4 Min ReadNovember 13, 2023

Car Buyers Eager to Shun Idle Time, Not Dealer Showrooms

Car Buyers Eager to Shun Idle Time, Not Dealer Showrooms.

Most dealerships are hyperfocused on building a better buying experience for their customers. Contrary to popular belief, a better experience doesn’t mean shunning the showroom for an entirely online sales process. It means eliminating idle time and dealer rigmarole that stretches showroom visits into endless hours of haggling, paperwork and high-pressure pitches for insurance products.

Consider that our 2023 Friction Points study revealed 91% of shoppers bought from a dealer. So, car shoppers are still coming through the front doors. However, idle time kills satisfaction. The longer customers wait during the negotiation period and to get into the F&I Office, the more dissatisfied they become with the entire experience.

According to our study, the best experiences are those that take no longer than two hours, where customers feel every question is answered so they’re confident in their purchases. That may sound like a contradiction so how do you make the experience both comprehensive and fast? The answer: Leverage a technology-enabled sales process that makes both buying and selling a car easier without sacrificing quality.

Satisfaction-Killing Friction Points

Study after study shows two areas where customers want dealers to do better: price negotiation and the Finance Department. When a customer hears “Let me go talk to my manager” and “Let’s go over to the Finance Department,” dread sets in.

Our research found the most troublesome tasks were waiting on a salesperson and waiting alone, most likely to get into the F&I Office. The longer customers sit idle and time in-store ticks up to a two-hour mark, the lower their satisfaction with the overall process.

Faster Deal Making

The pandemic pushed car dealers to step up online research and buying tools. However, dealers entrenched in old-school sales culture may use websites to merely maneuver buyers into the showroom. This feels like a bait-and-switch to customers who’ve taken the time to complete some of the purchase steps online, only to show up in the showroom and start over.

The most effective way to ditch idle time in deal making is to use the same digital retail tool in the showroom that customers use from home. Yet only 30% of dealers are doing this. Why? Fears of compressed margins and losing control over the process are common. However, the most effective digital retail tools have built-in, dealer-specific guardrails for deal terms.

If you can capture and keep the customer’s journey updated before and after they enter the store, it’ll move customers more quickly toward a sale, without sacrificing the quality of the experience. A customer who sits side by side with a sales associate to review vehicle details, explore financing options and complete a first pencil can ask questions along the way and get the transparency they want to feel comfortable about the purchase. Best of all, there’s no unnecessary time waiting as a sales associate runs back and forth to the manager.

Expediting F&I

Opportunity remains strong in the F&I Department, but again, idle time frustrates customers who are then less likely to sit through presentations and purchase products. While it’s true that some waiting time is to be expected, it can be mitigated when you include F&I in the modern retail process.

Present products earlier online and in-store in the buying journey to help customers move faster through the process once they’re in the office. Upfront product education, with a focus on protecting the vehicle investment, can give customers transparency as well as set up the F&I Manager for conversations that are meaningful to customers.

According to our study, if a customer waited more than 30 minutes for F&I, their Net Promoter Score (NPS) dropped nearly in half. Idle time tanks the likelihood that customers recommend your store to friends and family. Introduce F&I information often and early, and equip customers with tablets to further review products while they wait on the F&I Office if you want a proven strategy to mitigate the negative effects of idle time.

Don’t buy into the misconception that customers are eager to shun showrooms. What they want to shun is idle time. Tackle the friction points you know drag out time in the showroom and you’ll create a better buying experience for your customers.

Share This

CDK Global
By CDK Global
Staff

Recent Insights

Time to Roll Out Summer Sales and Service Campaigns.

Time to Roll Out Summer Sales and Service Campaigns

Whether you consider summer starting on Memorial Day, the last day of school, or the official start on June 20,...
4 Min ReadJun 13CDK Global
CDK Unveils Inaugural Dealership Workplace Study

CDK Unveils Inaugural Dealership Workplace Study

The automotive retail industry is known for long-held stereotypes about its workers and roles. To say it’s a misunderstood industry...
2 Min ReadJun 11CDK Global
Turn Service Customers Into Sales With C R M Equity Mining.

Turn Service Customers Into Sales With CRM Equity Mining

In the competitive world of automotive sales, dealerships are constantly looking for ways to increase their profits and maintain customer...
2 Min ReadJun 10Amber Good
How Dealership Service Departments Can Enhance the Customer Experience.

How Dealership Service Departments Can Enhance the Customer Experience

The spotlight is shining on delivering great customer experiences. In fact, 84% of dealers plan to increase their focus on...
4 Min ReadJun 6Don Zogg
 Car Buyers Visit More Dealerships in May

Car Buyers Visit More Dealerships in May

May was the second month in a row where 87% of car buyers CDK’s Research Team surveyed said buying their...
2 Min ReadJun 3David Thomas
Are E Vs Ready for the Summer Road trip?

Are EVs Ready for the Summer Road Trip?

The all-American pastime of the summer road trip is alive and well. The Transportation Department reported travel rose to over...
4 Min ReadMay 20CDK Global
Dealers Not Confident in O E M E CDK recently released the Dealers Face the EV Transition white paper, which details the pessimism many dealers feel about the electric future. A clear majority (65%) indeed admit to being pessimistic about EVs, and the paper delves into many of the reasons behind that number including the impact to the dealership’s revenue, consumer interest and more.   We also asked dealers about their confidence level in the EV strategy of their respective OEMs. Whether they hV Strategies.

Dealers Aren't Confident in OEM EV Strategies

CDK recently released the Dealers Face the EV Transition white paper, which details the pessimism many dealers feel about the...
2 Min ReadMay 13David Thomas
Bring Modern Convenience to the Showroom Floor.

Bring Modern Convenience to the Showroom Floor

In our technology-driven world, we’ve taken modern convenience to a whole-new level. Consumers expect to order what they need online...
3 Min ReadMay 9Steven Walker
What Dealers Say About the EV Transition

What Dealers Say About the EV Transition

As the electric vehicle revolution propels forward, dealers across the country are coming to terms with learning, selling and servicing...
1 Min ReadMay 6CDK Global
Three Dealership Accounting Woes and Fixes.

Three Dealership Accounting Woes and Fixes

Nothing can steer your auto dealership off course faster than poor accounting practices. And it’s not just about the importance...
4 Min ReadMay 6CDK Global