Technology innovations and supply shortages are upending long-standing vehicle buying patterns, but these emerging trends simply reinforce the need to keep a sharp focus on customers.
Chip shortages are driving up new and used auto prices at a rapid pace. The difference between new and used car payments is the smallest on record, according to Edmunds. Used vehicle monthly payments are averaging close to $500 while new vehicle payments are about $600 on average. Yet auto delinquencies are remarkably low, says TransUnion.
Profits for auto dealers are explosive, according to Kerrigan Advisors. But growing numbers of new and used vehicle purchases are occurring online while some electric car makers are bypassing sales at dealerships altogether.
Keeping pace with buyers
Staying relevant means keeping pace with what consumers want and need not just during the buying process, but afterwards with auto finance communications. After all, the billing and payment relationship lasts far longer than the purchase experience.
Auto loan term lengths are trending up, with growing interest in 72-month and even 84-month loans. That’s six to seven years of relationship-building. A good communications relationship can help customers keep up with payments and return for years of purchases.
Catering to communications expectations
Dealers and auto finance companies can benefit from the rising preference for digital experiences to encourage prompt payments and build repeat business. Key content and distribution strategies leverage technology to personalize each consumer’s interactions.
- Offer omnichannel
Auto lenders should honor the communication channel preferences for customers. While paper bills and mailed payments remain important, offering a digital experience after the sale is essential. Nearly half of consumers want digital billing statements compared to 24% who prefer paper and 28% who prefer a combination of digital and paper statements, according to ACI Speedpay Pulse.
Customer communications management (CCM) technology can enable an omnichannel approach. CCM technology gives companies the power to create and distribute paper, email and text communications on a single platform. It also makes it easy to develop personalized messaging.
A CCM platform also can integrate with print production and mail services and electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) systems, offering a complete billing and payments solution. EBPP systems securely enable digital account management and accept a range of payment methods such as ACH, credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, or Amazon Pay.
Combining digital billing and payments with interactive voice response (IVR) for phone calls also offer greater consumer convenience. When using IVR, consumers can save time by creating a profile with payment information that can be used each time they’re ready to pay, eliminating the need to repeatedly enter payment details.
- Cater to mobile
More people use their phones to view statements and pay bills. Not only is email a mobile option, but auto finance companies can upload digital statements into Apple Wallet and Google Wallet on smartphones using ExpressoWallet®. Loan balance and payoff amounts are presented in real-time, with convenient customer connection links to payment portals and push notifications that alert borrowers a payment is due or has been received.
- Make statements easy to understand
Too often, the content in billing statements can be confusing. To cut through the clutter, be sure to place the payment amount at the top of the statement in a bold color with a prominent link to make an online payment. Paper statements also can encourage a move to digital with “go paperless” links. Also, both paper and digital communications can promote setting up automatic payments.
Our ExpressoFinancial® CCM platform makes it fast and easy to implement these strategies. ExpressoFinancial seamlessly links to our ExpressoPay® electronic bill presentment and payments system, enabling customers to manage the entire billing and payments cycle on one platform.
Connect with us to learn more about how we can help you meet the communications preferences for consumers who finance their vehicle purchase.