Top Customer Experience Trends & Opportunities in the Automotive Sector

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Automotive CX Guide: Top Customer Experience Trends & Opportunities in the Automotive Sector

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How can automotive industry leaders set themselves apart in 2023?

Consider that 61% of automotive purchasers do not feel the shopping experience has improved since their last purchase. With the average US driver purchasing a new car every 5-8 years, that’s half a decade—or more!—between purchases. And yet, more than half of shoppers feel that the experience hasn’t improved at all.

Is it any surprise that nailing the customer experience can establish you as a leader in the automotive industry? This guide is here to show you how.

At Global Response, we’ve been helping automotive experts and businesses enhance their customer experience for decades. Use our comprehensive Automotive Customer Experience Guide to explore the 2022-2023 automotive industry CX trends, changing customer expectations, and key opportunities for CX growth.

Changing Customer Expectations in the Automotive Industry

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The data is in: consumers expect more from their shopping experiences—and brands that provide unparalleled customer experiences and service are set to experience the most growth.

The automotive industry is no exception—vehicles are big-ticket, highly emotional purchases, and customers have come to expect a personalized, customer-first experience throughout the entire buyer journey. Recent data and trends speak to 3 key ways customer expectations are shifting in the automotive industry:


The best product isn’t enough

For today’s customers, quality over quantity wins every time—for both the product and the customer experience.

As McKinsey & Company puts it:
Car manufacturers once competed largely on their engineering capabilities: superior driving performance and reliability were their marketing boasts. These qualities still matter, but they are table stakes. The new battleground is customer experience.

Of course, a superior product still matters. In a world of electric and connected cars, customers are coming to expect advanced personalization and convenience both throughout the purchasing and ownership process. Add-ons, service packages, personalized recommendations, and in-car entertainment for drivers, etc. – these all contribute not only to enhanced driving experiences but enhanced purchasing experiences as well.


CX is driving growth

The trends speak for themselves.

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92% of dealers see CX as extremely important to their future growth.
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46% of customers say they would switch to a different OEM if it delivered a better customer experience.
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47% of customers consider changing their automotive brand after a company fails to deliver a relevant customer experience.

Automotive brands can no longer compete solely based on technology, engineering, and product performance. Instead, the entire customer experience must be considered and reimagined for consistent growth. A study by Qualtrics in 2020 found that Auto Dealers ranked only 9th in customer ratings across 20 leading industries—a ranking that could be improved with an excellent customer experience. In order to transform customers from one-time buyers into lifetime brand believers, a standout customer experience is essential


Digital transformation is here

In 2023, customer experience must go beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar setting. While many car shoppers still visit and purchase from in-person dealerships, just as many are shopping for cars online.

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want more of the purchase process to be online.
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under the age of 45 plan to purchase their next car through an entirely online process.
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said social media played a role in their purchasing decision.

Top CX Opportunities for the Automotive Sector

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So, with customer experience taking top priority for growth in the automotive industry, how can automotive companies set themselves apart when it comes to customer service?

Transforming the customer experience involves a number of components, including:

Automotive transformation includes the ability to scale fast, to amass data at every customer touchpoint, and to measure the customer experience in a manner that reveals precisely how to improve it.

Fortunately, at Global Response, exceptional customer experiences are our expertise. That’s why we’ve created this guide to identify the top opportunities for customer experience in the automotive sector that will accelerate your brand to the top of buyers’ minds.


Create a streamlined buyer journey

Today’s customers are no longer content with the old ways of car shopping: visiting dealerships, test-driving cars, and haggling with salesmen at the showroom. Shoppers today are time-strained and looking for convenience, which is one reason why time spent looking for a new vehicle is decreasing among today’s consumers. The average number of vehicle dealerships visited before purchasing is declining, too.

All of this means you have fewer in-person opportunities to connect with consumers and impact the buyer journey. Instead, provide a streamlined journey that takes into account consumers’ time constraints and desires so that you can be the first to connect with potential buyers and get them the information they need.


Invest in omnichannel experiences

One of the best ways to create streamlined experiences is by providing omnichannel experiences for your customers. Today’s consumers don’t want to have to “shop around”—instead, they’re looking for one-click solutions and a connected experience across every touchpoint.

Give your customers the frictionless experience they deserve and expect by using a centralized customer experience platform and solution.

Of course, it’s a must at this point to provide chat, video, and online experiences, so that customers can always access your brand at their convenience. However, all of these touchpoints should be connected so that the call center agent your customer talks to today knows they’ve already booked an appointment to test drive three new cars next week. A centralized CX platform and omnichannel support help you meet your customers where they are with integrated systems and a seamless customer journey.


Connect with consumers across the entire buyer journey

A streamlined, omnichannel experience is a must—but this is an experience that should stretch across the entire buyer journey. Far too many automotive companies only connect with consumers during the purchasing stage of the buyer journey—scheduling test drives or talking to customers in the showroom.

