American car buyers and automotive consumers don’t feel that their relationships with dealerships are improving, according to a new study [download page] from Thunderhead.com. Among the intriguing study findings: one-quarter of customers would switch to a different dealership on the basis of a single negative experience, and about 1 in 5 would never re-establish trust in a car dealer after a significant negative experience. Respondents to the study seem particularly irked by overbearing and irrelevant communications, as well as slow response times.
Indeed, some 45% would definitely or consider changing a dealership, business or any other source of products and services as a result of receiving communications they consider an invasion of their privacy. Additionally, 30% of car buyers and automotive consumers share that sentiment about receiving information that is inaccurately targeted, 29% about receiving excessive volumes of communication, and 28% about being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. Only 1 in 5 or fewer wouldn’t have some type of negative response to these typical dealership marketing mistakes.
Those results bring to mind findings from a Janrain study released earlier this year (see chart above), in which almost all respondents claimed to have received information or prom... Among those same pissed off customers, more than 9 in 10 developed an unfavorable attitude to the dealership or company, plus said they would be taking some kind of action to limit the messaging they receive in response to the annoying contact they received.
This does not mean that dealerships and their staff are contacting too many customers... In fact, more than 9 out of 10 respondents to the Thunderhead.com study said they would have an unfavorable reaction to companies responding too slowly to their inquiries. Dealerships and their management teams may want to consider a platform other than Facebook if they’re trying to deliver quick responses to customers seeking assistance or information (see chart below)…
The results are the latest in a string of research pieces indicating that both local car dealers and their car company partners are failing to adequately engage consumers. A study by Responsys found about one-third of consumers claiming to have “broken up” with a brand due to receiving poor, disruptive or irrelevant marketing messages. And late last year, an Edelman study discovered that few consumers feel connected with brands (see chart below)...
Overall, just 41% of customers responding to the Thunderhead.com study feel that they even have a relationship with their car dealers, stores and suppliers. However, only an additional 15% said they would like a relationship with dealers and businesses they use. In order to foster better relationships with their customers, car dealers and their CRM practices should focus on better communications and offering more value, per the report. It is important to note that despite the impression some of the data above might make, an overwhelming percentage of car buyers and automotive consumers, 84% have a positive impression of dealerships and any business that communicates with customers in the channel of their preference. Lastly, we want to point out that 82% of car buyers and automotive consumers feel favorable towards information and deals presented to them at exactly the right time.
About the Data: The data is based on interviews conducted by Populus among 2,026 adults (18+) online in the USA between 11 and 18 September 2013. Results have been weighted to be representative of all US adults.