Poor Customer Treatment Gets 12% Sales Decrease

According to J.D. Power, during the recession customer satisfaction with the purchase of a new vehicle has improved compared with 2008, but some automakers are losing 12 percent of buyers to competitors due to poor customer treatment. This year, average customer satisfaction was ranked at 836 points out of 1,000, 11 points higher than last year.

“In this difficult economy, dealerships are working particularly hard to close sales, but need to be attentive to customers without exerting unwanted sales pressure," said Jon Osborn, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Nearly one in four buyers in 2009 reports experiencing sales pressure from their selling dealer."

The study included 38 brands, out of which 29 have improved compared with 2008. Still, according to the study one in five shoppers who choose to leave a showroom do so due to poor treatment, pricing games or sales pressure tactics. And 43 percent of these people will buy the same car, from a different dealer, while 57 decide to go for a different brand. Looking at the big picture, this means a 12 percent loss of retail sales to other brands.

"With the billions of dollars that automakers spend designing, producing and marketing new vehicles, as well as in driving customers to showrooms, it is critical that potential buyers are not pushed out the dealer's door because of a poor customer experience," said Osborn.

"Manufacturers and dealers should be concerned with the experiences of all shoppers, whether they purchase or not. From a buyer's perspective, recollections of their shopping experience include not only the selling dealer, but also all of the other dealers they visited."
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