Satisfaction Surges if Dealers Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Sales Process

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers who are presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or a tablet (833 on a 1,000-point scale) during the sales process, according to our 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 29,040 new-vehicle buyers or lessees, who completed their transaction in April or May 2013.

Using technology continues to make a major difference in enhancing the buyer’s or lessee’s sales experience at the dealership. Specifically, when a dealership salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process with new-vehicle buyers, satisfaction is 52 points higher on average (844) than when a salesperson does not use a tablet during the sales experience (792). Satisfaction with a salesperson using a computer printout (820) receives the next highest score, followed by verbal price quotes (792); and lastly, written figures (780).

Our 2013 U.S. SSI Study finds that tablets are proving to be particularly versatile and effective tools and may help maintain consistency during the sales process, while providing accessible and dynamic product information. Yet, we also see that tablet usage among dealership salespeople remains relatively limited—only 10% of dealership salespeople use these devices. On a positive note, that’s still up from 7% in 2012.

Buyer and SalespersonDealers Often Use Tablets to Capture Buyer Personal Information

There are differences in the ways that tablets are used in the sales process. New-vehicle buyers in our 2013 U.S. SSI Study most often indicate that salespeople use tablets to capture their personal information (51%) followed by demonstrating vehicle features (41%); and then displaying price or payment information (38%).

J.D. Power automotive mobile shopping research and findings from the 2013 U.S. SSI Study also reveal that new-vehicle buyers are using mobile devices during the shopping process. Consumers most often use their mobile devices at the dealership to access vehicle pricing information (72%) followed by looking up model information (52%) and searching inventory (38%).

Although tablet usage has increased from a year ago, dealers are still missing the chance to improve their sales satisfaction levels by providing buyers with sales information on a single platform. The tablet allows new-vehicle buyers to easily browse options and features and get immediate explanations and commentary from their salesperson, which helps increase satisfaction with the sales experience.

Jaguar and MINI Rank Highest in Segment SSI Satisfaction

At the industry level, overall sales satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience and with the selling dealership improves 9 points from 664 points in 2012 to 673 in 2013, according to the 2013 U.S. SSI Study, which also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (rejecters).

At the brand level in 2013, among luxury brands, the U.K.’s Jaguar brand receives the highest score in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buyer experience (740). Rounding out the top five luxury brands that receive scores above the luxury segment average (718) are, respectively: Porsche (739); Lexus (737); Infiniti (734); and Mercedes-Benz (728).

Among all 13 rank-eligible luxury brands included in the study, Volvo improves the most (+30 index points) and moves up in the rankings to No. 9 from No. 11 in 2012.

For a fourth straight year, MINI ranks highest among mass market brands, with a score of 718, up 6 points from 2012. In addition to MINI, brands that rank in the top five spots in the mass-market category in respective order are: Buick (694); Chevrolet and GMC (686, in a tie); and Hyundai and Volkswagen (677, in a tie). Three more brands rank above the mass-market segment average of 666—these are: Fiat, Honda and Toyota.

At the mass-market level, Kia improves the most (+33 index points) among the 19 rank-eligible brands included in the 2013 U.S. SSI Study and moves up to No. 11 from No. 16 in 2012.Chris Sutton, senior director of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power

*Note: The study also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (satisfaction among rejecters) and was fielded between July and September 2013.


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