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Is Instant Customer Feedback In Your Future?

There’s no doubt that customer satisfaction is important to all car dealerships.

Whether a dealership actually cares about making the customer happy, or merely wants to ensure that their CSI scores stay acceptable to the OEM, these scores play a major factor in the overall health of a dealership. Poor online reviews can sway a buyer to go somewhere else. Poor CSI scores can affect allocation and have serious ramifications with OEMs. Dealerships go to great lengths to protect these scores including pre-emptively surveying customers; either in finance or via e-mail surveys after their visits; hoping that they can intercept any issues before they become public. The challenge most dealers face is that many customers don’t complete the surveys, depriving dealers of valuable feedback.

 

Manufacturers also have a vested interest in customer satisfaction. They want consumers to have excellent ownership experiences from start to finish, but also have a problem getting timely feedback from consumers.

 

Nissan senior vice president, Fred Diaz, reportedly told an audience recently that Nissan is implementing a program that allows it to get instant, real-time feedback from consumers. “We’re working to provide dealers immediate, actionable feedback from the customer on a real-time basis,” Diaz told the audience. “And when I say real-time basis, I mean while the customers are still in the store, or the very next day or within hours of them leaving the store,” reported Automotive News.

 

It’s unclear exactly how Nissan will accomplish this, short of staffing every franchise with an OEM representative and integrating this exit interview into a dealer’s sales and service process. It could mean that dealers will be required to have customers complete a telephone interview with an OEM rep after their experience. Regardless of how Nissan plans to accomplish this, dealers will no longer be able to intercept poor experiences and/or have the opportunity to fix them PRIOR to the manufacturer knowing about them.

 

While you may not be a Nissan dealer, have no doubt that other manufacturers will be watching this program with eagle eyes. Every manufacturer has a vested interest in brand protection and reputation. All too often dealers bear the brunt of any issues that arise in their car ownership experience. It may be wise to take a long hard look at the experiences you’re offering your customers in all departments. Look at making changes to increase departmental efficiency and ensure that you are doing everything within your power to make sure a customer leaves happy.

Views: 167

Tags: CSI, automotive, customer, dealerships, diaz, experience, feedback, fred, news, nissan, More…satisfaction, surveys

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Comment by Bruce Goett on August 18, 2014 at 8:07am

It will be interesting to see how Nissan rolls this out. The Nissan Infiniti dealership that I work for is starting its own program to encourage sales people to actively engage customers and ask them to write a review of their experience at our dealership.

Comment by Brian Bennington on August 15, 2014 at 7:02pm

Interesting post, Richard.  Regardless of the "rabbit" Fred Diaz pulls out of his hat to do this, experience leads me to believe the solution to this is middle management's participation, in both the sales and service departments.  If, as a matter of course, a sales manager or lead service tech takes a few minutes to introduce themselves and have a friendly chat with every customer immediately before they leave the dealership, it would go a long way to eliminating the "bad communication" that fosters negative feelings and reviews.

Doing it is both good sense and good business.  With the exception of a few "pin headed" downright disagreeable managers I worked for, I always felt that introducing a manager to a new customer helped reassure them about the money they just spent.  Plus, it gave them another "friend" at the dealership and it gave me more time to do those "delivery things" the customer doesn't need to be present for.  I especially liked those times when the owner or GM was wandering around the sales floor and I could get them involved.  Even though they often didn't really like my "getting them involved antics," they couldn't say much because when I introduced them to my customers, I made them out to be the greatest, most generous, most intelligent, most caring (blah, blah. blah) dealership manager on earth.

One time, after a customer had left, a GM who "participated" in this with me asked if I really believed what I'd told my customers about him.  I didn't answer, except to ask him if he wouldn't feel better if he was the customer learning that the guy who ran the place was the "genuine salt of the earth."  (I love this business, especially for the opportunities it presents to watch customers and co-workers alike respond to a little ole admiration and reassurance!)  

Comment by Larry Vestal on August 15, 2014 at 4:39am

While car dealers should be concerned about their online reviews, it seems that most drop the ball in being able to market those online reviews.  Many seem to just have good reviews posted on their on website.  This seems to negate the trust factor that many customers are looking for.  Posted reviews on your own website can be good, but what many savvy customers are doing is looking for reviews coming from citation sites.  The more positive reviews you have coming from a variety of different locations, the more trust you build with your customer.  Since most car buyers are doing their research online before they ever visit the dealer, one would have to think that part of that research would have to do with reputation.

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