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Auto Financing Customer Satisfaction Not Driven by Just One Element

Auto Financing Customer Satisfaction Not Driven by Just One Element

By Jeff Youngs,

Ensuring customer satisfaction is critical for finance providers, as more than 90% of highly satisfied customers indicate they "definitely will" use their current lender in the future. Further, more than 50% of customers indicate that they selected their provider based on inputs other than dealer recommendations. This is one of several key findings from the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study.SM

The annual study examines the overall customer experience with loans and leases for mass-market vehicles and for luxury vehicles, measuring satisfaction among consumers who finance or lease indirectly through a dealership or directly through an auto finance provider. The study is redesigned this year to include sales transactions for used vehicles, and now looks at the consumer experience four years following loan origination as compared to one year previously.

"The execution of finance process best practices is more important than the innovation of new tools to complete transactions. All lenders use mostly the same technology, but the ones that execute better across all areas are the ones with the most satisfied customers," said Mike Buckingham, senior director of the automotive finance practice at J.D. Power.

Nevertheless, technology plays a key role in ensuring high levels of satisfaction after the lease or loan has been signed. Customers want self-service tools accessible from desktop, tablet, and smartphone platforms that make it easy to set up and monitor account activities. Reliable websites and mobile apps, which are also easy to reference and use, exemplify why automotive finance providers must excel at servicing customers over the life of a loan or lease and not just during the loan or lease origination phase.

Additionally, the study finds that automotive finance customers are more satisfied when obtaining a loan for a new vehicle than a used vehicle, and that buyers who lease luxury vehicles are more satisfied than those who obtain loans for luxury vehicles. The opposite is true for consumers selecting a mass-market vehicle; they are more satisfied with the loan experience than they are the lease experience.

According to the study, within the mass-market segment, Volkswagen Credit ranks highest for satisfaction with an overall score of 836 (on a 1,000-point scale), followed by Ford Credit (835) and Honda Financial Services (829). In the luxury segment, Lincoln Automotive Financial Services ranks highest (867) for a second consecutive year, followed by Lexus Financial Services (859) and Audi Financial Services (854).

Regardless of vehicle segment, or whether the finance customer is obtaining a new or used vehicle, it is important for finance providers to avoid billing and payment errors, which foster a perception that the provider is disorganized.

Additional Research:

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