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JIM HENRY

F&I wait times have virtual repercussions

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.

LAS VEGAS -- Dealerships know that customer satisfaction suffers if car buyers spend time sitting outside the F&I office.

But there’s another reason why dealerships should slash F&I wait times: 63 percent of customers who use their mobile devices at dealerships use them to shop online for other vehicles and better deals at other dealerships.

That’s according to Steve Braskamp, national sales director for Capital One Auto Finance. He cited J.D. Power and Associates research in a speech Monday at the Industry Summit here.

By the same token, he told audience members, many of whom were dealership employees, if your customers are checking out other dealerships while they wait, customers at other dealerships are checking out your website, too.

“Your website is your storefront,” Braskamp said, so how mobile-friendly is it? “Can you get pricing? Can you see positive reviews? Prepaid maintenance and warranty contracts and availability -- are they on your website?”

If not, he said, the customers you keep waiting might leave, and the other guy’s customers may stay right where they are.

There’s nothing virtual about that lose-lose.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@crain.com

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