Use of Digital Devices by Sales Consultants Enhances Customer Satisfaction, J.D. Power Finds

Automotive Press Releases Thursday October 25, 2018 15:46
Bangkok--25 Oct--J.D. Power

The use of digital tablet devices during the sales process is one of the key drivers of customer satisfaction, particularly when used to demonstrate vehicle features and to assist the customer with their purchase decision, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today.

Slightly more than one-third (34%) of customers say their sales consultant used a tablet device as part of their sales conversation, with 67% of this group saying the tablet was used to display the price or payment information. Satisfaction is higher among customers whose sales consultant used a tablet device than among those whose consultant used another device (866 vs. 840, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale), such as the dealer staff's smartphone, the customer's smartphone or touch-screen monitor/ kiosk. The study finds that satisfaction is particularly enhanced when the tablet is used to demonstrate the vehicle's features to assist with the purchase decision (858) or to display the price or payment information (854).

"Digital tools, such as tablets, can improve both the customer experience and the efficiency of the sales process," said Siros Satrabhaya, Regional Director for Thailand at J.D. Power. "In the near future, it is likely that tablets will be a tool used by every sales consultant, particularly for building and capturing the customer profile, presenting personalized products and features and displaying the deal and finance package. Most importantly, they will also help the customer select the right vehicle for their specific needs. The combination of high tech tools and high touch customer service will likely move the customer experience to the next level."

The study also finds that satisfaction is higher among customers whose sales consultant used digital devices on which the dealership's or brand's digital app was installed (30%) than among those whose consultant used tablet devices with other methods (864 vs. 836, respectively), such as the dealership's or vehicle brand's website.

Following are additional key findings of the study:
  • Offering test drive to customers during showroom visit is key: Satisfaction among customers who were offered a test drive is higher than among those who were not offered the same (857 vs. 810, respectively). The study finds that 92% of customers were offered a test drive, with 61% of customers having taken the test drive. Among customers who did not avail themselves of the offer, 34% did not want or need to take the vehicle for a test drive.
  • Customers researching vehicles online does not increase satisfaction: Satisfaction is lower among customers who used the internet to browse for a new vehicle than among those who did not use the internet (842 vs. 862, respectively). By researching vehicles online in advance of visiting a dealership, these customers are better informed before making a purchase decision and thus have higher expectations. Customers who used the internet were primarily focused on researching the vehicle price (69%); sales promotions or schemes (59%); vehicle brochures/ pictures (55%); reviews/ blogs by users or experts (47%); and vehicle features or accessories (46%).
  • Word of mouth from friends/ relatives and other owners impact purchase decision: Two of the top sources customers looked for as part of their purchase decision are information from friends/ relatives (57%) and owners of the same vehicle brand (32%). With respect to selecting a dealership, the primary influences are recommendations from a friend/ relative (60%), dealership location (54%) and dealership facility appearance (30%).
Study Rankings

Toyota ranks highest in sales satisfaction with an overall satisfaction score of 860 and performs well in three of the six factors: dealership facility; working out the deal; and paperwork completion. Chevrolet ranks second with a score of 858, and Isuzu ranks third with a score of 853.

The 2018 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study measures overall sales satisfaction based on six factors (in order of importance): sales consultant (25%); delivery process (23%); dealership facility (18%); paperwork completion (16%); working out the deal (16%); and dealership website (2%).

Now in its 19th year, the study is based on responses from 3,006 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from August 2017 through July 2018. The study was fielded from February through September 2018.
For the first time, the Thailand SSI Study includes the Net Promoter Score(R) (NPS), which measures customers' likelihood to recommend both their vehicle make and model on a 0-10 scale.

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