As technology continues to progress, the dealership experience for the customer also moves forward. New, creative ways have been popping up all over the industry in order to help customers in their purchasing decisions. Technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, configurators, and the like are becoming the norm in the industry, helping people to experience a car’s special features firsthand, which influences one’s purchasing decisions. Not only that, but the industry’s shift to online experiences has also helped it to tap more customers and influence their purchasing decisions from the comfort of their laptop or smartphone. Even before visiting a dealer, a customer has probably made up their mind even before they step into the dealership.
Among the 10 brands ranked in this year’s study, Kia ranks highest across all factors, with an overall score of 842. Suzuki ranks second with a score of 831 and Toyota ranks third with a score of 826.
The 2018 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase and delivery experience. The study is based on responses from 2,072 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2017 and May 2018 and was fielded between February and July 2018.
An increasing number of younger buyers (29 years old and younger) are seeking a more engaging and seamless convergence between their online and offline vehicle-shopping experience, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today. These younger buyers are more satisfied when they use a combination of both online channels, such as the website, and offline channels, such as visits to dealerships when purchasing a vehicle.
The study finds that this group of customers are active both online and offline when researching their vehicle purchase. When searching for a vehicle, nearly 60% of shoppers 29 years and younger use the internet vs. 43% of those 30 years and older. Additionally, 80% of younger buyers compare prices from different dealerships online vs. 68% of older buyers. When interacting with the dealer, 63% of younger buyers contact a dealership directly to schedule an appointment vs. 54% of older buyers. At the dealership, 28% of younger buyers engage with a staff member with deep product knowledge, such as product specialists, compared with 20% of older buyers. In addition, 81% of younger buyers take a test drive vs. 80% of older buyers.
“The use of such digital tools as virtual and augmented reality demonstrations, ‘live’ consultations and videos of car-driving experiences are likely to provide a more engaging purchase journey, while equipping sales consultants with deep product knowledge, encouraging interaction with product specialists and offering test drives are likely to enhance the in-store experience,” said Sigfred M. Doloroso, Country Manager, Philippines, J.D. Power. “When deciding on their next vehicle, younger buyers are not just looking online, so it is crucial for manufacturers to redefine both their digital and traditional strategy if they want to improve the customer experience.”
The following are additional key findings of the study:
- Digital media increases satisfaction: Satisfaction among customers who stay engaged via digital devices—such as tablets, smartphones and touch screen monitors/ kiosks—during shopping and delivery is higher than among those who do not (827 vs. 750, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale). Satisfaction is higher when salespeople use digital media to demonstrate vehicle features during the purchase decision (839 vs. 815, respectively) and of vehicle features at delivery (840 vs. 817).
- Finding the right channel: Younger buyers are more inclined than older buyers to follow recommendations from the dealer and salesperson (39% vs. 27%, respectively) and are more influenced by in-mall displays when making their purchase decision (38% vs. 33%). Older buyers opt to refer to information gathered from the television, compared with younger buyers (16% vs. 10%, respectively) and newspapers (25% vs. 20%).
- Closing the deal: Overall satisfaction is higher when the sales consultant has total authority in agreeing to the terms of a deal, compared to when the consultant needs to get permission from their supervisor (831 vs. 788, respectively).
Now in its 18th year, the study has been entirely redesigned and now examines six factors—including dealer website—that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience. In order of importance, they are sales consultant; dealer facility; delivery process; paperwork completion; working out the deal; and dealer website. SSI performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher customer satisfaction.
The study now also includes the Net Promoter Score® (NPS), which measures customers’ likelihood to recommend both their vehicle make and model on a 0-10 scale.