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Auto Retail Leads Other Industries in Customer Service, Study Finds

February 16, 2012

ST. LOUIS — A study by Maritz Research CEBenchmarks revealed that the auto industry outperforms several other industries, including retail and wireless services, when it comes to providing a quality customer service experience. Three in four customers rated their experience among the three highest ratings on a 10-point scale when purchasing or leasing a vehicle or having a vehicle serviced.

The CEBenchmarks study compared customer service experiences across 11 industries and 34 types of transactions, according to the company. Specifically, for automotive transactions, customers were asked about experiences purchasing or leasing a vehicle from a new-car dealership in the last six months and having vehicles serviced at a new-car dealership within the past three months.

"Our findings demonstrate that personnel at automotive dealerships recognize how providing a good experience can create loyal customers and benefit the dealership's bottom line," said Scott Pimley, strategic consulting director of Maritz Research's Automotive Research Group.

When asked more detailed questions about their automotive sales experience, 74.5 percent of customers said they were satisfied. The study also identified key factors in driving this customer satisfaction. Customers rated their experience with the sales process as the most important aspect, followed by dealership honesty, keeping promises, the vehicle delivery process and financing/paperwork process as additional indicators of satisfaction.

Regarding automotive service, 74.9 percent of customers were satisfied, citing dealership honesty as the most important factor in driving their satisfaction. Additional key factors included quality of repair, timeliness of service, drop-off and service write-off process, vehicle pick-up process and vehicle fixed right the first time.

"Leading several industries in customer satisfaction is a great testament to auto dealerships understanding and then satisfying their customers' needs," said Chris Travell, vice president of strategic consulting for the Maritz Research Automotive Research Group. "As more and more people use social media and online commerce instead of face-to-face interaction, it will be increasingly more important for dealers to provide a quality customer experience that can be delivered virtually and personally."

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