U.S. consumers want to hear from their automakers about connected services, safety recalls, warranties, insurance discounts and other benefits, according to a new LexisNexis® Risk Solutions study, “The Driver’s Mindset: Connectivity and Connectedness,” published. Insights from more than 2,000 U.S.-based connected car owners highlight the opportunities for automakers to further engage with their customers, create new and used vehicle brand loyalists, and realize the return on investment for connected vehicle technology.
“Our study shows that automakers are at a confluence. While automakers face increasing competitive pressure to offer the best vehicle ownership experience, and connectivity is mainstream in many aspects of consumers’ lives, there still seems to be lower consumer activation and conversion rates within connectivity programs, despite the benefits,” said Dave Nemtuda, head of OEM product, U.S. connected car, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The automotive industry can take action on these insights to improve the customer experience, educate consumers on the benefits of connected services and help achieve connectivity-related business objectives.”
Connected Car Study Highlights:
- Low activation rates of a connected services free trial are related to lack of awareness and opportunity to enroll, rather than lack of interest. Two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents were not aware of connected services before purchasing/leasing their new or used connected car and over half (57%) were not offered a Connected Services free trial at the dealership. Our study findings suggest activation rates of a free trial would be higher if car buyers were offered the opportunity: Eight out of ten (81%) car buyers offered a free trial enrolled and nearly half (45%) converted to a paid subscription after their free trial ended. Among those not offered a free connected services trial at the dealership, seven out of ten (71%), indicate they would have been very/somewhat interested in enrolling if it had been offered.
- Consumers need to be educated on the benefits of connected services. Almost one-fifth (19%) of consumers indicated they did not enroll in a free trial of connected services offered at the dealership. The top reason, mentioned by the majority (63%) of the respondents, was that they did not see the benefit or the value of connected services. Those connected services benefits not realized can include the ability for a car to be located, unlocked or started, roadside assistance and vehicle diagnostics. In addition, over-the-air updates (OTA) can be important for consumers, including infotainment-related map or GPS information refreshes, audio updates, new app versions, streaming services, as well as drive-control-system updates, such as feature upgrades and security patches related to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
- Automakers shouldn’t rule out used car buyers. Buyers of new vehicles are twice as likely to be offered a free trial than buyers of used cars, even though the technology is available and accessible. 83% of used connected car owners, which comprised about a quarter of the respondents, remain untapped and serve as potential connected services clients.
- A more seamless experience could help consumers activate on their own time. 64% of survey respondents said that having their information prefilled in connected services activation forms would make them somewhat or much more likely to enroll. Automakers can help consumers by prefilling connected service activation forms.
- Consumers expect automakers to keep them informed. Used car owners also indicated that they expect to receive further information from their automaker on specific topics related to their vehicles. Nearly everyone (92%), expected to be contacted about safety recall notices, with warranty coverage coming in second, selected by 80% of respondents. Vehicle features with the highest interest noted were safety and convenience services.
- Automakers can help consumers take advantage of their driving behavior data. 67% of the respondents said they were aware that connected vehicles can capture and transmit telematics data, which can potentially be used to obtain insurance discounts. Only 22%, however, have used their data for insurance discounts. Among those respondents who had not used their data for insurance discounts, 71% said they would be interested.
“Now is the time for automakers to advance their customer journeys and develop a comprehensive customer experience strategy using the advanced data and analytics available today, or face losing to the competition in a challenging market,” said Greg Ross, connected car practice lead, motormindz. “Consumers are telling us they are open to the engagement that connectivity provides and, in many cases, they expect it. Automakers can differentiate themselves from other automakers by creating a unique and high-quality customer experience that engages new and subsequent owners throughout the vehicle lifecycle and educates consumers on how connected services can support their needs and busy lives.”
“One of the biggest takeaways is that by understanding their customers better, automakers can offer products and services at the right time, in a way that makes their customers feel valued and rewarded,” said Adam Hudson, vice president and general manager of connected car, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “That ongoing customer connection can help automotive brands continue to innovate and expand their connected services programs while improving the user experience. Automakers with fully maximized connected capabilities are able to more quickly develop and deploy new services and partnerships, gaining a competitive advantage by leading the market and increasing profits.”