By Mia Bevacqua
Last week, J.D. Power announced the findings from its 2019 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study. The survey, which polled 14,850 customers, is broken down into two segments: luxury brands and mass-market brands.
Lexus Financial Services, Lincoln Automotive Financial Services and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services tied for first place in the luxury segment. Meanwhile, out of the mass-market brands, Ford Credit scored top honors. Capital One Auto Finance took second place and GM financial came in third.
The study documents other interesting findings, as well. For instance, 52% of consumers now research auto financing options before visiting a dealership. And overall satisfaction with the finance process improves when shoppers conduct research online beforehand.
“We are investing in making our online experiences faster and easier and designing them so customers can work with us in the channels they prefer and on their schedules,” said Sylvia Veitia, Ford Credit executive vice president of Operations and Customer Experience.
“Our goal is to make the experience effortless and transparent, from when our customers first start researching a new car all the way through to financing, owning and ultimately getting into their next vehicle and, hopefully, many more.”
Today’s consumers are more likely to pay their auto loan bill online, too. Even most (68%) of those who still receive paper statements say they pay their bill digitally. Furthermore, the number of customers who receive electronic billing statements is up 6% since last year.
J.D. Power also found that, when an online bill pay function is user-friendly, overall satisfaction with auto lenders increases. Easy-to-read billing statements also improve customer satisfaction.
“Auto finance customers are more educated than ever and, as a result, they have a much higher expectation for a seamless digital experience that enables them to effortlessly search for vehicle features and local inventory as well as financing options and terms,” said Jim Houston, Senior Director of Automotive Finance Intelligence at J.D. Power.
“The benchmark for a good digital experience is no longer other auto finance companies; rather, it’s consumer-facing sites like Amazon and Netflix that recognize what users are looking for and deliver the right information within one or two clicks.”