According to a 2018 Cox Automotive Study, only 1 in 3 buyers know the exact vehicle they’re looking to purchase when they start shopping.

As a result, the research and awareness phases of the buyer journey are becoming increasingly important for automotive experts to tap into. Given that more and more of the research for car purchases is happening digitally, providing online resources and touchpoints for consumers in this stage is essential for gaining awareness and creating happy customers from the very beginning.

On the other hand, follow-up after a purchase is just as important—and a huge opportunity for most OEMs and many dealers as well. 59% of customers said they were never contacted by the manufacturer after acquiring their vehicle (and 26% said the dealer didn’t contact them after the purchase either). Extending customer connection beyond the point of purchase goes a long way to not only providing upselling and service opportunities but also cementing a good customer experience and driving brand loyalty.


Delve into data-driven sales

Part of providing a customer experience that sets you above the competition doesn’t just involve meeting customers where they are—but knowing what the customer needs before they even ask.

And how do you anticipate customer needs? With data, of course.
Data-driven sales and marketing allow you to drive sales and impact purchasing decisions by understanding customer needs, concerns, patterns, and habits. Automotive industry leaders can use data such as:

Physical touch points

such as dealerships visited, models the customer test-drove, and more

Digital touch points

from websites, apps, online tools, and online or digital communication channels

Social media listening

to track trends, increase visibility and understand (and resolve) customer concerns

In-car sensors and data

to recommend servicing needs, upselling or personalized products or solutions


Provide self-service tools

The demand for digital transformation within the automotive industry and customer experience is only growing. Put your customers in the driver’s seat with self-service tools that allow them to get what they need when they need it.

Digital self-service tools support customer needs while also contributing to a streamlined customer experience—and provide you with more customer data, so you can better anticipate customer needs in the future.

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74% of customers report higher satisfaction with their dealership purchase when they can complete paperwork digitally.
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29% of customers cite filling out paperwork or contracts for a vehicle as a top frustration of the purchase process.
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And yet? Only 5% of purchasers said they were able to review or complete paperwork and contracts digitally.

Completing paperwork or contracts digitally isn’t the only option for self-service tools: digital solutions provide a better customer experience across the entire buyer journey, from research to the final contract and beyond. Even better: self-service and automated tools are scalable options that allow you to reach more customers without having to scale your team accordingly.


Advanced automation

While state-of-the-art technology might be second-nature for your automotive engineering team, it should be just as at home in your marketing, showrooms, and throughout the entire customer experience.

Not only does automation make the shopping experience easier and more streamlined for your customers, but it also saves time and work for your employees and staff.

  • Booking test drives, services, and appointments 
  • Chatbots to answer questions 24/7 
  • VR or video to show the features of different car models 
  • Upselling or cross-selling opportunities 
  • Website support
  • Processes for qualification, leasing, or other payment options

Prioritize workforce & agent expertise

While automation and self-service tools are becoming increasingly important trends in customer experience, at the end of the day, an amazing customer experience still has a human element.

In a study by Deloitte, 80% of consumers cited “interacting with a real person to ask questions” as one of the most important parts of the car-buying process. Whether that’s a customer service agent on the phone, a car salesman, a service repairman, or a finance manager, ensuring that your entire workforce has reliable expertise and customer-first strategies is essential.

For exceptional customer experiences, working with industry leaders like Global Response can elevate your customer experiences, provide expertise for call centers and omnichannel solutions, and ensure lasting customer relationships and satisfaction.

Outsourced Customer Experience

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Navigating changing customer expectations and strengthening customer experiences isn’t an overnight fix—so how can automotive companies manage and implement these changes?

Larger automotive companies, such as Volkswagen (VW) and General Motors, are creating a new executive position – the CXO (Customer Experience Officer) – to manage customer experience. A CXO typically partners with other C-suite executives to enact customer experience initiatives across the entire company.

For smaller or quickly growing companies, outsourcing customer experience can deliver similar results. Outsourcing your customer experience not only means you get access to customer experience expertise but also provides a scalable way to provide an outstanding customer experience.

Gone are the days of “outsourcing” meaning a subpar call center that’s far away and difficult to manage. Modern customer experience outsourcing can manage customer and technical support, customer data analytics, loyalty programs, sales and marketing leads, and omnichannel customer support.

Partnering with experts in customer experience means you can understand your customers, make informed decisions, and capitalize on positive customer experiences—all without the hassle of hiring, training, and managing an in-house team. 

Why Outsource in the Automotive Industry?

When you outsource your customer experience, you benefit from the following:

Of course, it’s essential to find a proven partner whose expertise in customer experience you can trust. Global Response has more than a decade of experience working with customer experience in the automotive industry and knows how to deliver fast, high-touch customer experiences that create happy, lifelong customers.


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Customer experience has replaced hardware engineering prowess as carmakers’ critical battleground.

About Global Response

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