Customer experience: acceleration or speed bump?

© Can Stock Photo / kentoh

In the car-buying journey, does the experience you provide your customers accelerate your business or become another speed bump on the road to closing deals, thereby giving borrowers a reason to look elsewhere for a loan or lease?

Today, with many vehicle purchases beginning online, any part of the process that detours from the online experience risks losing the customer. Consumers expect a comprehensive online experience — from initial vehicle research and selection, to origination of loan or lease and, equally important, servicing. Bottom line: Consumers expect a mobile origination experience.

The originations portion of any car-buying journey should make it easy for a consumer to find financing options. Modern origination solutions include multilingual, intuitive and flexible online user experiences that allow consumers to conduct business on the screen of their choice at any time of day. Consumers should be able to shop for financial programs and rates for a vehicle before committing to a credit application.

In the modern process, consumers are given real-time, consistent pricing for vehicle financing and a calculator to explore various payment options before submitting a loan or lease application. Today’s online experience must also support: digital document capture to eliminate delays in submitting identification, employment, income, or stipulations; lender-provided FAQs to clarify the submission process; customizable content reflecting a lender’s unique brand identity and lending practices; and integration with the lender’s chat service for two-way communication with decision-makers.

Once the consumer has submitted the application, automation and integration with innovative, cloud-based lending services provide a rapid response. In optimal cases, decisions are reached within seconds, and consumers are sent an e-contract for review and e-signature.

Rapid responsiveness is achieved through these processes: workflow and decision rules that qualify an applicant; income and employment verification to reduce the chance of fraud; vehicle valuation for accurate calculation of loan or lease terms; workflow activities that automate otherwise manual steps; and, auto-structuring that systematically restructures deals that would have required manual review and approval. Ultimately, the online experience should carry over to the servicing phase through integration between originations and servicing systems delivering a seamless user experience. Consumers should be able to manage their accounts anywhere, anytime on a screen of their choice to:

Online servicing is a win-win for borrowers and lenders. Consumers gain greater control of their accounts, have round-the-clock access to up-to-date information, and can make payments without calling.

Online access can also reduce statement printing and mailing costs. A reduction in call center workloads allows servicing agents to focus on customer interactions that require their expertise.

Editors Note: This feature first appeared in the October issue of Auto Finance Newsavailable now.

Shaimaa Elk serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Technology Officer, and is responsible for all elements of product and technology development at defi SOLUTIONS, the technology partner of Auto Finance Excellence, a sister service of Auto Finance News.

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