Car Buyer Satisfaction with the Dealership Experience Declines After 90 Minutes

Time spent in dealership on the day of purchase has a direct impact on satisfaction; new Cox Automotive white paper examines dealership cycle times.

Jan 21, 2015, 11:34 ET from AutoTrader.com

ATLANTA, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most critical aspects of the dealership experience is the time consumers spend in store to complete a sale, and new data from AutoTrader puts a timestamp on when satisfaction peaks—and declines. According to the AutoTrader Dealer Sourcing Studies, customer satisfaction is at its highest within the first 90 minutes on the day of purchase; however, that number begins declining once time spent goes beyond the 1.5 hour mark. At 2.5 hours, satisfaction drops below buyers' average satisfaction score.

"While some dealers are making strides in correcting the issues that contribute to purchase-day delays, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done—on­­­ our side as a partner and technology provider and in-store at dealerships," said Jared Rowe, president of AutoTrader.com. "We are committed to working closely with our dealer customers to bring more transparency and efficiencies into the car buying process that will ultimately help them exceed buyers' expectations."

To better understand the disconnect between customer expectations and the dealership experience, Cox Automotive conducted an in-depth analysis of four distinct dealerships to actual cycle times across key processes from post-vehicle selection to pre-delivery of vehicle. The results of this analysis have been published in a new white paper entitled "It's About Time: Streamlining In-Store Processes to Improve the Customer Experience."

Cycle times were grouped into three primary processes: the Sales Process, the Vehicle Appraisal Process and the F&I Process. Across all of these processes, inefficiencies in people, process and technology contributed to lengthened time for each step. Highlights from the analysis include:

  • Sales Process: The average time it took to complete the vehicle sales process was nearly 53 minutes – more than half the desired ideal total customer cycle time of 90 minutes. Negotiation took an average of 21 minutes and a maximum of 41 minutes, making it potentially the most time-consuming variable in the vehicle sales process.
  • Vehicle Appraisal Process: The average time it took to complete the appraisal process was 43 minutes, nearly half of the total desired customer cycle time of 90 minutes. Negotiation took an average of 16 minutes and a maximum of 39 minutes, making it a significant time-consuming variable in the appraisal process.
  • F&I Process: The average time it took to complete the F&I process was nearly 61 minutes – two-thirds of the desired length of the ideal total customer cycle time of 90 minutes. The F&I process was lengthened by requiring signatures on multiple paper forms, and filling out these forms took an average of 21 minutes and a maximum of 44 minutes, making it a significant time-consuming variable in the F&I process.

For more information on the time study analysis, visit the AutoTrader.com Dealer Learning Center to access the full white paper.

About AutoTrader.com
Created in 1997, Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace. As a leading resource for car shoppers and sellers, AutoTrader.com aggregates millions of new, used and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers and provides expert articles and reviews. AutoTrader.com, which also operates the AutoTraderClassics.com auto marketing brand, is wholly owned by Cox Automotive. Additionally, Cox Automotive owns Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com®), Manheim Auctions as well as companies that provide a full suite of software tools that help dealers and manufacturers manage their inventory and advertising online: vAuto®, HomeNet Automotive®, VinSolutions®, Xtime™, AIS Rebates™, Genius Labs® and Haystak® Digital Marketing. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. For more information, please visit http://press.autotrader.com.

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SOURCE AutoTrader.com



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