Top Customer Experience Trends & Opportunities in the Automotive Sector

Automotive CX Guide: Top Customer Experience Trends & Opportunities in the Automotive Sector

How can automotive industry leaders set themselves apart in 2023?

Consider that 61% of automotive purchasers do not feel the shopping experience has improved since their last purchase. With the average US driver purchasing a new car every 5-8 years, that’s half a decade—or more!—between purchases. And yet, more than half of shoppers feel that the experience hasn’t improved at all.

Is it any surprise that nailing the customer experience can establish you as a leader in the automotive industry? This guide is here to show you how.

At ROI CX Solutions, we’ve been helping automotive experts and businesses enhance their customer experience for decades. Use our comprehensive Automotive Customer Experience Guide to explore the 2022-2023 automotive industry CX trends, changing customer expectations, and key opportunities for CX growth.

Changing Customer Expectations in the Automotive Industry

Recent data is clear: consumers expect more from their shopping experiences—and brands that provide unparalleled customer experiences and service are set to experience the most growth.

The automotive industry is no exception. Vehicles are big-ticket, highly emotional purchases, and customers in today’s modern world expect a personalized, customer-first experience throughout the entire buyer journey. Recent data and trends speak to three key ways customer expectations are shifting in the automotive industry:

The best product isn’t enough

For today’s customers, quality over quantity wins every time—for both the product and the customer experience.

As McKinsey & Company puts it:

Car manufacturers once competed largely on their engineering capabilities: superior driving performance and reliability were their marketing boasts. These qualities still matter, but they are table stakes. The new battleground is customer experience.

That said, a superior product still matters. In a world of electric and connected cars, customers expect advanced personalization and convenience throughout both the purchasing and ownership process. Add-ons, service packages, personalized recommendations, in-car entertainment for drivers, and so on all contribute not only to enhanced driving experiences but enhanced purchasing experiences as well.

CX is driving growth

The trends in recent data on CX in the automotive industry speak for themselves.

According to a study by Accenture:



see CX as extremely important to their future growth.



consider changing their automotive brand after a company fails to deliver a relevant customer experience.



say they would switch to a different OEM if it delivered a better customer experience.

Automotive brands can no longer compete solely based on technology, engineering, and product performance. Instead, the entire customer experience must be considered and reimagined for consistent growth. A study by Qualtrics in 2020 found that Auto Dealers ranked only 9th in customer ratings across 20 leading industries—a ranking that could be improved with an excellent customer experience.

In order to transform customers from one-time buyers into loyal lifetime customers, a standout customer experience is essential.

Digital transformation is here

In 2023, customer experience must go beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar setting. While many car shoppers still visit and purchase from in-person dealerships, just as many are shopping for cars online.

According to recent research,

want more of the purchase process to be online.

under the age of 45 plan to purchase their next car through an entirely online process.

said social media played a role in their purchasing decision.

As consumers become more and more accustomed to making big-ticket purchases online, they’re primed to expect the automotive industry to catch up. While the in-person customer experience still plays a large role, customer experience must transform digitally into a true omnichannel, streamlined experience for customers.

Digital shopping experiences matter more than ever for the automotive industry. Even in-person car shoppers spend an average of 14 hours researching cars online before purchasing. As a result, automotive purchasing decisions are being researched, consulted, and even decided on before a consumer ever walks into your dealership—if they ever do. Emerging tech, such as AI, chatbots, and virtual reality can help make the customer journey seamless.

More importantly, digital transformation isn’t only necessary for meeting customer expectations—it also impacts customer satisfaction and loyalty. In 2021, customers who completed more than 50% of their buying journey online were more satisfied with the vehicle selection and price and less affected by sticker shock. To deliver exceptional customer experiences, from research to purchase and beyond, automotive companies need to be prepared to meet customers in the digital space.

Ready to take the next step?

