ATLANTA — Digitizing the F&I process can have lasting, positive impacts on customer satisfaction for automotive retailers, a new study from MakeMyDeal and F&I Express has concluded. Titled “The Digital F&I Experience Study,” the study showed that consumers who had one or more digital elements in the F&I experience were more likely to purchase F&I products, more satisfied with the experience and more likely to recommend the dealership.
The study grouped participants into two categories: those who had at least one electronic element in their F&I experience and those who had a traditional F&I experience. Overall, only a third — 37 percent — of people were satisfied with the amount of time they spend in the F&I office. Add at least one electronic device to the experience and 49% of respondents said they were completely satisfied with the process. That’s compared to 34% of respondents who were satisfied but had a technology-free experience.
“As an industry, we know that the F&I experience is more difficult than it should be, but what we haven’t had until now are the numbers to show how that experience could be affecting the long-term profit potential for the dealership,” said Mike Burgiss, founder and vice president of MakeMyDeal. “By digitizing the experience, dealers will not only have happier customers, but they’ll also reap the benefits of more word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business.”
The study found that 74% of respondents who had an electronics F&I experience were completely satisfied with their purchase experience vs. 56% of those who had a traditional F&I experience. Additionally, 60% of customers who had an electronics F&I experience were very likely to recommend the dealer vs. 39% of those who did not.
“F&I is one of the few remaining areas of the dealership that hasn’t been digitized, and this study clearly shows that there is a real need — and opportunity — for more of the process to be brought online,” said Brian Reed, president and CEO of F&I Express. “Consumers have an expectation to have digital options for just about anything they are shopping for. Auto dealers have a chance to strengthen relationships with existing customers, and ultimately improve their profitability by shifting to a digital F&I strategy.”