Dealers can boost customer satisfaction and get more referrals by incorporating electronic elements into their F&I operations, a study by F&I Express and MakeMyDeal found.
Customers are significantly more satisfied and more likely to recommend a dealership when dealers use an electronic signature, e-menu or e-contract in the F&I office, the study showed. But of the 500 respondents, only 100 had an F&I experience with electronic elements.
"That tells you something about what a small percentage of customers out there today are going through electronic processes," Brian Reed, CEO of product and technology provider F&I Express, told Automotive News. "The customer norm is to use e-signatures everywhere but at the dealership."
Nearly three-quarters of respondents who used an electronic element were completely satisfied with the purchase experience, compared with 56 percent of participants who used a pen and paper, according to the Digital F&I Experience Study, conducted in April and released in August.
Sixty percent of those with an electronic F&I experience said they were very likely to recommend the dealer, while only 39 percent of respondents with a traditional F&I experience said they would suggest the dealer.
Satisfaction with time spent in the F&I office was a low 37 percent overall. But 49 percent of respondents who had at least one electronic element were completely satisfied, compared with 24 percent of participants with no electronic elements. "On average, respondents said if they could reduce their time in the F&I office by 27 minutes, their satisfaction would increase," Reed said. Dealerships can cut the time spent in the F&I office by introducing products online, he said.
Mike Burgiss, founder of dealership software provider MakeMyDeal, a Cox Automotive company, agrees. When consumers go into the dealership, he said, "it will be a more transparent and efficient process because education has already taken place" online. Dealers would benefit, too, because they would be in control of pricing the products and offering them they way they want to offer them, he said. "We can complement both the way the consumer wants to do it and the way the dealer wants to do it."