The automotive industry is getting worse at treating customers well and is has come bottom of a league table for the best service and customer experience.
Among the 14 sectors covered in the third annual Customer Experience Survey from service design consultancy, Engine, the proportion of customers saying automotive was among the best for service dropped from 12.2% to 9.5% – pushing it below insurance (9.9%) and utility (10.3%) companies.
For the second consecutive year, automotive came out as the least reliant sector on customer service.
The proportion citing it as a sector where their choice of company is most influenced by the quality of customer service dropped from 11.8% to 10.1%.
Public transport/trains is the next least reliant on good customer service (12.1%).
“Why is automotive finding it so difficult to improve their customer service perception?” asks Oliver King, co-founder of Engine.
“The problem is that retail staff are working to traditional sales and aftersales processes, often created by siloed teams within manufacturers and groups, which no longer reflect the way people buy and service cars.
“Customer's service expectations have evolved dramatically in line with innovative concepts in the high street and online.
“They're used to multi-channel retail experiences but automotive is stuck in a linear model in a non-linear world. Consequently, they can’t meet customers' current expectations and preferences.”
King said auto retail needs a radical overhaul in becoming more customer-centric but in a modern way to reflect how “customers are becoming savvier so maintaining their loyalty involves moving beyond price and providing service offerings that are easy and enjoyable to use.
Pricing can be copied by competitors but what really wins the day is a beautifully designed service that weaves together great functionality, usability and looks to connect emotionally with customers.”
Openness/honesty is the most valued trait in the way a company deals with customers (cited as a top three trait by 50% of people), followed by efficiency (48%) and reliability (44%).
Efficiency (+4% points) and reliability (+3% points) saw the biggest jump in importance over the last year.
The report also reveals that customers are increasingly likely to recommend a company based on the quality of service (66% vs. 60% a year ago) than they are on price (30% vs. 35% a year ago).
> The total sample size was 1,012 adults. The survey was conducted online during July 4 - 5, 2016. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).