just might have pretended to a male sales person).

But what I am absolutely convinced about is that the principles of honesty, fairness, open-ness and transparency are needed in car showrooms today in the same way as we need them in our garages when women shop for the likes of MOTs and car servicing.

Why should a motorist who buys a car at the end of a sales quarter or month get a better price than a motorist who paid her money a week earlier?

For example,

WHY should ‘she who shouts loudest’ get a better discount than she who didn’t dare do this?

WHY should a part exchange deal be so shrouded in secrecy so you can’t unpick the true cost of the car you bought?

WHY should motorists who take up a finance deal do better than she who wants to pay cash?

WHY do so few used car dealers give a full year’s warranty on the car they are selling?

So many more questions but I may be losing the plot and it has been a long day…

What the FOXY research taught me was that many foxy ladies are aware of this unfairness and are shopping for the best new car deal online before EITHER going to their nearest car dealer/dealership OR cutting out the middle man and buying from a discount car supermarket or website.

Yet the dealers have so many female friendly services to promote, over and above what should be the natural appeal of a local business and a genuinely warm welcome.

But they need to get this right – no more patronising or overcharging females – tell us the truth, give us a fair price and don’t try to baffle us or pretend you know more than we do.

The survey put price at the top of the critical shopping factors, as you’d expect in this recession, followed by running costs and then safety. But what women really want is a clear offer – a fixed price from the outset including clearly defined benefits.

Then there’d be less dissonance post sale and less stress if we leave the showroom in the hope he’ll phone back later and do a deal.  No Arthur Daley or Swiss Toni tactics either. Tell us the truth, spell out the finances, make more of the local convenience factor and make her feel special, never a muppet.

I think it’s easy to be a female friendly car dealer providing the business wants to be one. All you have to do is live up to the female friendly FOXY Promise and you’re half way there. That and do a competitive analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.

You might be surprised to find what your competitive marketing advantages when you look at promoting your business to women drivers online.

Some businesses do it brilliantly already – is yours listed by FOXY Choice – that’s a good start?

Happy to help guys.

FOXY

Citroen trade-in deals for women drivers

In an earlier blog I was less than complimentary about Citroen UK missing a sales opportunity so it’s only fair that I say well done now.

So well done Citroen for doing something strategic to benefit your brand and dealerships rather than sitting on the fence waiting to see if Mister Mandy will do something similar for all, called a car scrappage (ugly, ugly word) scheme.

What I’m talking about is Citroen UK’s initiative to offer motorists generous trade-ins of £2000 if the car is older than 2000 reg and £1000 if its younger. Terms and conditions apply, offer valid till end of April and so on.

This is what you’d expect from a green motoring car manufacturer and a ‘first mover’ brand in terms of their model stable of great value for money, low CO emitting superminis and leading edge technology (since the 50s DS and 2CV really).

Strange how we haven’t had many Citroen car dealerships enquiring about female friendly status so they might promote themselves online to women drivers via FOXY Choice?

Come on chaps – margins might be stretched but if you promote your female friendly garage services ahead of others you’ll be best placed to sell your cars to an ever growing base of (hopefully) delighted women drivers in future.

FOXY