Five Phases of Satisfaction in Financial Services, Part 1

Center for Performance Improvement - Five Phases of Satisfaction in Financial Services SSI

This is the first of a five-part series for OEM Management, Indirect-lenders, Dealer Principals, Financial Services Managers and Sales Management.

If you’re a veteran of the automotive sales business, then you understand that customers expect and prepare for the experience of dealing with the finance manager. For most, it’s nothing more than a necessary evil of buying a vehicle. But if they had a choice, the customer would like the financial services experience to be more than an extension of the negotiation process.

Research by companies such as JD Power and Associates indicates that the financial services experience has a significant impact on sales satisfaction. So much so that the experience a customer has in finance has more of an impact on retention than how they rate their vehicle.

In fact, customers who rate their finance provider as “truly outstanding” are retained at 82%. This is compared to only 69% retained for those who rate their vehicles as very good.

What customers tell us they expect:

In focus groups conducted to study customer expectations surrounding financial services, here’s what customers said:

  • “Treat me with respect.”
  • “I want the paper work to be easy to complete.”
  • “I want my financing questions answered.”
  • “I want speedy financing approval.”
  • “I want to feel as if I got a fair deal.”
  • “I want the finance agreement to be easy to understand.”
  • “I want financing terms to be clearly explained.”
  • “I want to deal with a knowledgeable finance manager.”
  • “I want to feel as if the finance manager is on my side.”
  • “I want to choose from a variety of finance plans and options.”
  • “I want competitive interest rates.”
  • “I want my billing statements to be timely, easy to understand and accurate.”
  • “I want to feel that this is not a separate transaction.”

When you consider this list of customer desires, it’s clear that what the customer really wants is honesty, integrity, consultation and respect.

Phase 1 – Integrity Based Selling

Putting the Customer First (Understanding Their Viewpoint)

By committing yourself to helping customers get what they want, you will be setting the stage for a natural flow of business success. Customers will want to come to you because they trust you. And after you’ve built a solid customer base, the entire process becomes so much easier.

Here are a few benefits of Integrity Based Selling:

  • Elimination of the guilt factor – Guilt that comes from lying, stealing or cheating a customer can have both short and long term psychological effects. Integrity based selling gets rid of guilt and helps you sleep like a baby.
  • More fun at work – When you know you’re being honest and helping people, the job becomes more fun. And there’s an old adage that suggests “a person who finds a job they love will never work a day in their life.”
  • More money – People who trust you will spend more money. And you’ll get the added benefit of repeat and referral business that will send your profits through the roof.

Set up and deal structure

When the customer sits down in the finance office, they need things set up according to their expressed wants and needs. They don’t want to redo the paper work, play games, deal with “errors” or deceptive practices, and certainly no hard sales tactics.

Billing accuracy

Customers want their payments to fit their budget. They want the coupon books to be accurate and the statements to arrive on time, mailed to the correct address. They want their payment date to be what they requested and they don’t want any surprises.

Value

If your sales team did their job correctly, they built value into the vehicle they sold. It’s your job to show value in the financial services you provide. Customers need to feel that the price they are paying for products and services is worth the money. And they need to feel confident that they made the right decision.

Ongoing Training – for Your Sales Team

Part of your role as a financial services manager is to make sure you address each of these drivers of customer satisfaction within the finance process. This includes your Sales Management and Sales Team, with interval training on their respective roles in the process.

Next Week: Phase Two – Preparation of the Deal