As technology continues to become more complex, customer experience efforts must become more compelling to ensure that consumers are equipped to receive the best possible value from their purchases. This dynamic is especially apparent in automotive sales, thanks to the impact of various technology systems being implemented in vehicles of all makes and models.
To avoid potential confusion, car dealers often employ the services of both a sales person and a separate product specialist to ensure a fully comprehensive customer experience. J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study demonstrates the effectiveness of this strategy in improving engagement, with customers who worked with both a sales person and a product specialist reporting a more satisfactory sales experience (836 out of 100, as opposed to 829 from customers who didn’t speak with a product specialist).
“Owners can be challenged with the complexity of today’s vehicles,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “More dealerships are employing product specialists—and more brands, especially the luxury brands, are requiring that the dealers have them—to help the customer have a more thorough ownership experience with their new car or truck. Having a product specialist show the technology to the owner can really ensure the customer gets the most benefit out of their vehicle.”
Looking at the wider scope of the study’s data, Buick found itself as the surprising winner of the top spot in sales satisfaction. The company earned its first No. 1 ranking since 2008 and beat out MINI and Chevrolet for the esteemed honor.
Interestingly, the data shows young buyers—gen Y, in particular—are harder to please than older shoppers, with satisfaction scores 11 points lower than boomer and pre-boomer customers. This relative disappointment may be a function of higher expectations due to inexperience with the process and will be a factor that dealers must address to fully engage the demographic.
The automotive industry continues to be a vertical ripe with customer loyalty opportunities, and this J.D. Power research provides yet another piece of this marketing puzzle.

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