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Jared Hamilton
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Bart Wilson

Bart Wilson Director of Operations, Media

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Improve Customer Experience with a Smoother, Simpler F&I Process

We're excited to have Jason Barrie the Vice President and General Manager of Dealertrack F&I speak at the upcoming DrivingSales Executive Summit this October.  This is a guest blog on improving your customer experience in F&I.

Less than half of consumers are satisfied with how long the car-buying process takes, according to the 2018 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey. For most dealers, this isn’t breaking news; they are aware that it takes a long time to finalize a deal. But what many dealers don’t realize how much F&I is affecting their customers’ dissatisfaction in the experience. 

A major pain point for consumers is the lengthy F&I process that is at odds with the broader shift in consumer shopping behavior. With increasing amounts of information at their fingertips, consumers today are doing more of their shopping online and looking to speed up the buying process at the dealership.

It’s time for the F&I department to take note and adapt accordingly. With the right technology and proper practices in place, dealerships can significantly streamline and improve the customer experience, and as a result, increase profitability.

I’m looking forward to discussing this topic in my upcoming session at the DrivingSales Executive Summit, Improving F&I Processes to Meet Changing Customer Expectations. Join me there to talk more about three key steps that will help you adjust to consumer shopping trends and improve the customer experience at the dealership:

Make the Most of Customers’ Time: Focus on making the most of a customer’s time while they’re in the dealership by connecting the online and in-store experiences. According to Cox Automotive research, nearly two-thirds of consumers are more likely to purchase F&I products if they can learn about them on their own time.  

Make Presentations Interactive: By the time a customer starts the F&I process, they’ve likely already spent two hours at the dealership, plus about 15 hours in advance researching vehicles online, according to the 2017 Cox Automotive Buyer Journey. Therefore, it is key to make sure you have an engaging, interactive presentation detailing F&I product options. This ensures customers absorb the material and make informed choices.

Make Every Experience Personal: Now more than ever, customers want to be in the driver’s seat at the dealership. In fact, according to the 2018 Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail Study, 90 percent of consumers prefer a uniquely personalized car-buying journey. When presenting F&I products, dealers must consider the local climate and geography, previous F&I purchases and the new car to capture a customer’s attention – and their dollars.   

By following these three keys, you will improve and expedite the customer’s car-buying journey, increasing the likelihood they will have a highly satisfying experience and return to your dealership in the future.

I look forward to continuing the dialogue around how we can streamline the F&I process to deliver an improved, technology-enhanced customer experience at the DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas this October.

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