Auto Lenders Trail in Digital Experience

An inaugural study by J.D. Power reveals a stark digital satisfaction gap in the auto finance industry, with only 22% of customers highly satisfied.

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The auto finance industry is facing a significant challenge in digital customer satisfaction, according to the latest findings from the first-ever J.D. Power U.S. Automotive Finance Digital Experience Study, which highlighted a lag in the auto lending sector's digital capabilities compared to similar financial services industries.

With the pressure of shrinking margins and the need for cost-effective customer retention strategies, the study underscores the urgency for auto lenders to enhance their digital offerings compared to their counterparts in retirement planning, property and casualty insurance, and wealth management.

The study revealed a mere 22% of customers expressing high satisfaction with their auto finance digital experiences, significantly lower compared to the satisfaction scores in other sectors. For instance, retirement plan websites and mobile apps score an average of 656 and 728 respectively, while property and casualty insurance platforms score 719 for websites and 716 for apps. Wealth management digital services score even higher, with websites at 704 and apps at 738.

"Strong digital engagement sustains self-service engagement, which is key for auto lenders to increase profitability by reducing costs and retaining customers," said Patrick Roosenberg, J.D. Power's senior director of automotive finance intelligence. He noted a stark contrast in customer loyalty based on their digital experience: 95% of customers satisfied with digital enablement will "definitely return" to the lender's platform, compared to only 60% among those dissatisfied.

The study assesses customer satisfaction based on four criteria: information/content, navigation, visual appeal and speed. It draws from responses of 3,876 automotive finance customers who used their lender's desktop website or mobile app during September and October. Participating companies include Ally Financial, Bank of America, Capital One Auto Finance and others.

This inaugural study does not provide individual scores for the companies, but it sets a benchmark for the industry to improve its digital interfaces.

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