Engine: automotive sector amongst the worst for customer service

Design consultancy Engine has found that the automotive sector ranked second from bottom in a poll about customer experience and service.

Engine: automotive sector amongst the worst for customer service

When Engine asked 1,024 adults which sector had the best customer experience/service from a list of 14 options, just 12.2% said it was automotive.

While this was above insurance (selected by just 11.4%), it was below every other sector listed. Utilities only narrowly beat automotive, thanks to 12.4% of the vote. The retail sector came top, with over 38% of the vote.

While consumers weren’t impressed with the standard of their experience, it was also the area where people’s choice of provider was least influenced by their experience, Engine said.

Oliver King, co-founder of Engine said: “Although figures suggest the experience isn’t a strong influence on customer choice, this is because in sales, by the time people reach a dealer, they’ve pretty much decided exactly what they want to buy, so the interaction is much more about ratifying and confirming the product meets their needs.””However, it’s naïve for manufacturers and dealerships to be lazy about customer experience because of the impact it has on the more profitable and ongoing areas of servicing and repairs. For automotive, customer experience is all about ownership. Whilst the relationship may start at purchase, the way customers are treated and the service levels dealerships provide will be the deciding factor in loyalty.”

The survey also revealed that consumers were nearly twice as likely to recommend a brand or company based on quality of service (62%) than they are on price (35%).

King said: “Dealerships and manufacturers can’t afford to think about what’s important to their ‘average customer’ – that person doesn’t exist. Instead, they need to think of the different customer profiles and tailor the experience accordingly for each one. For instance, older people put greater emphasis on the experience being honest, efficient and reliable, while the younger generation put more store on it being flexible and enjoyable.”

The news will be particularly alarming for the industry considering the Financial Conduct Authority’s emphasis on treating the customer fairly.