At one time, a car sale was complete the moment the taillights faded into the distance. Today, the sales experience goes much further than that, and for good reason. The car sales journey has developed to an ongoing relationship, and one that has been heavily weighed by each manufacturer with Customer Satisfaction Surveys.
Shortly after the sale is completed and the survey is sent out to the car buyer, the magic and excitement may be wearing off already. That can lead to unpredictable survey results, including completely satisfied customers who simply don’t complete the online survey. Of course, that can lead to lower bonuses, poor dealer ratings, and missed manufacturer incentives.
As such an important (yet dated) way of measuring customer satisfaction, surveys must be completed. These methods will help you ask for the survey, and actually get results.
Mention the Survey Early
Early in the sales process, such as the needs-based assessment, mention something like this to the customer: “Should you decide to buy your new vehicle from me, you’ll be asked to rate the experience in a survey. My goal is to provide complete and thorough care throughout the process, so please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you better.”
With a mention like this, the customer has been prepped for a survey after the sale. Perhaps more importantly, the sale has been assumed and the customer understands both they and the salesperson are working toward the same goal.
Earn the Survey Results
If there’s a concern the survey results will be less than perfect, the salesperson may not be fulfilling their role well. The survey results must be earned including frequent follow-ups, thorough walkarounds, friendly and professional service, and connecting on the customer’s level.
There shouldn’t be a worry about the survey results if the salesperson has done everything to earn it. If that’s the case, boldly mention the survey when the sale comes together. Use a phrase like, “I trust I’ve earned a ‘completely satisfied’ score on the survey you’ll receive. If not, please let me know and I’ll make it right.”
There will always be that one customer who trashes the experience on the survey needlessly. No matter how well you’ve earned the mark, you won’t get top marks from them. Recognize the customer and move on afterwards.
Hand Off the Task
Be creative in the way the survey response is requested. It might be a great option to have someone else involved in the process make mention of the survey, relieving the awkwardness of asking the customer to rate their experience with the salesperson.
It could be the sales manager during a turnover who brings up the survey. It may be at the service drive when the service introduction is made. Or, it could be the delivery coordinator who brings up the topic. It’s important to ensure the survey is mentioned before the customer sees it in their inbox, so delegate the task to a trustworthy individual.
DON’T Ask for the Survey
Most manufacturers include a question on the survey, asking the customer if they were influenced in their responses on the survey. It’s critical to separate your request to complete the survey with a request to complete the survey with a perfect score.
Mention how a poor survey affects the dealership and the salesperson directly. Inform the customer of that anything less than a perfect score is a ‘Fail’. Ask if there is anything you can do that might help achieve a perfect score.
As a rule, follow the survey guidelines set out from your manufacturer. Overstepping your bounds with the manufacturer can result in penalties and disqualified surveys. If you aren’t fully aware of the rules about your CSI surveys, ask your District Manager. It’s in their best interest as well to have their stores receiving top-rated surveys, and they should be happy to assist.