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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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The Problem with Pandering to the Customer Experience

A couple of years ago, there was no such thing as the abbreviation (CX) or the buzzword it represents: Customer eXperience. And now, you can’t scroll down a blog without seeing CX in at least a couple titles. Eventually, it will lose its impact when it achieves the same status as ‘uber’-everything. But while the industry currently thinks the customer experience is most important, there are problems with it.

Don’t get me wrong – CX is a determining factor and one that certainly needs to be kept in check. But for the service department – fixed operations in general – it’s not the be-all end-all.

CX is About Achieving the Minimum Standard

An anecdote: I have a client with whom I’ve worked for more than three years. Every month, I have a project that needs to be completed, and sometimes two. Glowing review after heartfelt praise comes in from this client…along with a 4.8-star rating. Their reasoning: “Of course, you do great work. But I believe there’s always something that can be improved.”

The same theory applies to the customer experience. It leaves your service staff with the unspoken impression that they need to do enough to achieve excellent customer service by your store’s standards, and that’s enough. If you measure your service advisors’ success with their CSI scores, for example, and 4.6 out of a 5-point scale is enough for their top bonus level, that’s where they’ll stop. There’s no need to aim for a perfect 5 or to exceed measurable CX. The minimum standard for an ‘excellent’ score is enough.

Real CX is Hard to Measure Accurately

A bad day for one customer could reflect on a phone call, an interaction at the service desk, or the dreaded CSI survey. It could’ve been no fault at all by anyone in your store, but the customer’s feedback is unduly harsh or the score is lower than deserved.

But what you don’t see is what could’ve been the case before the customer’s interaction with the service staff. Maybe the valet holding the door and smiling took the edge off, or the warm handshake from the service advisor shifted a 2-star score into 3-star territory. Since CX is based on subjective emotional response, it often isn’t accurately measured. And that’s not fair to your staff if their benchmark is solely on the customer experience.

Give the Customer What They Want the Most

We all have hoops to jump through, particularly where the OEM is involved. CSI scores aren’t going away and it’s a major part to achieve the standard set before the fixed ops departments, particularly where survey responses are concerned.

However, there’s something more important to a customer than the warm greeting, complimentary waiting room snacks, fresh coffee, and loaner cars. The primary goal for every customer is – and always will be – reliable vehicle repairs. If your store struggled with Fixed First Visit or comeback repairs, that’s something that needs attention before you can ever expect a perfect score for CX.

Carol Forden

Jason, the customer experience is rapidly becoming what distinguishes dealerships (and all brands) today.  

Dealerships need to think through and invest in the customer experience. To engage with and build trust with their target audience and customers. They need to become a thought leader and authority in the market.

THis drives loyalty and research by American Express found that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Paul J Daly

We live in an experiential age. Agree with Jason that if you can't get the main deliverable (in this case a proper and timely repair) than the experience doesn't matter. But the truth is a customer can get a proper and timely repair in a lot of places. An amazing (like a REALLY amazing) experience builds loyalty with much less repetition than a timely repair. 

You need both, but one is the wood and the other is gasoline. 

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