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Auto Remarketing | J.D. Power Says Customer Treatment at Store More Important than Price

J.D. Power and Associates unveiled its 2010 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study on Wednesday, and the automaker that earned the best buyer satisfaction score among luxury brands was Jaguar, while Mini earned this distinction among mass market brands.

This marked the third straight time Jaguar has been honored as the top luxury make in terms of satisfying customers.

Scores are calculated based on the following elements (with their weighted importance in parenthesis) in the new-vehicle purchasing experiences of customers:
  • Working out the deal (33 percent).
  • Salesperson (25 percent).
  • Delivery process (21 percent).
  • Dealership facility (20 percent).

Jaguar’s score was 828 (out of 1,000) and showed especially strong performances with regards to its salespeople score and the negotiation element, J.D. Power noted.

It was followed, respectively, by Cadillac and (819) and Mercedes-Benz (815), which held their Nos. 2-3 spots on the luxury side from a year ago. Rounding out the top five luxury brands were Lincoln (814) and Lexus (812).

Among mass market brands, Mini’s score was 805. J.D. Power said Mini’s strength was found largely in the dealership facility, salesperson and delivery arenas. Mini was followed by Mercury (795), GMC (792), Chevrolet (787) and Buick (784), respectively.

Sharing some more insight into the study’s findings, J.D. Power discovered that more customers are concerned with how they are treated at the store than the price on the vehicle.

In fact, 52 percent said how they are treated influenced their pick of dealership, while about two-fifths (38 percent) chose a store because of the price or a deal, J.D. Power stated.

The company also pointed out that after a buyer has chosen which store to visit, her level of satisfaction is typically most heavily influenced by how easy it was to negotiate a price. This element has more influence on satisfaction than does transaction price fairness, officials noted.

Not only that, but the negotiation process takes an average of 53 minutes, making it the most time-consuming element of the purchasing process besides choosing which vehicle to purchase, according to J.D. Power.
“The process of working out the deal is the primary indicator of whether new-vehicle buyers have a satisfactory purchase experience,” stated Jon Osborn, J.D. Power’s director of automotive.

“While there are some buyers who enjoy the negotiation process, many find it to be the most unpleasant part of purchasing a new vehicle,” he added. “It is particularly important for retailers to make this process as efficient and collaborative as possible, given its importance to overall satisfaction.”

Continuing on, J.D. Power also discovered that the proportion of buyers who stopped at multiple dealerships was at 60 percent.

Although many shoppers declined to buy at certain dealerships because they didn’t have their desired model, about a fifth (18 percent) of customers didn’t buy because they believed they were not treated properly by the store’s sales staff, according to J.D. Power.

The study further noted that equally common complaints covered “too much sales pressure” from salespeople or the salespeople not having enough information. Customers also cited impolite staff and salespeople who weren’t “being straightforward.”

“With new-vehicle retail sales remaining soft and manufacturers spending considerable amounts on incentives to get customers into showrooms, the value of prospects coming in to a dealership is extremely high,” Osborn shared.

“Dealers cannot afford to drive away customers through poor treatment. In addition, most of these rejecters go on to purchase a different brand of vehicle entirely, meaning that both the individual dealer and the automaker lose out,” he added.

Next up, J.D. Power looked at how crucial the online element remains. In fact, 79 percent of new-vehicle customers turned to the Web while auto shopping and almost a quarter (24 percent) asked dealers for a quote.
Interesting enough, shoppers who asked for quotes typically expressed greater satisfaction when it came to negotiation and price than those shoppers who didn’t ask for a quote.

That said, this same group of shoppers asking for quotes were usually not as satisfied with the sales process length. J.D. Power suggested these shoppers may have been anticipating that the sales process would go faster.
“Dealers need to streamline the new-vehicle buying process for customers who do a lot of research online,” Osborn noted. “These buyers tend to be affluent, well-informed and time-sensitive. They generally know the exact vehicle they want and how much they expect to pay for it.

“Despite often having little familiarity with the dealership they are buying from, they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Dealers need to balance respect for the customer’s time while still providing what the customer needs,” he concluded.

J.D. Power provided the following charts of automaker rankings in the SSI:Buyer Index Ranking

Luxury Brands
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Brand
Index score
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings For Consumers

Jaguar
828
5

Cadillac
819
4

Mercedes-Benz
815
4

Lincoln
814
4

Lexus
812
4

Land Rover
809
4


Porsche
800
3

BMW
799
3

Luxury Segment Average
798
3

Acura
782
2

Infiniti
768
2

Audi
764
2

Volvo
754
2

Buyer Index Ranking
Mass Market Brands
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)

Brand
Index score
JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings For Consumers

Mini
805
5

Mercury
795
4

GMC
792
4

Chevrolet
787
4

Buick
784
4

Ford
770
4

Hyundai
765
4

Chrysler
764
4


Suzuki
759
3

Kia
753
3

Mass Market Segment Average
751
3

Honda
750
3

Subaru
747
3

Toyota
742
3

Scion
736
3


Mazda
727
2

Volkswagen
719
2

Dodge
714
2

Jeep
714
2

Ram
714
2

Mitsubishi
707
2

Nissan
707
2

Submitted by Delia Passi (not verified) on November 18, 2010.
Women make the majority of car purchases and influence most car purchase! Smart dealerships are earning the WomenCertified Seal of Excellence so they can be recognized for their commitment to better sales and service. Make it easy for customers to choose you!

reply.Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2010.
At Legends Cadillac, Hummer, Saab, we are committed to exceeding all the expectations of our customers, and I will do everything possible to provide you with a remarkable sales experience along with the highest level of customer service you have ever experienced. Over the years, our loyal customers and emplyees have helped maintain our dealership's reputation. In fact, it was one of our customers who coined the phrase "Legends-it's like no place else!"

reply.Submitted by Delia Passi (not verified) on November 18, 2010.
Really love your commitment to the customer experience. We are on a mission to identify women friendly businesses and help women find those businesses! If you are interested in learning how you can earn the WomenCertified Seal of Excellence, call us 561-309-7078

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Tags: .D., 2010, Associates, Index, Power, Sales, Satisfaction, Study, U.S., Wednesday, More…and, its, on, unveiled

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