Dealer Trust-Building – Addressing Customer Car Finance Complaints

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FoS) set out its five-year strategy in early June. While two of its three strategic priorities focused on its capabilities, the second carried a strong message for all financial services providers, including dealers:

  • Preventing complaints and unfairness

Reflecting on the announcement, MotoNovo CEO Mark Standish observes: “Customer needs must be at the heart of the dealer model and that FoS highlights the prevention of complaints and unfairness so prominently points to a financing issue to be addressed positively. Given the importance of reputations in an increasingly digital world, preventing complaints should be seen as crucial and should be ‘baked-in’ to product and service development.”

Reviewing the types of motor finance complaints received by FoS, the Ombudsman has identified the following customer complaint themes:

  • Their car is faulty or not of satisfactory quality;
  • Their car or finance agreement was mis-sold or mis-described to them and they’re unhappy with a key term – like the annual mileage allowance;
  • They’re unhappy about charges that they’ve been asked to pay at the end of the agreement;
  • The finance agreement was unaffordable, or they weren’t treated fairly when they were in financial difficulties.

In the ‘new normal’ that businesses are all emerging into after lock-down, the value of service and reputation have become much clearer. With finance so integral to many car sales, preventing complaints and any unfairness through customers’ car financing journeys is a service enhancement opportunity that can help dealers of all sizes. Collaborating with customer-led finance partners must be a natural step. As Standish notes, enhancing service to meet today’s informed, protected and increasingly digitally engaged customer has to be the way forward;

“At MotoNovo, we are committed to supporting dealers to create positive changes for the emerging new operating environment. FoS’ strategy points to the need for change and I’m confident that we can help dealers to start addressing three of the four problem areas identified by FoS that might impact them, their customers and reputation;”

  • Greater use of digital technologies such as our self-serve and findandfundmycar.com tools can help dealers to deliver a thorough and controlled customer journey that signposts all essential information and charges openly and transparently;
  • The first to market, risk-based pricing MotoRate approach is enabling dealers to promote a highly competitive headline APR that potential customers can now to gain a clear and early view of their potential monthly payments, helping buyers to assess the affordability of a car to their budget with the final interest rate tailored to each customer’s circumstances;
  • In a service-led market and as customers assess dealer reviews, select finance partners with great customer feedback – MotoNovo 4.7/5 from over 20K customer reviews.

“At MotoNovo, meeting customer needs is part of our DNA and all of the data says we get it right most of the time. I’m particularly proud of the customer feedback during recent weeks when we helped over 40,000 customers. We don’t take anything for granted; the last three months have crystalised the need for positive change now. We aren’t just aiming to minimise complaints; we are looking to delight customers and enhance that all-important commodity for dealers – reputation.”