Dealer satisfaction with their finance companies can be a central point of overall satisfaction within a dealership. In fact, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, great relationships top low interest rates and product mix when it comes to being satisfied with your lenders.
“Across all segments of auto lenders—non-captive, captive mass market and captive luxury—the dealer’s relationship with the credit desk is a key driver of overall satisfaction and the lynchpin to a sustained, fruitful relationship,” said Jim Houston, Senior Director of the Automotive Finance Practice at J.D. Power.
According to Houston, because credit staff is often the first point of contact for credit decisions and problem resolution, the role has to evolve, “with credit analysts becoming much broader subject matter experts and frontline sales personnel taking on a more focused role.”
Here’s what the J.D. Power study found:
- Credit desk is the “tip of the sword” for building dealer satisfaction – For all lenders—non-captive, captive luxury and captive mass market—the credit desk makes up over half the survey weight for overall satisfaction. The dealer/lender relationship was the aspect most associated with high levels of dealer satisfaction, outweighing lender offerings, lease return, and the application and approval process.
- Sales reps move from problem solving to selling value – Dealers overwhelmingly point toward the credit desk as their first contact when problem solving. They look to it far more than sales representatives, sales support staff or regional managers. Dealer satisfaction with sales reps is highest when they focus on portfolio performance review, dealership performance consulting and customer retention.
- Finding the ideal scenario for dealer communications – Lenders believe it's best when their dealers follow a communication pattern. The preferred schedule involves regular monthly visits coupled with weekly contact by phone and email. J.D. Power found that satisfaction with sales reps drops when a contact schedule isn't followed.
The study shows that dealers rely on the credit desk as a key source in problem solving. It points out lenders should think about having some of their most seasoned industry experts in these problem-solving roles.
For the third year in a row, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services ranks the highest among lenders in the captive luxury segment, followed by BMW Financial Services and Infiniti Financial Services. The captive mass market segment was headed by MINI Financial Services this year, far outpacing Volkswagen Credit and Ford Credit who finished in second and third, respectively.
Non-captive lenders were more closely ranked in numbers, with only six points (on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale) separating the first and third place finishers. TD Auto Finance grabbed the top spot, followed by Citizens One Auto Finance in second. Chase Automotive Finance and Huntington National Bank tied for third.
Capitalizing on Your Market
Fostering the relationships between your staff and your lenders can become crucial to overall dealer satisfaction. Someone with financial credit desk experience may also be a great fit for your finance department.
Aside from credit desk relations, another great way to capitalize on your dealership’s potential is by pairing with Auto Credit Express. We can help your store maximize its profit potential with our quality subprime and BK leads, state-of-the-art LotPro software, and full service call center. Give us a call today at 888-535-2277. You can also fill out our contact form online and we will get in touch with you.