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Social Media, Web Review Sites Strongly Influence Satisfaction with Car Buying Process

Nearly 80% of all buyers now go online to help chose their next vehicle, according to new Power study.

by on Nov.28, 2012

The new study makes it clear car buyers want dealers to listen and help them make the right decision.

How satisfied you are with the process of purchasing your next vehicle will likely be influenced by whether – and where – you do your research online, according to a new study.

Among the various brands, Lexus achieved the highest level of satisfaction among luxury brands but Mini wasn’t very far behind.

Nearly 80% of all American car buyers go online during at least some part of the purchase process, according to the latest annual Sales Satisfaction Index from J.D. Power and Associates.  And about a third of all shoppers rely on ratings and review sites to help them pick a dealer.  But buyers who consult social networking sites, such as Facebook, tend to be more satisfied.

Come Along for the Ride!

“For years, new-vehicle buyers have accessed the Internet to research model information, vehicle features, configurations and pricing,” said Chris Sutton, senior director of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Now, neutral online ratings/review sites are playing a key role in dealer selection. Whether the online reviews are positive or negative, they impact buyers’ willingness to visit a dealer.”

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Mercedes Doing the Best to Close the Deal

The Internet has changed all the rules of car buying, shows new study.

by on Jul.13, 2012

Closing the deal.

Mercedes-Benz dealers are most likely to deliver customers the sort of shopping experience they want – and then close the deal, according to a new study.

Asian luxury dealers were close behind, along with Jaguar and Cadillac, according to the latest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index which uses so-called “mystery shoppers” to measure the way potential car buyers are treated.

The study looks at 60 different sales activities, from the simple act of greeting a customer when they walk into the showroom to providing a test drive.  Surprisingly, salespeople proved reluctant to take one of the most important steps of all, actually asking a prospect if they’re ready to close the deal.

We Deliver News!

“The world has changed dramatically with the advent of the Internet,” said Pied Piper research chief Fran O’Hagan. Twenty years ago, the dealer was the gatekeeper, controlling every aspect of the car buying process.  Today, however, “A customer can go to the showroom knowing as much as you want.  So, the role of the salesperson has changed.”

Click to Enlarge the Chart.

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Lexus Tops JD Power Sales Satisfaction List

Consumers, generally happier with buying process.

by on Dec.02, 2011

Lexus topped the list in the latest J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index.

It’s often compared to a trip to the dentist – but a new study says American motorists are far more comfortable than you used to be with the car buying process.

In fact, satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process has improved notably from 2010, according to the latest of J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index, or SSI, with Lexus topping the chart among luxury brands, while Mini ranked highest among mass market brands for a second consecutive year.

Delivering Customer Satisfaction!

While Lexus and some of the other high-scoring brands also lead the way in terms of quality and reliability that’s not always the case, Mini coming in well below industry average in the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality survey.

Significantly, as manufacturers have come to recognize the increasingly competitive nature of the new car market Power data show that they’ve been putting a higher emphasis on satisfying the customer as soon as they walk into the showroom door.  And surprisingly, in some cases, that means taking more time with customers rather than rushing them in and out of the showroom.

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Mercedes-Benz on top of shopping survey

Study finds many makers losing frustrated customers.

by on Jul.14, 2009

It takes more than a good deal to win over a potential customer, reveals a new study.

It takes more than a good deal to win over a potential customer, reveals a new study.

A happy customer, it’s been said, is a repeat customer.  Yet a surprising number of automakers and their dealers seem to almost go out of their way to frustrate potential buyers, sending them scampering over to the competition.

That’s a key finding of the Prospect Satisfaction Index, an annual study by the California research firm, Pied Piper.  It reveals that Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2009 PSI, which looks at hidden facets of sales process, and how lookers are converted into serious prospects.

“Nine out of ten car shoppers walk back out a dealership’s door without buying,” said O’Hagan, who adds that, “The tough economic climate of the past year has clearly encouraged salespeople to be more helpful to the majority of shoppers who aren’t yet ready to buy, but still need help narrowing-down their selection.”

The Prospect Satisfaction Index looks at all manner of details in the way a manufacturer, through its dealers, interacts with customers at a showroom level – everything from the cleanliness of restrooms to the level of information a salesperson provides.

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Not surprisingly, perhaps, the findings indicate luxury brands come off the best, with Mercedes in first place, followed by Lexus and Jaguar.  The exception is Saturn, which ranked fourth, ahead of the British marque, Land Rover.  Saturn has long been known for a customer-friendly sales and service process, one reason General Motors found a ready buyer for the brand in Roger Penske, who will take over its operations in the months to come.

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