At the end of July 2023, the new Consumer Duty regulations drawn up by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will come into force. They’ve been designed to ensure that consumers get better protection and higher standards when dealing with financial services, including the finance options offered by dealerships like yours.

If you haven’t already taken steps to prepare for the new requirements, then there’s no time to lose in exploring what the guidelines mean for the quality, frequency and security of your customer communications. This blog explains what the new rules mean for you, and gives you practical advice on how you can enhance and update your business processes accordingly.

Compliant communication

Retailers in the automotive sector will have a tricky balance to strike as the new rules come in. They’ll need to ensure they’re fully compliant from day one, prioritising the customer journey and communications touchpoints along the way.

For many, this will require fundamental changes to be made to business models, and evolving processes that have been relied on for many years. An integrated showroom management system like Dealerweb Showroom can ease this change, by bringing every part of the customer journey into one place. New, compliant finance processes can be managed through the platform alongside related functions like lead management, order progression and customer offers.

Under the new rules, retailers will be expected to ensure that every customer gets transparent, honest experiences when arranging car finance. Dealerweb Showroom can facilitate this level of quality communication, and leave customers in no doubt what they’re paying for, and what support they can receive from sales and aftersales teams. Furthermore, it also allows communications to be documented and tailored for more personalised journeys across different platforms.

Integration efficiency

The availability of car financing options holds a great significance for today’s customers, taking into account the current challenges posed by the cost of living crisis and economic uncertainty. At the same time, customers must have the confidence that their hard-earned cash is being spent on a fair deal, which is why all finance offerings (including via third parties) must be FCA-authorised.

It’s for that reason that Dealerweb Showroom integrates with several different FCA-approved finance providers, including Automotive Systems UK Limited, Automotive Compliance Ltd, ITC Compliance Limited, AutoProtect, Peak Consultants Bristol, DealTrak, Santander Consumer (UK) plc, Black Horse Finance, Volkswagen Financial Services, and Codeweavers Ltd. This integration enables customer journeys that are secure, error-free and transparent.

Customers should also be able to fully understand the finance agreements that they’re signing up for, and to feel that they’re making informed decisions about purchasing and contractual obligations. To support this, Dealerweb Showroom has an integrated ‘FCA Demands & Needs’ module that allows customers to complete an interactive decision-tree process, minimising risk and improving experiences for both customer and retailer.

Data-driven insights

Using monitoring to find ways of improving customer outcomes is one of the key principles within the new FCA guidance, using the abundance of customer and industry data that retailers have at their disposal. This data should be analysed to uncover valuable insights and identify where efficiencies and improvements can be applied.

Dealerweb Showroom collates all the customer data inputted by sales advisors with the organic data collected from sales leads, and industry data such as used vehicle information. Collectively, all this data can be used to work out what the best possible outcome looks like for each individual customer, and how to go about delivering that outcome.

On a practical level, Dealerweb Showroom presents those insights through its real-time management reporting suite, where live performance metrics across all parts of the sales department can be viewed and benchmarked. These include (and are not necessarily limited to): enquiry levels and test drives, sales and conversion ratios, average profit, and finance penetration. This makes it quick and easy to identify any problem areas and focus energies on making improvements in the right areas.

In summary

The FCA Consumer Duty regulations might sound like more red tape at first, but they should actually be viewed as a positive opportunity. It’s the perfect chance to review your processes and make improvements that will generate even better customer experiences, which will ultimately boost your bottom line in the long run. And with the integrated management, customer journey support of Dealerweb Showroom, you’ll be best-placed to make the most of the changes ahead.

Find out more on how Dealerweb can help you align your processes with FCA Consumer Duty here.

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