Dealers risk failing customers in car finance journey

harris shaun

Auto dealers need to ensure they are engaging and informing customers to build successful long-term relationships, instead of focusing on quick credit acceptance as the way to drive sales, the industry has been warned.

The offer of instant credit may be appealing, but the rigours of good lending and compliance mean that informing and engaging customers is fundamental, according to Codeweavers sales director Shaun Harris.

His comments come after the company carried out a mystery shopping exercise of more than 100 dealer websites, which identified a number of issues that need to be tackled to avoid giving customers a poor experience.

Common pitfalls included:

  • No finance tools available
  • Only offering a simple data collection form
  • Potentially misleading copy
  • Poorly presented finance journey
  • Finance presence limited to supplier brand logos
  • Finance from just one lender
  • Static finance offers

Harris argues that it is the ease with which customers can discover the most suitable finance option, rather than quick credit acceptance alone, which will help create a successful sale.

He said: “It is very clear that consumers like the instant gratification from services such as Netflix, but right now regulatory TCF needs and affordability checks outweigh the desire for instantaneous finance.

“Dealers need to move to stream the buying experience to engage and inform customers who want service, and want it now, to bridge the gap between budget setting and payout.”

He added that finance is central to most car buying, so making the process easy and transparent will support an informed buying decision and provide the type of quick service experience many customers are used to from other online purchasing journeys.

Harris added: “By re-engineering the online journey the whole finance process can be lifted and this must enhance the customer’s perception of the dealer.

“The starting point is for dealers to audit their finance presence, track their key car finance trends and seek customer or mystery shopping insights. Simple steps can make a big difference.”

Measures could include providing interactive tools, such as explanatory finance videos, along with calculators, dynamic finance offers and crafting consumer-friendly support copy on the car details page but also on multiple areas of the website.

Codeweavers is wholly-focused on the development of finance sales technology and has supplied specialist software products to the automotive sector for more than 15 years.