Customers Utilize Greater Variety of Research Sources to Find the Best Deal, J.D. Power Finds

Customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle sales experience has increased in Malaysia, as shoppers are conducting more preliminary research across a greater variety of sources in advance to find the best deal in the market, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Malaysia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released recently.

More than 3 in 10 (31%) customers are using the internet to research their new-vehicle purchase, compared with 27% in 2016. Online searches are predominantly centred on vehicle pricing/financing and promotions (91%) as well as vehicle features and specifications (63%). Three of the most often visited websites are auto consumer websites/ portals (55%), car websites/ forums (45%) and dealer websites (28%).

Furthermore, customers are becoming increasingly knowledge-driven and are using various information sources when shopping for their new vehicle. The study finds that 44% of customers research price guides prior to their purchase decision, an increase of 13 percentage points from 2016, and 62% of customers either visit auto shows and/or displays at shopping malls, compared with 53% in 2016.

“Customers are taking the initiative to become more self-informed, with more carrying out their due diligence before making any purchase decisions,” said Muhammad Asyraf Bin Mustafar, Country Head of Malaysia at J.D. Power.

“Dealerships are consequently stepping up and becoming more proactive while focusing more closely on their customers. Automotive dealers that are better focused on engaging with their customers can benefit from a higher level of sales satisfaction among their customers.”

Moreover, the percentage of customers who have seriously considered another model has increased by 24 percentage points year over year (44% vs. 20%, respectively). The study also shows a year-over-year increase of 11 percentage points in the proportion of customers who have had their salesperson provide comparisons with other models (49% vs. 38%, respectively).

Salespersons are also providing customers with more explanations of vehicle features and benefits, such as showing catalogues/ brochures (75% vs. 69% in 2016) and demonstrating features during test drive more often (49% vs. 42% in 2016).

Furthermore, 91% of customers indicate they were asked about their customer profile, usage, needs and requirements, an increase of 3 percentage points from 2016. Satisfaction among customers who were asked about their profile by their salesperson increases by 47 points (on a 1,000-point scale) to 808 from 761 among those who were not asked.

Following are some key findings of the study:

>Overall satisfaction has increased: Customers are more satisfied this year with their overall purchase experience, compared with 2016 (12% vs. 8%, respectively). Overall satisfaction among delighted customers has increased to 923 points in 2017 from 901 points in 2016.

>Test drives increase satisfaction: Overall satisfaction among customers who are offered a test drive averages 810, which drops to 783 among those who are not offered a test drive. The percentage of customers offered a test drive this year increases 13 percentage points from 2016 (80% vs. 67%, respectively).

>Free gifts are appreciated: More customers indicate receiving additional freebies from their dealer this year, with accessories (51%) and gifts (39%) being the most received. Satisfaction increases by 36 points when customers receive any freebies, than those who did not (811 vs 775, respectively).

>Faster delivery time pays off: More than 4 in 10 (43%) customers indicate they experienced a better-than-expected delivery time, a 3-percentage-point increase from 2016. The incidence of the delivery time being rescheduled by the salesperson from the original time has decreased in 2017 from last year (42% vs. 50%, respectively). Overall satisfaction is higher when no rescheduling of the delivery date is needed (820), compared to when there is rescheduling (782).

Study Rankings
Overall sales satisfaction in the mass market segment averages 804 points in 2017, compared with 789 in 2016. Isuzu and Toyota rank highest, in a tie, with a score of 823 each. Isuzu performs particularly well in the sales initiation, dealer facility and delivery timing factors. Toyota performs highest in the deal, salesperson and delivery process factors.

About the Study
Now in its 15th year, the study is based on responses from 2,130 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles from August 2016 through May 2017. The study was fielded from February through July 2017.

The 2017 Malaysia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study examines sales satisfaction in the mass market segment across six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience (in order of importance): salesperson (19%); dealer facility (19%); delivery timing (17%); deal (16%); delivery process (16%); and sales initiation (13%).

Chart link here.
2017 Malaysia SSI Charts
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