As it turns out, that car shopper at the dealership does want the salesperson by their side.
Roadster, a commerce solutions provider for car dealers, partnered with Survata and Talk Shoppe for a study that surveyed more than 1,500 consumers and eight dealers across six brands.
The gist of their findings is that while using technology during the car-buying process is helpful (and vital, really) in making the transaction more efficient, it’s a risky move for dealership personnel to leave the customer’s side during the store visit.
The study contends that, “when a sales agent left their customer’s side, they involuntarily created confusion and distrust around the entire car buying process,” Roadster said in a news release about the study.
A quarter of respondents were confused about what the salesperson was doing when they left, Roadster said. What’s more, if the salesperson left more than three times, there was nearly a 30-percent dip in customer satisfaction.
The solution, however, may be found taking the technology that allows dealers to complete tasks (running credit, trade valuation, scanning driver’s licenses, etc.) without leaving the consumer, and combining it with improvements in in-store training.
“Technology can be an incredibly important part of the car buying transaction, but it takes more than just good software to achieve significant efficiency gains,” Roadster chief executive Andy Moss said in a news release.
“For dealerships to truly modernize, they need to re-examine their in-store sales processes,” Moss said. “In today’s mobile world, leaving a customer alone, even momentarily, can lead to decreased satisfaction levels, lack of referrals or even worse, the loss of sales.”
One problematic area is the fact that nearly a quarter of shoppers said they were asked to resubmit info they had already provided, including things like basic contact information, credit applications, payment term preferences and even the vehicle they wanted to buy.
On the tech side, despite the reluctance by some to adopt efficiency-improving tech, “it is clear that dealerships are listening and moving in the right direction,” Roadster said, given the improvements in total car-buying transaction times.
More than a fifth (21 percent) of consumers said their deal was done quicker than expected, and more than two-fifths (42 percent) said their transaction took less than two hours at the dealership.