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From the Trenches - Measuring Your WOW Factor (and other attributes)


What do you do that WOWs your customer? 

What annoys them and makes them angry?

I've been known to promote the idea of our employees being the brand within the brand.  But how can you measure that?  CSI reports are often bogus but direct surveys can reveal all your strengths and weaknesses.


At the beginning of 2013, our manufacturer announced that all of their dealers had to hire a reputation management company to "manage our reputation".   I WAS SKEPTICAL.


The idea was that a survey would be sent to every service and sales customer asking for their review of their experience with the dealership.  It would then ask them to post that review online. 


Since then, I have not seen a significant increase in online reviews, but I have gained an invaluable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of our customer service, relationships, and interactions.


I started receiving hundreds of "surveys" from our customers.  I read and responded to them and each of those survey responses automatically went on our website.


What a challenge!  And what an opportunity!  Create a spreadsheet.  I started with service since it accounted for the majority of responses.



In this spreadsheet, I included how many stars were given to each survey, employee mentions, procedure comments, mentions of the facility, quality of work, price, warranty issues, check-in procedure, timeliness, communication, RO number, service writer, and date. 

By adding the RO number or the Deal number in Sales, you can isolate individual problem areas revealed in the spreadsheet and dig deep to find the problems and solutions you seek.


I found that 64% of all surveys mentioned their service writer or the service manager.

So what is their WOW factor (and other attributes)?


  • 26%      used words such as excellent, awesome, outstanding, great, top-notch,      terrific (WOW factor)
  • 37%      used words such as friendly, polite, accommodating, helpful, sympathetic,      smile, respectful, thoughtful, kind, welcoming, attentive, patient, pleasant   (Empathy factor)
  • 32%      used words such as professional, knowledgeable, competent, efficient, thorough (Professionalism factor)



Now you can break it down by the individual attributes of each of your staff members to see where their strengths lie.



It's obvious that the three top concerns of the customer are:


  1. Your staff and how they relate to your customers
  2. Your processes and procedures
  3. How you value their time


How well you communicate with your customers is obviously important (18%).  Your facility (7%), the price (9%), and other factors are obviously important, but they are expected to be top-notch or competitive.  The WOW factors are the intangibles.


The WOW factors are Customer Service!  Your people are the key!


I have focused here on the positive elements of customer surveys.  But just as important is being able to locate the weak or negative elements.  Once you know what is annoying or aggravating your customer, you can take steps to remedy and improve your people and processes.


Dig Deep and Prosper!



Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 996

Tags: CSI, Customer, Management, ROI, Referrals, Reputation, Retention, Service, Wowing, customer, More…your


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Comment by Tom Gorham on September 24, 2013 at 4:15pm

Tom Wiegand, you hit the nail on the head, " if you are not creating customer loyalty for life between business persons and customers, you can only be creating disloyalty." 

It's not enough to avoid being unacceptable in customer service, neither can you be merely acceptable or you open the door to customers leaving for whatever minor or major value they believe they see elsewhere.  Only relationship building and the Wow factor through people and people-friendly processes can create loyalty.  Thank you!

Comment by Tom 1TeamSynergy Wiegand on September 24, 2013 at 3:31pm

I appreciate you Tom Gorham.  The simpler we keep it, the easier to understand. 

Loyalty programs and retention marketing are the same in that they are both price-driven to bring customers to the business.  Real true customer loyalty is solely people relationship-driven to keep business persons and customers loyal with each other, thereby keeping everyone loyal to the business.  This is our 100% focus! 

The successful dealership of the near future will identify customer loyalty never-ending highest quality WOW factors and allow and foster improved business person(s) and customer loyalty with each other that so improves the life of one and all within the ongoing retail experience, that the life of one and all becomes better for it.  Leadership can no longer be focused on improving productivity, but solely focused on constantly improving the "cause" of productivity.  

In our world of business right now where a reported 40% of consumers rely heavily, even make their purchase decisions based on other people’s recommendations, if you are not creating customer loyalty for life between business persons and customers, you can only be creating disloyalty.   Think about it!

Comment by Tom Gorham on September 23, 2013 at 5:02pm

Tom Wiegand, thank you.  There are very few people in this industry with a commitment to customer loyalty and retention as you have. So I am very honored by your comments.  You pinpointed the value of this article in stating that it is an opportunity to continually improve.  That is my motivation. 

Weaknesses in customer service are not intentional; they're just usually hidden.  These measurements expose to us those weaknesses and allow us to improve. It also helps us to encourage and reward those traits that are Wowing our customers.

May the Wow be with you!

Comment by Tom 1TeamSynergy Wiegand on September 23, 2013 at 12:56pm

Excellent, Tom Gorham!  Appreciating your commitment to loyalty, it is likely that your dealership's 26% WOW factor will be in the highest percentile of others within your brand.  The summation is three WOW'S:

WOW, you are doing much to be a WOW factor dealership.

WOW, what an incredible opportunity awaits going forward, continually improving WOW factors.

WOW, why are other dealerships not as concerned and committed to bettering WOW factors?

Comment by Tom Gorham on September 21, 2013 at 5:36pm

Bill, thank you.  The work is somewhat tedious but very rewarding.  In the time I've spent reading, responding to and recording these surveys, I've learned so much about what our customers REALLY think.  It has given me new insights into, not only our customers, but our employees and our procedures.  I would have missed out on so much if I had asked someone else to do this for me.  I shouldn't speak in the past tense however, as this is no one-shot deal.  This is called continuous improvement toward the goals of customer retention, loyalty, referrals and employee training.

Comment by Bill Cosgrove on September 21, 2013 at 3:56pm

Tom, Thanks for sharing all your hard work here. It also proves a point and my motto - One of the rules of value creation is: if your actions don’t create value, then your actions decrease value.  If your actions do not increase the perceived value of your products or services, it decreases the value your customers or prospects perceive they get from you.

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