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Gary May

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What is it about CSI, or through interpretation of what it means, that has had dealers begging for their life and coaching customers? Especially today when someone may be cordial enough to tell the factory that they were completely satisfied in the hand-written survey (when they may not have) only to have another customer completely lambaste you online...

More importantly, why does the focus on CSI happen at the end of the delivery? Because they'll remember? Hardly! Because if you coach them before they leave, they'll help you more? Not likely! Complete satisfaction happens from 'hello'. The foundation for a completely satisfied client is based on the 'completeness' of the experience. Many dealers believe that it still depends on that last smile and wink.

With the proliferation of the automotive Internet and anonymous customers, why in the world would you not want to start at the start? If a waiter took care of you for the last 5 minutes of your visit after ignoring you for the first hour and a half, are you going to leave a 25% tip?

Customer service and complete satisfaction need to take place:

1. when you first meet; regardless if in-person, phone or Internet
2. throughout your communication: set expectations, deliver on them and ask questions!
3. in your walk, drive and delivery: make sure the customer feels taken care of
4. before the customer leaves: check that everything has been handled via review, yes review
5. after they leave: send an email immediately to ensure their satisfaction and give yourself and your dealership the chance to handle any issues before anything becomes a problem

Too often customers feel cornered and pushed to provide a positive review but are actually neutral (or worse) on the whole experience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with checking, asking and making sure the customer is having a great experience throughout their time at the store.

Another thing, stop ignoring the customer when the rear left tire clears the driveway. And I don't mean a newsletter, a fancy Hallmark and/or their special VIP card. Complete satisfaction never ends people.

The best salespeople will typically ask (yes, ask!) their customers something along the lines of "how would you be able to feel that you were completely satisfied?". Not "what will it take...?" There is a difference. If you don't know what it is you need help that this blog typically doesn't cover.

Remember that CSI is someone else's interpretation of your customer's interpretation of your performance and how you interpret satisfying them. Don't spend three minutes on it, spend thirty days on it, every month. Oh, and ask all of your customers to write their reviews of you online (you've never heard that before!).

The pennies you get for people's positive thoughts will add to thousands of dollars over time...and you might just save your dealership $10,000 at a time.

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

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