CLEARWATER, Fla. — Marketing, sales and service solutions provider AutoLoop released their most recent white paper, “Mind the Service Experience Gap,” revealing the type of service experience that today’s consumers demand from today’s retailers.

Dealerships lose more than $40 billion every year to customer defection. To find out why, AutoLoop surveyed more than 1,000 auto consumers and 100 auto dealers and discovered dealer shortcomings in three key areas: meeting consumer expectations, providing key services that keep customers engaged, and focusing on the overall customer experience.

In the survey, consumers rated nonautomotive retailers based on their overall purchase experience. Amazon emerged as the gold standard for the modern retail experience, with 57% of Amazon customers ranking the company as the top retailer. Nordstrom and Apple followed, ranked as having the second and third best experiences, respectively.

“Dealers need to look at how non-auto retailers set the bar for the customer experience,” said Doug Van Sach, AutoLoop’s vice president of analytics and data services. “Analyzing why you’re losing business to an aftermarket service center is like analyzing why Nordstrom is losing business to Walmart. The customer expectations are completely different. Dealers should be trying to attract customers with a Nordstrom-style experience, which better embodies the value proposition of dealers.”

When asked, “In which of the following areas do non-automotive retailers most often outperform automotive dealers?,” consumers chose the following: checkout process, transparency of pricing, competitive prices, value for the money, selection of inventory and convenient location.

“It’s not enough to speed up the current process,” said Van Sach. “Dealers need to look at how Amazon and Apple are using technology to make the checkout process instantaneous. Give customers the opportunity to pay for repairs using their mobile device.”

Finally, according to the study, most dealers are too focused on internal operations, such as improving shop efficiency and motivating service advisors to sell, as ways to improve customer retention.

“I think many dealers are focusing on the wrong thing,” said Van Sach. “Instead of asking how they can become more efficient, dealers should be asking how they can improve the customer experience. View your service experience from an outsider’s perspective and adapt it to meet consumer expectations.”

To download a copy of the white paper, click here.