APD reveals changing sentiments towards leasing sector

Results from the 2019 APD Business Driver Sentiment Report highlight the impact supply issues relating to the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) had on driver confidence and satisfaction with the leasing sector.

An analysis of data collected from 54,027 individual business driver surveys across eight different event types (accident; breakdown; delivery; glass; order; service or repair; short-term hire; and tyres) revealed that whilst overall customer satisfaction (CSAT) remained unchanged at 84%, net promoter score (NPS) was down from 56 in 2018 to 53 in 2019 – as blame for vehicle delivery delays were directed at leasing companies and not the WLTP rule changes which came into force in September 2018.

WLTP – biggest influencer on results

The adverse scoring in the ‘order’ event type proved to be the biggest influencer on the results during 2019 and, despite fluctuations in the remaining seven categories, dragged the overall results down for the third year in a row.

A deeper analysis into drivers’ verbatim comments using APD’s sentiment analytics tool identified that according to drivers, there had been a breakdown in accurate communication of the implications of the WLTP changes in advance and in many cases where they impacted on an order already in progress.

NPS downturn

Slight downturns in NPS were felt across a further five areas: service or repair; delivery; accident; tyre; and rental, with glass retaining its previous year’s value (73). Meanwhile, breakdown proved to be the shining light, up on by four points on 2018 to 49.

Despite the falls in sentiment values year-on-year, the NPS ratings in all but one (orders) of the eight category scores were over 50. This should be viewed within the context of an overall decline in NPS scores across mobility industry sectors and that when measured against global NPS standards, any score of 50 and above are classed as ‘excellent’ while 70 and above is considered ‘world class’.

CSAT fares more favourably

Whilst NPS scores declined, CSAT feedback fared more favourably year-on-year with feedback improvements in delivery; tyre; and glass, while breakdown remained static. Service or repair; accident; and rental both saw reductions in satisfaction levels. All events, with the exception of orders, remained in excess of 80%.

Despite the fall in scores, service or repair was most consistently praised amongst leasing drivers for prompt and excellent service along with courtesy car provision. However, where there were issues, these were almost exclusively connected to flaws in arrangements agreed for collection and delivery. Accident management received consistent praise for a friendly and professional service along with the provision of updates, yet regularly fell short with poor information and lack of communication highlighted.

Communication falls short 

‘WLTP clearly had a major impact on vehicle leasing customer sentiment in 2019 and its introduction was something beyond the leasing companies’ controls,’ explained Paul Turner, executive chairman of APD Global. ‘However, whilst this is true, some leasing companies’ approach to communicating the implications of the changes to customers and their drivers fell short of expectations.’

With regards to both measures – NPS and CSAT – ‘orders’ proved to be the only feedback set which dipped below what proved to be another very strong set of results from across the sector.

Performing highly

‘It is accurate to say the leasing sector continues to perform highly yet there are, without doubt, areas which require attention having slipped across both CSAT and NPS metrics for the past two years – namely service or repair; accident; and rental. These are areas, according to business drivers, that need to be addressed.’

‘The evidence is there for leasing companies to act upon,’ said Paul. ‘As the sector gears up and navigates its way through the complexities caused by the Coronavirus, it will be these seemingly small things which really start to shape the fortunes of vehicle providers.’

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