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In new car buyers’ dealership experience, process may irritate, but poor relationships infuriate, according to Foresight Research

Rochester, MI April 6, 2016 – With NADA winding to a close this week, auto retailing is front and center for the auto industry. And according to the third-party 2015 Channel Immersion and Perspectives Study™ (CHIPS) published by Foresight Research, the industry is doing well with eight out of ten recent new auto buyers satisfied overall with their most recent dealership experience.

Yet since most dealers strive to attain ten out of ten positive experiences, Foresight investigated what most often drives dealership discontent. “We asked 1,500 less-than-satisfied buyers what they would change or improve about their last dealer purchase experience,” said Nancy Walter, VP Business Development at Foresight Research, “and found that the answers vary depending on how dissatisfied the buyer was.”

The large majority of this group (which is disproportionately Millennial and Gen X buyers) can be described as “ambivalent” – neither highly satisfied nor highly dissatisfied with their recent dealership experience. Their top suggestions are centered on the process –spend less time at the dealership and doing all of the required paperwork, and on financial issues – price, financing, haggling.

“The ‘low hanging fruit’ for enhancing the dealership experience are this large group of ambivalents whose relatively mild irritation may be alleviated through streamlined processes that increase efficiency and are designed for the customer’s convenience. Since ambivalents tend to be younger, they will become a large portion of the new auto buying population over time and it pays to start thinking about them now. ” Walter said.

Foresight then looked at the remaining buyers, who can be described as “discontented” because they rated their overall dealership experience the lowest. Within this group, the suggestions for improvement turned personal. Their number one suggested change was for the dealership personnel to be honest and show some integrity, and their top five also included better customer service, more likeable salesperson and less aggressive, high pressure sales tactics. They were also most likely to walk away and change dealers.

“That smaller group of discontents (about 5 percent of all buyers) are not just irritated, they are often infuriated about their dealer experience,” Walter says. “Dealerships would be well served to get continuous customer feedback and sales training to avoid the type of poor experience that has a stronger negative impact on dealership satisfaction and is more likely to drive a customer to a competitive dealer.”

All in all, most new auto buyers are satisfied with their dealerships…and there are clear, achievable paths to satisfying the rest.

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About Foresight Research – www.foresightresearch.com
Foresight Research specializes in syndicated and custom studies focusing on key influencers of purchase decisions in the automotive industry. Since 2008, Foresight Research publishes syndicated reports each year that provide information, strategies and best practices to help auto companies, their partners, and auto dealers to build, position, and support marketing insights and actions.

Contact
Nancy Walter
Foresight Research
248.608.1870 x 18
nwalter@foresightresearch.com