• “Almost 70%” of buyers would pay more for a car if it came with excellent customer service 
  • EV knowledge gap needs plugging 
  • Consumers prioritise good customer service over getting the cheapest deal 

The modern car buyer prioritises excellent customer service over getting a good price on a vehicle – according to Regit CEO and Founder Chris Ashton-Green. 

Writing in Insight Quarterly, Cox Automotive’s regular look at trends shaping the automotive landscape, he said Regit’s latest survey shows that the issue of good customer service far outweighs hot industry topics, including the rights and wrongs of the agency model and serves as a reminder that the customer is “still king”. 

He said: “In our latest consumer survey, we asked our 2,000 car drivers how they see car buying in 2024 and the overarching message is clear: put quality customer service first.” 

Cox Automotive’s Insight Director Philip Nothard adds: “This new survey reveals some reassuring opinions for dealers. The data shows car buyers want to engage with dealers in the traditional sense - two-thirds want the option to haggle with their dealer to try and force a better price, and 67% want to give their data and business to the dealer instead of the manufacturer. 

“In what will be a surprising stat to some, almost 7 in 10 (68%) said they would rather spend more on a car as long as it came with excellent customer service, as opposed to getting a great deal on a vehicle that was accompanied by a poor customer experience.” 

Chris Green believes the survey findings indicate consumers' preference to engage with dealers in the traditional sense, although that doesn’t necessarily mean “face-to-face”. 

“The drive to give more online options to car buyers who want to reduce physical customer touchpoints should still be prioritised,” he says. “After all, 46% of our users believe it’s important that everything, from finding a car to arranging delivery, should be done online, from the comfort of your own home.” 

Philip Nothard thinks Regit’s findings should be no surprise to dealers in the sector, especially those who set their stall by putting the customer first. 

He said: “As Chris says, the average customer will have little knowledge or interest in the agency model debate. They simply want to be sure that the business they’re buying from will look after them once they take ownership of a car. We’ve said how the sector is changing, but the importance of customer service remains the touchstone of a successful dealer.” 

Regit’s survey highlights an information gap regarding consumers going electric. Four in 10 of those asked said they don’t know enough about EVs to make a purchase. 

“That knowledge gap could be partially closed by better online platforms that give the car buyer the information they want, such as battery health,” Chris said. “But ultimately, we’re some time away from the masses wanting to make every action related to buying a non-ICE car an online one.  

He concludes: “The value of customer retention is higher than ever, and brands and dealers that live by the traditional values of excellent customer care will have the best chance of securing it. How customer care is delivered will be a debate that rumbles throughout 2024, so it will be hugely important to get it right.” 

With more than 2.5 million users, Regit provides digital car management services to drivers, including reminders about servicing, MOT, insurance and tax.   

Read Chris’s full article in the latest Insight Quarterly here.