COSTA MESA, Calif., Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With vehicles becoming increasingly complex, buyers are getting assistance from product specialists to help them learn how to use the technology in their new car, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, SM released today.
The study finds that 24% of owners of luxury vehicles and 16% of owners of mass market vehicles in 2016 worked with both a salesperson and a product specialist when buying or leasing their new car, up from 19% and 15%, respectively, just two years ago. The product specialist's primary role is to make the owner aware of the array of technology in their new vehicle and help them understand how to use it. For example, the product specialist helps the owner pair their smartphone to the vehicle's Bluetooth system; shows how to operate the navigation system; and explains the vehicle's audio and communication systems. Owners who work with both a salesperson and product specialist are overall more satisfied with the sales experience than those who work only with a salesperson (836 vs. 829, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale). "Owners can be challenged with the complexity of today's vehicles," said Chris Sutton, vice president of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. "More dealerships are employing product specialists —and more brands, especially the luxury brands, are requiring that the dealers have them —to help the customer have a more thorough ownership experience with their new car or truck. Having a product specialist show the technology to the owner can really ensure the customer gets the most benefit out of their vehicle." Sutton noted that explaining the technology or providing a demonstration at the time of the purchase not only makes the owner aware of all of the technologies within their vehicle, but also helps them understand how to use the technology, which means they are more likely to use them, continue to use them, and, because they see the value, want them in their next vehicle.