Posted by Jessica Fernandez on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 @ 09:45 AM
Auto dealers are aware of the dreadful feelings that accompany trips to their lot. Automotive News recently released a helpful webinar for car dealers, giving tips and tricks to make the auto purchasing experience more efficient.
The webinar was given on June 22, 2017 and moderated by Phil Nussel, the editor in chief of Automotive News. The two speakers were Susan Bensinger, director of marketing at Front Office Solutions, and Jeff Stafford, the chief marketing officer at Superior Integrated Solutions.
The webinar was available by invitation to subscribers. Future webinars can be accessed on their webinar page after signing up for membership.
The webinar started with an April 2017 poll given to customers that had purchased cars within 90 days of asking how their car-buying experience could have been better. Fifty-five percent of those polled recommended reducing time spent at the dealership, and 46% specifically said to reduce the amount of paperwork.
Improving the F&I Experience
This webinar’s purpose was to teach dealers how to decrease the time customers spent in dealerships, increase customer engagement and increase dealership profits by changing the F&I experience. The three things consumers wanted more of?
Jeff Stafford states that 90% of polled customers believe that personalization is vital in F&I. Asking customers about their specific needs and wants leads to a better sales experience, leaving both the customer and auto dealer happy.
Personalization can be done by interviewing customers, looking at third-party statistics, and studying the customer’s past purchases. Sixty-three percent of customers said that personalization would have encouraged them to purchase in the F&I office. To personalize, dealers can look at the car the customer bought and have available vehicle information.
For example, let’s say a customer bought a car that happens to be one frequently stolen in their state. Based on the earlier research, the dealer can prepare by selling F&I services such as recommending additional comprehensive insurance coverage.
Seventy-six percent of millennials surveyed said that personalization would help their car buying experience, and 56% of those that didn’t buy anything in the F&I office said they would have bought something if the experience were more personalized.
Another huge part of personalization is customer interaction. Even tech savvy millennials would have liked more human-to-human interaction in the F&I experience. When asked where dealerships could improve, 47% of customers said the interactive experience between dealer and consumer.
A major component that will help customers spend less time in the F&I office is digitization. Half of customers interviewed preferred an electronic process that saves time, paper and resources. This also allows the customer to sign off on documents once instead of one time for each document. Another benefit is that dealers and the customers can have their receipts emailed to them, giving them the option to print and file later or store it all online or with a cloud service. Sixty-three percent of those polled said digitalization would make their experience more satisfactory, and 76% of millennials agreed.
Digitalization provides accessibility and is a money-saving investment. Customers can stay in one spot to sign documents while signing on tablets is more organized than paper.
According to Susan Bensinger’s part of the webinar, 90% of all documents are shuffled, 75% of all documents get lost, and 15% of all papers are misplaced. Considering that it costs $30 to file one document, $120 to find a misfiled document and $220 to reproduce a lost document, dealerships can save a lot of money by going digital.
Fifteen percent of customers who signed documents digitally would not have had to return to the dealership, and 61% of those polled said that it would have influenced their decision to buy from the F&I office. After reading these statistics, it’s not shocking that 80% of consumers felt that a digital F&I process would improve their satisfaction with a dealership.
Overall, customers, especially millennials, did not want to “waste time” at the dealership. Forty-three percent of consumers spent an hour or more in an F&I office because of the credit process, presentation of products and paperwork. By personalization and digitalization, efficiency would go up and auto dealers would make more sales and increase profitability. This would also conclude in more customer overall happiness, making it a great experience for both dealer and consumer.
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