Car buyers value excellent customer service more than getting a good price – Regit

  • Firm quizzed 2,000 people and found customer service remains king
  • Great service needn’t just be face-to-face with buyers valuing simple online processes
  • Survey also found information gap around electric cars

Time 7:54 am, June 24, 2024

Car buyers place excellent customer service above getting a good price on their next vehicle.

That’s according to Regit CEO and founder Chris Ashton-Green. The firm surveyed 2,000 people and found that customer service remains king despite other hot industry topics dominating headlines such as the agency model.

Writing in Cox Automotive’s Insight Quarterly, Ashton-Green said: ‘In our latest consumer survey, we asked our 2,000 car drivers how they see car buying in 2024 and the overarching message is clear: put quality customer service first.’

He went on to explain that the survey’s findings indicate consumers’ preference to engage with dealers in the traditional sense, although that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘face-to-face’.

‘The drive to give more online options to car buyers who want to reduce physical customer touchpoints should still be prioritised,’ he said.

‘After all, 46% of our users believe it’s important that everything, from finding a car to arranging delivery, should be done online, from the comfort of your own home.’

Commenting on Regit’s survey and Ashton-Green’s comments, Cox Automotive’s insight director Philip Nothard said: ‘This new survey reveals some reassuring opinions for dealers. The data shows car buyers want to engage with dealers in the traditional sense – two-thirds want the option to haggle with their dealer to try and force a better price, and 67% want to give their data and business to the dealer instead of the manufacturer.

‘In what will be a surprising stat to some, almost seven in 10 (68%) said they would rather spend more on a car as long as it came with excellent customer service, as opposed to getting a great deal on a vehicle that was accompanied by a poor customer experience.’

Nothard added: ‘As Chris says, the average customer will have little knowledge or interest in the agency model debate. They simply want to be sure that the business they’re buying from will look after them once they take ownership of a car.

‘We’ve said how the sector is changing, but the importance of customer service remains the touchstone of a successful dealer.’

The survey also highlighted an information gap regarding consumers going electric.

Four in 10 of those asked said they don’t know enough about EVs to make a purchase.

Ashton-Green said: ‘That knowledge gap could be partially closed by better online platforms that give the car buyer the information they want, such as battery health. But ultimately, we’re some time away from the masses wanting to make every action related to buying a non-ICE car an online one.

He concluded: ‘The value of customer retention is higher than ever, and brands and dealers that live by the traditional values of excellent customer care will have the best chance of securing it. How customer care is delivered will be a debate that rumbles throughout 2024, so it will be hugely important to get it right.’

Ashton-Green appeared on the Car Dealer Podcast in November 2023 and spoke about Regit’s new partnerships with Sky AdSmart. You can listen to it here.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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