REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Transparent cost estimates have become one of the most critical concerns for today’s automotive customers when setting service appointments, according to Xtime data.

A survey of 668 vehicle owners showed that a majority of car owners (more than 70%) believe cost estimates were either extremely important or very important when setting appointments. Cost estimates outranked all other factors surveyed, like the availability of transportation options and the option to choose different service advisors, the company stated.

“This research shows price transparency is a big way for dealers to deliver a high-quality ownership experience that keeps customers coming back to the service drive,” said Jim Roche, senior vice president of marketing and managed services at Xtime.

Today, only 30% of service visits take place in dealerships, according to a Cox Automotive Maintenance and Repair Study. The reason for that low rate has to do partly with customers' perceived idea of what it costs to get service done at the dealership, the study indicated. Customers expect dealerships service departments to be more expensive than independent repair shops, even though prices for routine maintenance are often times comparable, according to the company.

This is why it is important to provide cost estimates during the scheduling process, as it reduces misconceptions of higher costs at the dealership, the company added.

Originally posted on F&I and Showroom