Understanding Customer Needs and Profile and Low Sales Pressure Drive Satisfaction, J.D. Power Finds
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Mercedes-Benz Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands in Sales Satisfaction
MELBOURNE: 10 Oct. 2017 — Salesperson interaction with customers is crucial to better understand their needs, thereby helping customers make the right purchase decision. Additionally, the salesperson should be aware of the fine line of being attentive without putting too much pressure on the customer, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Australia Sales Satisfaction Index (Luxury) StudySM, released today.
Satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers whose salesperson asked about their profile, usage, needs or requirements at the time of their visit to the dealership (79%) is 833 (on a 1,000-point scale) — 10 points higher than the luxury average. This is in stark contrast to satisfaction among customers whose salesperson did not ask them (21%), which is 785 — 38 points below average.Asking relevant questions at the time of purchase is important. Satisfaction increases when the salesperson asks customers about their previous driving experience (+41 points above luxury average); who the intended primary user of the vehicle is (+39); the intended usage of the new vehicle (+39); and the vehicle owned at the time of purchase (+38).
More than one-third (34%) of new-vehicle buyers indicate they experienced sales pressure by their salesperson (in contrast, only 27% of mass market buyers say the same), with satisfaction among these customers declining to 730 (93 points below the luxury average). Satisfaction among customers who did not experience sales pressure (66%) is 47 points above the luxury average. Examples of sales pressure experienced include purchasing accessories they did not want (18%); purchasing the vehicle on the same day as the visit (18%); and paying more for the vehicle than they wanted to (16%). The courtesy and friendliness of the salesperson is important when advising potential new vehicle buyers. More than one-third (38%) of customers are delighted (satisfaction score of 931 and above) with this attribute (courtesy and friendliness of the salesperson) and 25% are delighted with the appropriateness of the sales pressure.
“Customers need to feel that the dealership values their business,” said Loi Truong, Senior Country Manager at J.D. Power. “When the salesperson asks a new-vehicle buyer the relevant questions to understand their needs and profile, customers are certainly more engaged and satisfied. A more dedicated and efficient approach to customer engagement also goes a long way toward building a lasting relationship. Simultaneously, the salesperson should remain cognizant of these needs without putting too much purchase pressure on the customer, as there is a fine line between being attentive and being pushy.”
Following are key findings of the study:
- Meeting sales standards is key: In order to achieve satisfaction above the luxury average, dealerships need to deliver on at least 17 of the 22 sales standards identified in the study which enhance the overall sales experience. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of customers report experiencing at least 17 standards.
- Customers still unsure of what they want upon arrival at dealership: More than one-fourth (28%) of customers were unsure of either the make or model of the vehicle they wanted to purchase at the time they first began to shop.
- Younger customers are harder to please: More than one-third (35%) of buyers are young (younger than 35 years old), with satisfaction 10 points below the luxury average, compared with 45 points above the average among older buyers (50 years or older). Furthermore, the younger cohort report experiencing higher sales pressure (46%) than those in the older cohort (15%).
Of the three brands ranked in the luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz ranks highest with a score of 849, followed by Audi with a score of818 and BMW with 782.
The 2017 Australia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 405 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from June 2016 through June 2017. The study was fielded from end-January through June 2017.
The study, now in its second year, examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience. In order of importance, they are salesperson (19%); deal (18%); delivery timing (17%); delivery process (17%); dealer facility (16%); and sales initiation (14%).
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About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region
J.D. Power has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.
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