The coronavirus crisis is giving the motor finance sector the chance to improve customer relationships even more.
That’s according to Startline Motor Finance, whose chief executive Paul Burgess, pictured, said the industry had changed a lot and for the better in recent years thanks to its own initiatives as well as statutory interventions, but the lockdown was providing even more impetus.
‘Obviously, no one wants the world to find itself in this situation with the horrible cost in terms of both lives and economic damage. However, there are positives to be found if we look hard enough.
‘What we have really noticed about every aspect of our interactions as a business over the last few weeks has been the way in which everyone is pulling together.
‘Many of the people we are talking to are experiencing difficulties – whether dealers whose businesses are essentially frozen or motor finance customers who are facing financial difficulties – but the striking thing has been how generally calm and constructive these conversations have been on all sides despite the circumstances.’
He added: ‘In recent years, as a sector we have become much more adept at treating the customer fairly. The crisis provides the opportunity to move further forward from there.
‘Our view is that the public in general will remember the people and the businesses that treated them fairly and with respect during the crisis – it is a watershed moment for the country – and motor finance should do the right thing.’
Burgess said there were short- and longer-term financial realities to be confronted but he was optimistic that they could be dealt with pragmatically.
‘Clearly, there are going to be times when financial realities have to be acknowledged, but we very much agree with the statement the FLA has issued where it says that we need to keep motorists in their cars wherever possible. This is certainly our aim at the moment.’