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Dealers that offer add-ons more likely to be recommended

Neil Addley, managing director at JudgeService

Car buyers are more likely to recommend dealers that offer add-ons than those that do not, according to a new study by JudgeService.

It found the offer of add-ons to be a “significant contributor” to high promoter scores, challenging the popular view that customers are more likely to be irritated when upsold.

Service plans had the biggest positive impact on customer satisfaction in the study, resulting in an average promoter score of 85.3%, compared to 55.5% when not offered.

“What we’ve discovered is that contrary to popular belief, customers actually much prefer to be offered additional products on top of their vehicle purchase and the ability to spread these costs on a monthly basis is making a big difference,” said Neil Addley (pictured), managing director of JudgeService.

“Most dealers would assume that asking customers if they’re interested in signing up for add-ons would annoy them, or taint the relationship they’ve built up, but the opposite seems to be the case.”

“Offering extras when dealing with customers really does go a long way when it comes to how likely they are to recommend you.”

JudgeService previously identified a correlation between customer satisfaction and dealer stock turn, finding those with a higher proportion of ‘satisfied’ customers were selling cars more quickly.

It has outlined the findings of its latest study in its The Power of Customer Satisfaction 2022 report. The research is based on the views of almost 600,000 car buyers between January 2016 and December 2021.

Car buyers responded well to being offered GAP insurance, with dealers achieving a promoter score of 78.8% when offered, compared to 65.9% when not. Finance featured highly, too, with an 80% score, compared to 68.5% when not offered, as did cosmetic repair insurance at 78.8% compared to 65.9% when not offered.

Other positive add-ons were wheel protection, paint protection and extended warranties. Customers also responded well to explainer videos prior to handover.

Test drives remain highly valued by customers, with the research showing dealers with high promoter scores proactively offer them.

Addley said: “We all know that bums on seats sell cars, yet test drives are not always offered and this can have a negative impact on the dealer’s promoter score as well as potentially losing them sales.

“Our research shows if a test drive is offered to customers, the dealer’s promoter score tracked at approximately 50%, if they did not offer one, they scored 20% and if the customer had to ask, it plummeted to -6%.

“Test drives are an established part of the new and used car sales process but not following through and offering them can have a detrimental impact on your business – it’s an easy thing to put right and will help boost customer satisfaction.”

As demand for electric vehicles increases, Zoom EV provides dealers with a new add-on opportunity to offer discounted charging and accident management services to new electric vehicle (EV) buyers.

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