Create a streamlined buyer journey

Today’s customers are no longer content with the old ways of car shopping: visiting dealerships, test-driving cars, and haggling with salesmen at the showroom. Shoppers today expect more speed and convenience, which is one reason why the time spent looking for a new vehicle is decreasing among today’s consumers. The average number of vehicle dealerships visited before purchasing is declining, too.

As a result, your brand will have fewer in-person opportunities to connect with consumers and impact the buyer’s journey. Instead, CX leaders will provide a streamlined journey that takes into account consumers’ time constraints and preferences so that you can be the first to connect with potential buyers and get them the information they need.

Invest in omnichannel experiences

A key step to creating streamlined experiences is to provide omnichannel experiences for your customers. Today’s consumers don’t want to have to “shop around”—instead, they’re looking for one-click solutions and a connected experience across every touchpoint.

Give your customers the frictionless experience they deserve and expect by using a centralized customer experience platform and solution.

Of course, it’s essential to provide chat, video, and online experiences so that customers can always access your brand at their convenience. However, all of these touchpoints should be connected so that the call center agent your customer talks to today knows they’ve already booked an appointment to test drive three new cars next week. A centralized CX platform and omnichannel support help you meet your customers where they are with integrated systems and a seamless customer journey.

Connect with consumers across the entire buyer journey

A streamlined, omnichannel experience is a must—but this is an experience that should stretch across the entire buyer journey. Far too many automotive companies only connect with consumers during the purchasing stage of the buyer journey—scheduling test drives or talking to customers in the showroom.

According to a Cox Automotive study in 2018, only 1 in 3 buyers know the exact vehicle they’re looking to purchase when they start shopping. As a result, the research and awareness phases of the buyer journey are becoming increasingly important for automotive experts to tap into. Given that more and more of the research for car purchases is happening digitally, providing online resources and touchpoints for consumers in this stage is essential for gaining awareness and creating happy customers from the very beginning.

On the other hand, follow-up after a purchase is just as important—and a huge opportunity for most OEMs and many dealers as well. 59% of customers said they were never contacted by the manufacturer after acquiring their vehicle (and 26% said the dealer didn’t contact them after the purchase either). Extending customer connection beyond the point of purchase goes a long way to not only providing upselling and service opportunities but also cementing a good customer experience and driving brand loyalty.

Delve into data-driven sales

Part of providing a customer experience that sets you above the competition doesn’t just involve meeting customers where they are—but knowing what the customer needs before they even ask.

And how do you anticipate customer needs? With data, of course.

Data-driven sales and marketing allow you to drive sales and impact purchasing decisions by understanding customer needs, concerns, patterns, and habits. Automotive industry leaders can use data such as:


such as dealerships visited, models the customer test-drove, and more


to recommend servicing needs, upselling or personalized products or solutions


to track trends, increase visibility and understand (and resolve) customer concerns


from websites, apps, online tools, and online or digital communication channels

Provide self-service tools

The demand for digital transformation within the automotive industry and customer experience is only growing. Put your customers in the driver’s seat with self-service tools that allow them to get what they need when they need it.

Digital self-service tools support customer needs while also contributing to a streamlined customer experience—and provide you with more customer data, so you can better anticipate customer needs in the future.

According to a 2019 study by Cox Automotive:



report higher satisfaction with their dealership purchase when they can complete paperwork digitally.



cite filling out paperwork or contracts for a vehicle as a top frustration of the purchase process.



And yet? Only 5% of purchasers said they were able to review or complete paperwork and contracts digitally.

Completing paperwork or contracts digitally isn’t the only option for self-service tools. Digital solutions provide a better customer experience across the entire buyer journey, from research to the final contract and beyond. Leaders in CX in the automotive industry can take it a step further with self-service and automated tools. These scalable options allow you to reach more customers without having to scale your team accordingly.

Advanced automation

While state-of-the-art technology might be second-nature for your automotive engineering team, it should be just as at home in your marketing, showrooms, and throughout the entire customer experience.

