Three Factors Impacting Customer Satisfaction with the Car Buying Process



Buying a car can be a time-consuming, boring process, so say customers and, unfortunately, research confirms that view.

Today, the vehicle sales process satisfaction rate has dropped to approximately 74% among consumers. While that may seem acceptable at first glance, the truth is that satisfaction levels have been falling for the last decade, and 71% is an all-time low (Cox  Automotive, 2018). 

1. Half the time spent at the dealership is frustrating

According to a Cox Automotive study, buyers are least satisfied with the long purchase process. On average, customers spend 3 hours at the dealership when they purchase a vehicle. Almost half of that time is spent negotiating or doing paperwork.

It is important to note that “Financing/Paperwork” and “Negotiations” are cited frequently as the most frustrating parts of the process, and they take an average of one hour and thirty-one minutes to complete, which is about 49% of the time a customer spends at the dealership during the sales journey (Cox Automotive, 2017). This means they are spending essentially half their time doing their least favorite activities, not including the other three major points of frustration.

2. Not enough time is spent on pleasant activities

Not only are dealerships forcing customers to go through frustrating experiences, they are also reducing the amount of time on activities that the customer enjoys. According to Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study (2017), those activities are

  • Test driving;
  • Setting up the vehicle upon purchase (interior, Bluetooth, etc.); and
  • Getting educated about the vehicle (make, model, safety, etc.).

For all three of those activities, salespeople are spending, on average, at least eight to nine minutes less with the customer than customers would expect. So not only are we forcing customers to participate in activities they hate, but we are taking time away from activities they enjoy.

3. The human factor

Another variable affecting customer satisfaction with dealerships is the number of interactions a customer has with different individuals. Whether it is a sales or service journey, customer satisfaction is at roughly 80% when interacting with only one employee. But that figure can drop to nearly 50% when interacting with three or four employees (Car Buyers Journey, 2017). The reason for the sharp decline is that, during each interaction, customers have to explain their situations from scratch or work with an individuals who have different personalities, which can be stressful.

So what is the solution to these issues?

A complex shift may be required in how dealerships do business with more focus on customers and more effort directed toward making customers’ experiences as seamless as possible.

Technology will play a crucial role in addressing these issues because there are tools that can optimize a dealership’s operations on a grand scale. With a combination of digitalization, automation, and improvement in business processes, the dealership experience can change to decrease manual processes and interactions and allow employees to spend more time with the customer instead of completing traditional sales tasks.

incadea.dms Dealer Management System - Vehicle Management


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