The customer’s feedback is the most effective tool to monitor, measure and manage customer satisfaction
Whether you are selling any product or service, satisfied customers are the most important resource and the foundation of your continued business success. They are the energetic fuel and forward force to drive your dealership business to the next highest level.
“Customer Delight occurs when the customer’s Perception of their experience of doing business with you exceeds their Expectation.” In formulaic terms: CD=P>E. Research reveals, only “excellence” in service creates “Apostles,” and only “Apostles” bring long term-customer loyalty.
The impact of customer satisfaction in the commercial marketplace cannot be undervalued. AS Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart said: “There is only one boss — The Customer! And he can fire everybody in the company from the Chairman on down, simply by spending his money elsewhere.”
Understanding and satisfying customer’s needs are the highest priority of any successful dealership business. Getting input from your customers is critical to your success. It does not matter how long or how successful your dealership operations may be, you will never cease to better your business by learning from yo , mirrors and coach for whom you are striving to make things. They’ll sense that you are pursuing a quest for improvement. Your customers want a relentless pursuit of quality service and their feedback is the best way to get in front of your customers without attempting to sell them anything.
Measuring customer’s expectations
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!” and if you can’t quantify it, you can’t measure it! Understand the customer is the component of measuring service quality. It ultimately includes your willingness and ability to know and understand your customer’s wants, needs, and expectations.
Importance of feedback … “We are here to hear you”
The customer defines your service as a coach and nothing can replace customers telling you how they like to be treated, what you are doing right or wrong and what could be done better. It is a wonderful way to constantly improve your service. You’ll learn everything from how they perceive your attitudes of service to how they feel you keep them informed when they have problems. But you won’t learn anything at all if you don’t ASK.
Increasingly, social media has also become the first choice channel for most customers when it comes to communicating with your dealership. From a negative Facebook post to an in-person complaint, there is a proliferation of means for customers to complain to dealership customer service that can be somewhat overwhelming. On the flip side, a positive tweet or Facebook post mentioning good customer service can be a marketing boom for the dealerships, while also providing everyday customers with near real-time feedback.
Customers who fail to express a concern or issue to an on duty manager can easily turn to social media and express their experience to hundreds of their friends or followers. When complaints and accusations are made through social media, the first order of business is resolving the issue outside of the public space and de-escalating.
It’s important to look at customer feedback gathered through social media—both negative and positive—in aggregate, not just at the individual comment level. By collecting a larger pool of feedback data (and also combining and comparing it with other sources of feedback) dealerships can be proactive in mining insights from social media channels. In doing so, customer feedback provides an opportunity to uncover unexpected trends, both negative and positive.
Since customers may not share ideas and problems unless they are asked, the creativity of customers may go unnoticed. According to the Harvard Business Review a 5 percent increase in customer retention yields about 25 percent to 125 percent increase in profits.
By measuring CSI we deepen our relationship with the customers, and we monitor customers’ level of satisfaction, expectations, and perceptions by creating an environment that encourages them to share their ideas and concerns. The seeking of feedback from customers can in itself result in positive customer retention.
Sometimes the most effective method of evaluating customer satisfaction is to evaluate your own performance. If you examine the areas of your dealership that have the most concerns to resolve, you may identify strengths and weaknesses without going to the customer.
Many customer concerns are not effectively addressed when they occur and the customer continues to feel anger or frustration over the situation. By taking the initiative to express customer concerns or satisfaction a customer may feel closure in a given situation and has shared critical information with the dealership.
A wonderful benefit of measuring effectiveness is that we can discover what we are doing well. Customers are often quite satisfied by our offerings but unless they are allowed to share their satisfaction, the offering may be changed or updated to a degree that the customer may become dissatisfied.
What to do with the customer’s feedback?
- Thank your customer for taking the time to express their valuable feedback or comments; good or bad, both must be acknowledged first, within one business day, preferably with the same method of receiving.
- Analyse and sort out all the feedback into three segments: complaints, compliments and suggestions. You can further divide common complaints and issues related with the communication, quality, price and time, and the departments involved.
- Apologize for the ones with the complaints and reassure your customers that you are paying serious personal attention to review and resolve, and their input is valued to improve quality assurance programs.
- Drill deep down to the most common critical concerns, probe the prime root causes based on factual facts and take corrective actions, and share all the information with your staff for coaching to avoid repetition.
- Resolve all customers’ concerns to their utmost satisfaction; and follow-up later to re-confirm satisfaction before closing case file, and use collective data to your business advantage.
“One of the surest signs of a bad or declining relationship with a customer is the absence of complaints. Nobody is ever that satisfied, especially not over an extended period of time. The customer is either not being candid or not being contacted” ~ Theodore Levitt of Business School Professor, Harvard University, USA.
A while back I had an upset customer complaining about the water leak under the car. I expressed regret and thanks him for bringing it to my attention to review and resolve with pleasure.
He was amazed to see my welcoming tone of voice. He asked, what makes me to embrace complaints with passion and patience as compared to most people who repel to listen to such concerns.
I said; just imagine our dealership as a cruise ship, I am a captain and you’re a voyager. You rushed all the way up to my cabin and knock my door “Captain! Captain! There is water leaking at the lowest deck!” My first response was to thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. “Let’s rush down and inspect cause. If it’s from external sea source, this could be a disaster for all of us and you have saved many lives, just by quick reporting action. However, even if it’s due to a plumbing leak, still it must be investigated and fix for safe sailing, learning and coaching our staff.”
Similarly, listening and respecting the voice of our customer is the most important task for us to improve customer quality care, their feedback serve as a valuable learning tool for us. As Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
Creating a positive and consistent customer experience is one of the biggest challenges facing dealership businesses today, and the customer’s voice is core to meeting this challenge to create competitive advantage.
When it comes to customer relationships, silence is not a viable solution. Encourage and welcome your customers to express their feedback (good or bad), and look at them as an opportunity to improve your business, not as a threat. Customer care is paramount; a feedback handled well leads to loyalty and lifetime retention.
This article has been written exclusively for AUTOMARK an international automotive magazine by Mohammad Shahzad S.A.E., D.M.P (Automotive Engineer/Doctor of Motors) Toronto, Canada