Car Buying Services -- Do You Really Need One?
For starters, when buying services characterize the new car buying experience as a horror story with the consumer cast as the helpless victim and the dealer as a predator waiting to pounce, they’re tapping into a caricature from a bygone era in an attempt to create a perceived need for what they do. This exagerration completely overlooks just how much the auto industry has changed, evolved and grown. Dealers today are fully aware that technology has ushered in an age of transparency and the consumer now has the power to research, compare and evaluate vehicles and dealerships in great depth and detail using online tools like CarSoup.com to effectively get dealers to compete for their business. Buying services work only with dealers who have already agreed to pre-negotiated prices so there’s little or no competition involved and you’re limited to dealers who comply with the service’s rules. And remember, dealers pay buying services a commission, usually in the several hundred dollar range. If you’re willing to invest a little time you can usually beat buying service prices – often by hunderds of dollars. But we digress.
Mick Jagger may not have gotten much satisfaction but car buyers can and do get plenty. Dealeships and manufacturs place enormous emphasis on customer satisfaction at every point in the process. A key finding of the 2015 J.D. Power U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is “that sales staff remains vital to the sales experience. The most impactful sales satisfaction key performance indicator (KPI)—best practice—is interacting with a salesperson who understands the customer’s needs completely. Such salespersons are good listeners, ask relevant questions, and are able to deliver on customer requests demonstrating that even with the growing prevalence of online communications and emphasis on an efficient transaction, the individual salesperson still plays a key role.”
These days, car buyers have ready access to all kinds of information rating dealer performance in various areas plus they can get plenty of feedback from other consumers. Bottom line, dealers have every incentive to put customer satisfaction first and they invest millions to train their sales and service people to deliver a truly professional experience.
If you’ve been out of the market for a while don’t be too quick to buy into car buying services who claim that purchasing a new car is a miserable experience filled with deception and uncertainty. The fact is, you’re in the driver’s seat with all the tools you need to efficiently find the right vehicle, the best price AND a dealership that’ll work hard to earn your business by emphasizing honesty, transparency, respect and a commitment to great service before, during and after the sale.