How a digital F&I experience may drive customer satisfaction

Digitizing the finance and insurance (F&I) process can have a lasting, positive effect on customer satisfaction for automotive retailers.

Those are the findings of “The Digital F&I Experience Study” from F&I Express and MakeMyDeal.

The two companies have a vested interest in the results since they both operate in the digital F&I space, but that doesn’t mean the study results aren’t worth consideration.

They are consistent with consumers’ shift to digital channels in other parts of the car-buying process.

The Smart Dealer Logo 300x300While much of the car-shopping process has been digitized, either through online tools or desktop tools at the dealership, the companies said, a significant portion of the process for automotive aftermarket insurance products still involves cumbersome printed documents and manually signed forms.

A more detailed look at the issues involved was covered in an article The Online F&I Dilemma: F&I providers talk about the pros and cons of taking the F&I office online at P&A magazine online.

Meanwhile, the study – a survey, actually, of 500 recent vehicle purchasers – found that “consumers who had one or more digital elements in the F&I experience were more likely to purchase F&I products, more satisfied with the experience and more likely to recommend the dealership.”

And, of course, that could mean adding dollars to your dealership’s bottom line.

“As an industry, we know that the F&I experience is more difficult than it should be, but what we haven’t had until now are the numbers to show how that experience could be affecting the long-term profit potential for the dealership,” said Mike Burgiss of MakeMyDeal.

“By digitizing the experience, dealers will not only have happier customers, but they’ll also reap the benefits of more word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business.”

“F&I is one of the few remaining areas of the dealership that hasn’t been digitized, and this study clearly shows that there is a real need – and opportunity – for more of the process to be brought online,” said Brian Reed, President and CEO of F&I Express, which was named 2015 Dealers’ Choice Award winner in F&I technology by publishers of “Auto Dealer Monthly” and “F&I and Showroom” magazine.

“Consumers have an expectation to have digital options for just about anything they are shopping for,” Reed said. “Auto dealers have a chance to strengthen relationships with existing customers, and ultimately improve their profitability by shifting to a digital F&I strategy.”

The study was designed to understand consumer feelings toward the current in-dealership purchase process of F&I products and how it affects their perception of the dealership.

Participants were 400 car buyers who had a traditional F&I experience and 100 who had a digital one.

A digital experience was defined as engaging in at least one of the following activities: providing an electronic signature for a vehicle, completing an entire purchase online without having to go into a dealership, completing the entire vehicle purchase electronically inside of the dealership, and/or reviewing a list of products and services on an electronic device provided by a dealership.


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