European auto manufacturers provide OK-rated customer experience; websites lag person-to-person interactions to meet customers’ needs

LONDON, Oct. 1, 2021 — According to Forrester‘s 2021 European Auto Manufacturers Customer Experience Index (CX Index™), Toyota offers the best customer experience in Europe, followed by Hyundai and Ford. Forrester’s CX Index rankings further reveal that, for customers, digital channels still lag physical channels when interacting with an auto manufacturer. Unveiled at CX EMEA, Forrester’s European Auto Manufacturers CX Index benchmarks the CX quality of auto manufacturing brands operating in Europe. It is based on a survey of more than 26,000 European customers of 160 brands in GermanySpain, the UK, Italy, and France, including 12 auto manufacturers.

On average, auto manufacturers deliver better service experiences than purchase experiences in Europe — but the average service experience was still rated as just ‘OK’ in FranceItalySpain, and the UK. Only German service experiences were rated ‘good’ on average, with five of six German auto manufacturers providing good service CX. According to respondents, Toyota creates the best purchase and service experiences in FranceItaly, and Spain — and leads the CX Index ranking. Hyundai provided the highest-quality purchase experience in Germany because it was the most emotionally positive. Ford’s service experience topped Hyundai’s by being more effective and easier.

CX Index data also shows that channels that involve human interaction perform best across the three dimensions of CX quality — effectiveness, ease, and emotion — for both purchase and service experiences. For example, only 52% of European customers had a positive experience with auto manufacturers’ websites during the purchase process. Customers in GermanySpainItaly, and France found in-person and phone interactions an effective way to do business with auto manufacturers while purchasing their car. Customers needing servicing generally rated digital touchpoints like websites as less easy and effective, while between 68% (in Italy) and 76% (in France) found a person-to-person phone call an easy experience.

According to Forrester, digital experiences will become increasingly important to boosting CX quality as cars become more connected and autonomous, but physical touchpoints remain critical for auto purchase and service experiences. Speaking with a person and emails still elicit the most positive emotions for European auto customers.

“This year’s CX Index rankings indicate that human engagement is still the best way for auto manufacturers to build trust and foster important emotions like feeling respected,” said Forrester VP of CX Analytics Michelle Yaiser. “Customer expectations are shifting, however. Auto manufacturers need to continue their focus on creating omnichannel experiences that not only complement the connected, autonomous vehicles of the future, like Toyota’s MyT and Ford’s FordPass apps, but also allow customers to digitally manage aspects of the experience like scheduling service, comparing prices, or signing documents — like they do in other industries.”

Forrester’s CX Index methodology helps CX leaders grow revenue faster, drive higher brand preference, and charge more for their products. It helps brands identify the key drivers of a positive CX for their customers to prioritise efforts. Even a minor improvement to a brand’s customer experience quality can add revenue by reducing customer churn and increasing share of wallet. Additionally, superior CX leads to reduced service costs and lowers the cost of customer acquisition through word of mouth.


  • Download  Forrester’s 2021 Auto Manufacturers CX Index report (client access required).
  • Learn about the Forrester Decisions for Customer Experience service.
  • Check out how to revitalise CX measurement and prioritisation.

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