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Customers prefer salesperson with tablet: J.D. Power study

December 6, 2013
Attention, sales teams: Customers report higher sales-process satisfaction when you use a tablet device.
According to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study released in November, sales satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers is 52 points higher when their salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process than when the salesperson does not, in a ranking of 844 to 792 points on on a 1,000-point scale.
"The study finds that tablets are proving to be versatile and effective tools that may help maintain consistency in the sales process, while providing easily accessible and dynamic product information," said Chris Sutton, senior director of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power.
"Although tablet usage has increased from a year ago, dealers are still missing an opportunity to improve their sales experience by providing shoppers with sales information on a single platform that allows them to easily browse options and features with immediate commentary from their salesperson," Sutton said.
Key findings of the report include:
• Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or tablet, at 833 points, followed by a computer printout (820); verbal price quotes (792); and hand-written figures (780).
• Only 10 percent of dealership salespeople are using tablet devices, up from 7 percent in 2012.
• New-vehicle buyers most often indicate that salespeople use these devices to capture their personal information (51 percent); demonstrate vehicle features (41 percent); and display price or payment information (38 percent).
• During the shopping process, consumers most often use their mobile devices at the dealership to access vehicle pricing information (72 percent); model information (52 percent); and search inventory (38 percent).
The rankings are based on experiences of both buyers and rejecters, J.D. Powers noted, with overall sales satisfaction improving 9 points year-over-year to 673 in 2013.
Most Satisfied Customers
The report also offers new-vehicle buying experience rankings by auto brand. Among luxury brands, Jaguar ranks highest in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buying experience, with a score of 740.
Also in the luxury category, Volvo showed most sales process satisfaction improvement, up 30 index points to rank ninth in 2013 (11th in 2012).
In mass market brands, for the fourth consecutive year MINI ranks highest with a score of 718, a six-point increase from 2012. Most improved among mass market brands was Kia, up 33 index points to rank 11th in 2013, versus 16th in 2012.
The 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 29,040 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in April or May 2013, reports J.D. Power, and also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership.