Used cars, people view cars on forecourt at Motorpoint Oldbury, 1st June 2020, via PAUsed cars, people view cars on forecourt at Motorpoint Oldbury, 1st June 2020, via PA

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Doing well but could do better… Buyers deliver their verdict on dealer staff

  • Customers ranked 15 aspects of buying process then said how well their expectations were met
  • Virtual tours and contactless handovers were a hit but trust and transparency are still an issue
  • Autovia research drew on reports of some 60,000 people

Time 1 month ago

Virtual tours and contactless handovers are beating car buyers’ expectations but customers are still unsure about trusting staff and they’re not always happy with the condition of vehicles when they’re delivered or collected.

Those are among the findings of the latest Driver Power research by automotive advice and information publisher Autovia.

It analysed the reports of some 60,000 participants, with the Shopper Survey revealing that dealer staff seemed to be the weakest link in a process that was otherwise almost universally satisfying.

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Efforts to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic have really paid off, with the quality of vehicle virtual tours and contactless handovers consistently beating expectations.

Investment in showroom quality and comfort has also been successful, with dealer premises typically rated as better than expected.

But the thousands of customers who bought a car from a traditional dealer over the past two years said they remained wary of trusting sales staff.

They were also more likely to find fault with transparency, honesty and communications than almost any other aspect of the purchase experience.


Dealer performance also fell below customer demands when it came to vehicle condition on delivery or collection.

Customers were asked to rank 15 aspects of the buying process in order of importance then say if the dealer met, exceeded or under-performed in each.

And Autovia said a surprise finding was that despite finance having a reputation of being a confusing area for many, customers actually rated staff knowledge of options and their ability to tailor finance products to their specific needs the least important.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Autovia, said: ‘Dealers will be concerned to see some aspects of their work failing to completely delight customers.

‘But it’s not all bad news for dealers, who have had the most challenging period in memory, with lockdown closures and unprecedented supply constraints.

‘Our analysis reveals only a small gap between the customer’s experience and expectations in each case where dealers apparently fall short.

“So perhaps a customer verdict of doing well but could do better is only to be expected.’

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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