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Dealers crucial for vehicle purchase, J.D. Power study finds

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Online tools may make it easier for consumers to shop for vehicles and products at home, but interacting with a salesperson is a key component of high customer sales satisfaction, a J.D. Power study finds.

The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study reports that while car buyers can study vehicles online before entering a dealership, they want to interact with a salesperson before buying.

“Dealers can’t control a customer’s pre-purchase activities, but they should be prepared to positively influence areas that will affect a customer’s likelihood to buy as well as their level of satisfaction,” Chris Sutton, vice president of J.D. Power’s automotive retail practice, said in a statement.

As vehicles add emerging technologies, shoppers rely on dealerships for in-person demonstrations. The study finds 41 percent of mass-market buyers and 33 percent of luxury buyers want full tutorials of vehicle features and controls during delivery.

Additionally, buyers respond to follow-up calls or texts from dealership employees after purchase, the study finds, reporting 80 percent of mass-market buyers and 87 percent of luxury buyers said they were contacted.

Sutton said virtual engagement is important to the buying process and encourages dealerships to update their websites with specials and to post photos of inventory.

“These simple things go a long way toward earning a sale and satisfying a customer,” he said.

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