Not only does automation make the shopping experience easier and more streamlined for your customers, but it also saves time and work for your employees and staff. For example, you might consider automation for the following customer experience touchpoints:

  • Booking test drives, services, and appointments
  • Chatbots to answer questions 24/7
  • VR or video to show the features of different car models
  • Upselling or cross-selling opportunities
  • Website support
  • Processes for qualification, leasing, or other payment options

Prioritize workforce & agent expertise

While automation and self-service tools are becoming increasingly important trends in customer experience, at the end of the day, an amazing customer experience still has a human element.

In a study by Deloitte, 80% of consumers cited “interacting with a real person to ask questions” as one of the most important parts of the car-buying process. Whether that’s a customer service agent on the phone, a car salesman, a service repairman, or a finance manager, ensuring that your entire workforce has reliable expertise and customer-first strategies is essential.

For exceptional customer experiences, working with industry leaders like ROI CX Solutions can elevate your customer experiences, provide expertise for your call center and omnichannel solutions, and ensure lasting customer relationships and satisfaction.

Outsourced Customer Experience

Navigating changing customer expectations and strengthening customer experiences isn’t an overnight fix—so how can automotive companies manage and implement these changes?

Larger automotive companies, such as Volkswagen (VW) and General Motors, are creating a new executive position – the CXO (Customer Experience Officer) – to manage customer experience. A CXO typically partners with other C-suite executives to enact customer experience initiatives across the entire company.

For smaller or quickly growing companies, outsourcing customer experience can deliver similar results. Outsourcing your customer experience not only means you get access to customer experience expertise but also provides a scalable way to provide an outstanding customer experience.

Gone are the days when “outsourcing” meant a subpar call center that was far away and difficult to manage. Modern customer experience outsourcing can manage customer and technical support, customer data analytics, loyalty programs, sales and marketing leads, and omnichannel customer support.

Partnering with experts in customer experience means you can understand your customers, make informed decisions, and capitalize on positive customer experiences—all without the hassle of hiring, training, and managing an in-house team.

Why Outsource in the Automotive Industry?

When you outsource your customer experience, you benefit from the following:

  • Partnering with experts in customer experience, gaining the best expertise without having to hire an in-house expert
  • Getting the best strategy built for you without draining resources or requiring training for your team
  • Access to advanced analytics and CX technology and a team who’s trained to use it
  • Seamless, omnichannel experiences that meet customers where they are
  • Integrated, state-of-the-art technology and systems that make customer experiences easy and match the advanced automotive technology customers expect
  • Instant solutions for customers, with round-the-clock service and self-service options, all managed by your team of experts

Of course, it’s essential to find a proven partner whose expertise in customer experience you can trust. ROI CX Solutions has more than a decade of experience working with customer experience in the automotive industry and knows how to deliver fast, high-touch customer experiences that create happy, lifelong customers.


Customer experience has replaced hardware engineering prowess as carmakers’ critical battleground


In today’s world, customers have come to expect Amazon-like service from all of their purchases, and vehicles are no exception. The rise of digital technology and convenience culture means customer experience is more complex and more important than ever before.

As customers grow to expect seamless service, digital solutions, and a personalized, omnichannel journey, ensuring that you have customer experience experts on your team will set you apart as an automotive leader.

To learn more about the leading automotive CX solutions that can drive business growth, follow our blog or contact us today to partner with leading customer experts.

About ROI CX Solutions

ROI CX Solutions drives customer satisfaction and business success through outsourced customer service and global sourcing management. With decades of experience across our expert team, ROI CX Solutions has innovated results-driven performance and improved customer experiences for brands across a variety of industries. With flexible, customizable solutions, state-of-the-art technology, and world-class customer service representatives, we deliver results for your business—and your customers. | For more information, visit

Interested in a Free Quote?

Get in touch with us today to discover what ROI CX Solutions can do for your business.