Word-of-Mouth and Online Research Have Big Impact on Model and Dealer Selection, J.D. Power Finds

Thursday 20 December 2018
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Nearly three-fourths of new vehicle buyers in the U.A.E. either rely on consulting with friends or relatives or on online research to decide not only on the vehicle brand and model to purchase, but also the specific dealership from which to purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.A.E. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today.

Vehicle pricing, followed by features specifications, warranty, sale promotions and dealer information are the most-cited information searched for by vehicle buyers online. However, nearly one-fifth (18%) of customers visit their purchasing dealer website. Alternatively, 68% of new-vehicle buyers who shopped online contacted their purchasing dealership over the phone, email or text prior to their visit, primarily to confirm the dealership location and operating hours, vehicle pricing, features, dealership stock and available finance options—information that should have been made available on the dealership website. Notably, buyers who shop online report lower satisfaction scores than those who do not (840 vs. 850, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale).

“As the path to new vehicle purchases increasingly relies on online sources, it is imperative for manufacturers and dealerships to design websites that feature the required information sought by buyers and are easy to navigate across multiple devices,” said Shantanu Majumdar, Regional Director Automotive Practice at J.D. Power. “Given that word-of-mouth plays a strong role in influencing purchase decisions, dealerships that can actively manage their reputation online stand a better chance to enhance their retail experience, and ultimately, win new customers.”

Following are additional key findings of the 2018 study:

  • Use of technology during sales process drives engagement and satisfaction: Usage of tablets by sales consultants during the sales process to record customer details and requirements, as well as to demonstrate vehicle features, yields a higher satisfaction score than when a tablet is not used (852 vs. 837, respectively).
  • Opportunity to enhance dealer amenities: Across the six factors measured in the study, the dealership facility has the highest weight in driving overall sales satisfaction (25%). The availability of amenities such as free wireless internet access, complimentary snacks, accessory viewing area and vehicle color palette display yield higher satisfaction scores. Furthermore, satisfaction scores are higher when the deal is finalized inside the office than in an open area.   
  • Introduction to aftersales service department: At the time of delivery, 78% of customers were provided an overview of or introduced to someone in the service department, which increases satisfaction by 42 points.

Study Rankings

Kia ranks highest in sales satisfaction among mass market brands, with a score of 859. Ford ranks second with a score of 855, while Nissan ranks third with a score of 854.

Land Rover ranks highest in sales satisfaction among luxury brands, with a score of 880. BMW ranks second with a score of 859, while Infiniti ranks third with a score of 856.

The 2018 U.A.E. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers. Buyer satisfaction is based on six measures: dealership facility (25%); delivery process (23%); dealer sales consultant (20%); paperwork completion (17%); working out the deal (10%); and dealership website (5%).

The study is based on responses from 2,083 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle between March through November 2018. The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers). The study was fielded from July through November 2018.

The study now also includes the Net Promoter Score® (NPS), which measures new vehicle owners’ likelihood to recommend their vehicle brand on a 0-10 point-scale.

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