Improving Customer Satisfaction Through Text Messaging Can Better An Auto Manufacturer’s Brand Awareness & Sales
While Auto Manufacturers (MFRs) rely on dealers to “rep” their products to consumers, they needn’t—and shouldn’t—take a back seat to managing the customer experience. The customer's experience & satisfaction at the dealership directly affects the overall brand & sales of the manufacturer. One of the key measurements to evaluating how well dealerships treat customers is a Customer Satisfaction Indexing score (CSI score).
The way CSI works is that a customer gets a survey (typically via email or text message) to complete after a purchase or service is performed. The survey comprises a series of questions that either require yes/no answers an/or to rate the customer’s experience on a scale of 1-10 or an evaluation of satisfaction—completely, very, satisfied, somewhat, not at all. The Auto Manufacturer, the dealership or some third party organization could conduct this survey.
Text messaging compared to email and phone calls. Texting wins across the boards including improving CSI scores by 75%.
If it’s a third party such as J.D. Power, the results are often made public. Consumers often consult if not rely upon these ratings to make car-purchasing decisions. When prospective customers are looking at these scores, they aren’t necessarily looking at a dealership’s rating, but the collective rating of dealerships that represent your brand. Dealers with less than stellar CSI scores impair that rating and thus tarnish your overall brand, not to mention the potential for lost sales.
So even while Auto Manufacturers aren’t interacting directly with customers, and can’t directly control those interactions, they have a vested interest in helping dealers improve their customer satisfaction scores. Everyone benefits: Dealers with higher ratings are more likely to be patronized, resulting in more sales. And the Auto MFRs brand as a whole is better perceived due to the higher CSI scores of dealerships that represent the brand.
Here’s what you as an Auto Manufacturer can do to hold your dealers accountable:
Developing A Customer Satisfaction Survey You Can Stand Behind
If you don’t already have your own CSI survey, you should develop one. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated, just a simple series of questions that rate how well customers are satisfied with their experience as it relates to such interactions as:
- Receiving all necessary details about purchasing/financing a vehicle
- Helpfulness/professionalism of salesperson
- Responsiveness of service advisor to questions
- Accuracy of quotes for service
- Condition of vehicle upon delivery/after service appointment
- Satisfaction with repairs and associated costs
- Ability to contact dealer
- Quality of information provided by dealership regarding car maintenance, purchase and/or regular service
- Overall satisfaction with dealership
- Likelihood of buying from dealer again/continuing to service car at dealer
There are a number of companies that conduct CSI surveys on behalf of interested parties. You can also develop your own, but that requires that you manage the collection and analysis of the data. The best option is to make sure your dealers are conducting these customer satisfaction surveys themselves using the TEXT2DRIVE™ platform.
Of course, the results of your survey won’t be publicized (though you’d certainly want to report high results you’ve achieved) and they don’t directly change or affect what data third party surveys collect. However, if you’ve identified issues with some of your dealers and suggested steps to correct them, chances are pretty good those improvements are going to show up in future surveys.
Manufactures & Dealerships Can Identify Pain Points
As customer satisfaction survey results are compiled, you’re looking for “pain points”; certain experiences where customers consistently express concerns. One or two or even a dozen disgruntled customers isn’t necessarily cause for concern. But when more than half of survey respondents complain about waiting on the phone too long to get a service rep, that’s an issue worth looking at further.
The idea here is not to punish the dealership because a problem is identified. The idea is to contact the dealership and say, “Hey, the results of the CSI show a red flag here about long wait times on the phone. We’ve got some ideas that might help you out.”
Which by the way, TEXT2DRIVE™ can help with when Speed CheckOut™ is implemented. No waiting in line for a cashier or for vehicles to be dispatched. Customers pay their bill via text message from their mobile device within 3 minutes of requesting it versus a typical 20-minute wait when paying on-site. Which payment solution would you prefer?
Provide Dealers with Strategies and Tools to Relieve Pain Points
Here’s a great example of a successful 8 step strategy that Hebert’s Town & Country implemented to transform their CSI score using TEXT2DRIVE™.
Another fantastic example of what Auto Manufacturers can do about dealership customer satisfaction is Chrysler. They found that 70% of their negative CSI ratings were due to lack of communication between the consumer and dealership departments. If the Chrysler manufacturer didn’t work with the Chrysler dealer, this problem would have continued on unsolved. It’s in your mutual interest to work together to solve issues pin pointed in your customer satisfaction surveys.
To that end, Chrysler provided incentives for their dealers to utilize TEXT2DRIVE™, a commercial text-messaging platform designed specifically for auto dealerships. The result: Use of text messaging dramatically improved customer interactions with all dealer departments. Within eight months, CSI ratings went up by 75%! In fact, we’d go so far as to say that improving the cost-efficiency of customer interactions underlies a majority of the issues reported by poor CSI scores.
CSI Surveys Is a Tool to Help, Not Punish
It’s not unusual for people to view CSI surveys as potential sources of punishment for not doing something right or worse, just providing a forum for unreasonable customers to make unreasonable complaints.
This is why it is essential for the Auto Manufacturer makes sure auto dealers understand that CSI is a collaborative tool to identify and correct potential obstacles to providing excellent customer service. The object is to work together to see what is working and what is not, to continue with what is working and to correct what isn’t.
The end game is to increase customer loyalty and sales. The dealership and the manufacturer both have skin that game. Working together they can win it using effective tools such as TEXT2DRIVE™, created and designed specifically for the auto industry.