Car dealers who offer technology options more successful with young buyers: JD Powers study

Car dealers who offer internet and text messaging options strike a better chord with younger buyers

By: | Published: June 6, 2017 7:14 PM
For representational purpose only (Image: Reuters)

A new JD Power study suggests that the key to customer satisfaction in young buyers is technology options. Car dealers who offer internet and text messaging options strike a better chord with younger buyers, who prefer these methods of communication for scheduling appointments and getting service updates.

“Car dealers who aren’t prioritizing technology options are missing out on an opportunity to connect with a younger generation of customers,” said Dr Axel Sprenger, managing director of JD Power Europe. “As these consumers begin to account for a larger number of vehicle sales and service visits, it’s important for dealers to be able to cater to their needs to differentiate themselves from competitors and drive loyalty.”

Among highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 900 and higher on a 1,000-point scale), 88% say they “definitely will” return to the same service facility for future warranty work (work they do not have to pay for), and 81% say they “definitely will” return for future paid service (work they do have to pay for). When satisfaction declines below 900 (between 700 and 899), intended loyalty slips to 66% for warranty service and 49% for paid service.

According to the JD Power 2017 UK Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, technology options is the key to satisfaction. The study elaborates that offering digital amenities such as computers with internet access, Wi-Fi access, tablets, video games, and workspaces to plug in personal devices, tends to lead to higher service facility satisfaction compared with dealers who do not offer them.

As is widely believed now that phone calls are not that popular for scheduling appointments, fact is that two-thirds (66%) of customers still prefer to schedule an appointment over the phone. Service initiation satisfaction is much higher when dealers confirm appointments via phone (805) compared with email/text (748).

An example elaborating use of technology is the Harley Davidson dealer in New York who made headlines for boosting his sales by 2930%. Asaf Jacobi ran a Harley dealership and wasn't selling two or three motorcycles a week, before he made use of Adgorithm’s AI-driven marketing platform. It works across digital channels, like Facebook and Google, to measure, and then autonomously optimize, the outcomes of marketing campaigns.

Satisfaction and brand rankings

Overall customer satisfaction with dealer service averages 799 in the premium brand segment, up from 761 in 2016. In the volume brand segment, overall satisfaction is 766, up from 744 in 2016.

Land Rover ranks highest among premium brands, with a score of 808, a 35-point improvement from 2016 when it ranked second. Land Rover is followed by Audi (806) and BMW (797).

Mazda ranks highest among volume brands, with a score of 800, an 83-point improvement from 2016 when it ranked lowest. Toyota ranks second (793), followed by MINI (785), Hyundai (783) and Honda (778).

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