Mini earned top honors for mainstream brands while Kia placed last.

Buying a car is more than just handing over your hard-earned cash and driving away into the sunset. The car-buying experience today is rarely easy; however, that doesn’t mean dealerships aren’t trying to reduce the hassle. According to J.D. Power and its U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study, communication is key between customer and dealership during a car-buying transaction. One key area dealerships can excel? Texting. According to the study, custom satisfaction rises when dealerships text. Thank you, Millennials and your ever-increasing fear of talking to someone on the phone. 

The study, which you can read in its entirety here, studies customers satisfaction when buying a car from a dealership. The study then ranks each brand to see which has the most satisfied car-buying customers. It’s little surprise that luxury automakers excel over mainstream brands thanks to customers spending more money, which allows them more perks and a more comfortable car-buying experience. 

Porsche ranked first in the study with 828 points followed closely by Infiniti, 824, and Lexus, 823. The luxury brand average sits at 804 with Volvo, 770, Alfa Romeo, 759, and Genesis, 736 ranking last. For mainstream brands, Mini, 798, GMC, 797, and Buick, 782, took top honors. Bringing up the rear for mainstream brands included Mitsubishi, 755, Jeep, 749, and Kia, 737.

“These aren’t apples to apples comparisons by any means, but the scores are clear indicators of where shoppers and buyers are going, especially as the consumer base gains a larger mix of younger customers,” said Chris Sutton, Vice President of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power. “Automotive dealerships are slowly moving toward more frequent digital communication, but as customers come to expect this opportunity for engagement, dealers need to pick up the pace for incorporating texting and emailing into the day-to-day sales process. For younger customers, this is how they engage.”

Not only is communication key to customer satisfaction during the car-buying experience, but so is communicating after the transaction as well. The study discovered that dealerships only contact customers after the sale 79 percent of the time. However, when contact is made, customer satisfaction improves by 38 points. That seems like an easy way to make customers feel happy.

Source: J.D. Power