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.