The Marchex Blog

How Auto Dealers Can Win Back Buyer Trust

According to our recent study, trust in auto dealerships has become one of the most important factors in the car buying decision. The global supply chain crisis has affected the auto industry with product shortages, pushing buyers to inquire ahead of time about vehicle availability before going forward with the purchasing process. However, communication regarding these challenges has been unsatisfactory for many consumers.  

Most buyers prefer to reach out to dealers over the phone. However, when they do, our data shows that dealers often fail to adequately answer even the most standard questions relating to vehicle delivery and the ordering process. In fact, of the customers that call and contact a dealer representative, 60% do not have their inquiries including make or model availability addressed to their satisfaction. This obviously frustrates consumers–who were initially excited and keen on making a new auto purchase—and shatters trust. 

During this tumultuous time for the auto industry and beyond, it is imperative for auto dealers to maintain trust with consumers through clear communication. According to our latest study, 40% of inbound availability calls contained three or more moments that negatively impacted trust, including but not limited to:  

  • The customer received vague or incomplete answers regarding vehicle availability 
  • The agent exhibited rude behavior, such as dismissiveness or a sarcastic tone 
  • The agent seemed apathetic, or lacked interest in the customer and their needs 

To mend trust with consumers, auto dealers can deploy a variety of possible solutions. Hiring a live representative to answer calls for the dealership instead of using an artificial voice is one easy way to facilitate more personal conversations with consumers. If dealerships wish to use an automated system for their calls, they can take simple housekeeping measures such as testing all virtual phone attendant systems to ensure they work properly and always lead a customer to their desired outcome as soon as possible. Making customers feel heard and respected is likely to lead to positive outcomes for your dealership as customers tend to feel more inclined to work with businesses that communicate effectively with them. 

The global supply chain dilemma has cultivated a stressful, uncertain atmosphere for consumers and dealers alike. It’s more important now than ever to maintain trust with your prospective buyers. To learn more about the current state of consumer trust in auto dealerships through three typical experiences of today’s vehicle shopper, review our latest study’s findings by downloading our whitepaper: Car Buying Has Entered a New Era. How Can Dealers Keep Up?