Low price and a high standard of customer service. You want both, right?
Unfortunately, a great price doesn’t always come with great customer service.
It goes without saying that price is one of the biggest, and in some cases the biggest, consideration for customers when deciding on a purchase. But, no matter how great the price is, we want to have our expectations met and have a hassle free experience.
While pricing in the automotive industry is becoming increasingly competitive and therefore more attractive, research shows that no matter how good the deal is, customers want and expect great customer service.
So, can you have a great price and a great customer service experience? You can, but there are things you should be aware of beforehand.
In this article we will explore pricing in the automotive industry, what to be aware of when your search is based purely on price and any hidden costs that may surprise you after you’ve signed the contract. Not only that, but we will also be discussing how to avoid the risks of poor customer service.
It’s imperative that you are fully educated and can make great decisions about getting the right vehicle at the right price, whilst receiving the service standards you expect. And by exploring the topics above, you will be able to compare price vs customer service, establish what is important to you, and know how to handle your buying decisions in the best way possible.
What affects car prices?
There are a number of factors that affect the pricing in the industry, such as;
- Manufacturer/Dealership targets
- Model changes and facelifts
- Residual values
- Type of Finance Method
- Length of contract
- Which Funder you go with
- End of Quarter deals
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the most common factors that affect prices. If you are dealing with a knowledgeable broker or dealer, they will know exactly what will influence the price of your car, and therefore access pricing that works for you.
By educating yourself on what affects pricing in the automotive industry you will be more aware that any ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals advertised on websites, which may not be quite as good once some of the above factors have been clarified. For example, they may be advertising that deal with a funder that would not be right for your circumstances so the price could become considerably higher.
Are there hidden costs when leasing a car?
If you work with an honest and transparent broker that cares about customer service, they will tell you exactly what is included in the price and what is not.
If a company doesn’t care about customer service, they may not educate you on the ‘small print’.
Some of the things you should look out for are:
- Administration and processing fees
- Delivery costs
- Additional costs for trailer deliveries
- Any other paperwork costs
There are also things that you should take into consideration when thinking about your budget, such as;
- Servicing costs
- Excess mileage charges
We’ve only touched upon this topic but we have an article dedicated to hidden costs when leasing a car right here.
What customer service should I expect when leasing a car?
The industry is complex, and there are many challenges that could arise. Therefore, it is crucial that you have peace of mind that you are dealing with a supplier that places high levels of importance on customer service.
We have worked with many customers that tell us stories about past experiences and the common challenges seem to be:
- Delays with the timeframe for delivery
- Hidden charges
- The excess mileage charges weren’t explained fully
- Customer wanted a trailer delivery and got a driven delivery
- Customer was promised a delivery date that was not met
- Deposit being taken at a different time to when the customer was expecting
- Manufacturer delays or problems with parts
- Prices quoted did not include everything the customer needed
All of these challenges can be minimised or even eliminated with great customer service, honesty and transparency.
In many of these cases, the customers were tempted by great price, but when it came to the challenges; the supplier did not have the expertise, commitment or resources to sort the problem out.
So, although we want a great price, better service is usually worth the extra cost.
As in any industry, customer service is really important because not only does it give you a hassle-free experience, but it also reassures you that the company you are working with is trustworthy and knowledgeable.
How can I be sure my leasing company will offer great customer service?
It’s hard to be 100% sure that your leasing company will be offering you great customer service. However, there are a number of ways that you can maximise your chances of receiving outstanding customer service. These include:
- Check their accreditations.
- A reputable company should be members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- For more information on what accreditations you should look for in a leasing company you can read our article here.
- Review testimonials
- Check how long they have been trading for
- A company that has been trading for a longer period of time are likely to be more experienced and have strong relationships with a variety of finance houses and manufacturers.
- Read their mission statement/values/vision of the business
- A company that puts customer service first is your best bet for getting great customer service.
- Ask lots of questions
- A company that listens and answers all the questions you have is much more trustworthy and reputable than a company that starts to sell you something before they have even discussed your situation with you.
You can also get a good feeling about what kind of service you are likely to receive by the conversations you have with your supplier, you should ask yourself:
- Are they informative?
- Do they listen effectively to what I need?
- Have they demonstrated that they have my best interests at heart?
- Are they pushy or consultative?
This will enable you to evaluate whether they consider customer service valuable.
What sort of questions should I ask my vehicle supplier?
Some of the questions I recommend you asking are;
- How will you keep me updated on the progress of my order?
- How often will I hear from you?
- What is your process if my car is delayed?
- What other costs are involved?
- What is the processing fee?
- How will my car be delivered?
- Will I get car mats included?
- What happens if I change my mind?
- Are there any cancellation costs if I change my mind?
- What happens if I don’t like the car when it arrives?
Of course, you can ask as many questions as you like and your supplier should be happy to answer all of them. By doing this you can be sure that there are no grey areas you and you know exactly where you stand.
While this is such a huge topic, I have provided an insight into some of the disadvantages of going with low price options and how to make sure that you will still get the customer service you expect. Ultimately, it is all down to the supplier you choose to go with. If they are reputable, then you are sure that they will provide you with the customer service you deserve.
Andrew has been in the motor trade for over 20 years. What he enjoys most about his job is the team spirit and the dedication of his work colleagues. He also appreciates the teams input in the improvement of the company.
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