J.D. Power’s latest Sales Satisfaction Study was released November 12, 2015, and Kia was fourth from the bottom among mass market brands. Kia’s index score of 662 on a 1000 point scale was a full 100 points below the study leader, MINI. However, this study was based on buyers from April and May of 2015. Some improvement steps are already in place, and others can easily be in made before the study is fielding again next spring. Individual stores can increase sales, as well as sales satisfaction with a few low-cost improvements.
The study confirms the top two contributors to Overall Sales Satisfaction are top in Satisfaction with Working out the Deal and Satisfaction with the Salesperson. However, the solution here goes beyond operations with the store. The vast majority of buyers have been to the Kia dealer’s website prior to entering the store. Providing sufficient information online and making it easy for shoppers to find the particular information important to them are key contributors to shoppers’ attitudes when they enter the store. Websites sending shoppers to the store with a better and more ready-to-buy attitude play a key role in sales results and sales satisfaction.
Every store wants its sales people to perform better and do a better job of delighting shoppers. However, there is currently a great deal of variation among Kia stores regarding the online experience and the resulting shopper mindset. The new Kia Digital Certified Solutions program helps in precisely this way. Included in the short list of certified website providers is Dealer eProcess, delivering additional content about every new and used vehicle on the Kia dealer’s site. The following content appears instantly and automatically with no effort from the dealership:
- downloadable factory brochure specific to the model year
- downloadable factory owner’s manual
- industry awards won by the vehicle in that model year
- NHTSA crash test ratings
- EPA green scores
More information requires better navigation. Improved navigation for features and specifications make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Additionally, every photo of every vehicle is available and comparable on the Search Results Page (SRP), as well as the Vehicle Details Page (VDP). Shoppers on mobile devices particularly appreciate this later enhancement, evidenced by the increased number of leads from the SRP, and an increase in leads overall.
For some shoppers, there is an interim step between browsing on the website and arriving at the store. Shoppers make contact via phone, email, chat, and texting. Forcing shoppers to enter the store without prior contact – because chat or texting is not an offered means of communication from the website – can hurt sales satisfaction scores and overall sales. Support for all four forms of communication is provided at no charge on every Kia website from Dealer eProcess.
The J.D. Power study provides empirical proof that there is a correlation between sales satisfaction and the use of tablet computers by the sales team. For brands like Kia, the average satisfaction score from shoppers when the salesperson used a tablet computer was 812 vs. 702, when a tablet computer was not used. Dealers providing more information on their websites put even more credibility in the hands of salespeople armed with tablet computers.
Some of the study results are a function of growing pains. Many brands experience sales satisfaction challenges as sales per franchise increase. In October 2015, Kia sold an average of 65 vehicles per franchise, nearly as high as Ford and Hyundai and higher than Chevrolet. Nonetheless, efforts must be made to improve sales satisfaction to advance the brand and its individual stores. By making the industry’s most advanced website platform 100% co-op eligible, Kia is investing to send shoppers to Kia stores more ready to buy and with a more positive attitude toward the store and its team.