Over the years, customer satisfaction surveys have become a critical component of auto dealership success. As proven by Gartner Research, companies that actively engage in listening to their customers through feedback, spend 25% less on customer retention than those that don’t. It’s a great opportunity to support your customers and boost your bottom line.
Obtaining customer feedback through the use of surveys is a topic we’ve covered before. It has a lot of benefits and can improve operations and revenue. As an automotive dealer implementing a feedback program for the first time, it’s important to know the scope of programs available and best for your business.
In this article, we explore the most popular tactics to obtain feedback, how you can increase the quantity and quality of responses, and why feedback is critical.
Why Measuring Feedback is Critical
First, measuring customer feedback is critical to help you improve the service you deliver on a daily basis. Customers know first hand the quality of your service – so gaining insight from them can help you understand areas of improvement that you might have overlooked. In addition, customer feedback can provide an opportunity for new and exciting enhancements. Whether it is offering a promotion on car servicing or suggesting an upgrade to a vehicle, your customer’s know better than anyone what defines the best experience possible to encourage their future loyalty.
Secondly, feedback from customers can help you gain a deeper understanding of your dealership’s operations. Say, for example, a customer waits over 30 minutes at your dealership for a shuttle after dropping off their car. If they provide feedback, you can recognize that the time to tend to the customer was too long and fix the issue before it happens to anyone else. What’s more, if your feedback process is real-time, you can resolve the issue immediately – deterring the customer from leaving the premises upset and spreading negativity online.
Lastly, obtaining feedback from your customers can help you create a better strategy for the future focused on customer satisfaction. Knowing what is working and what is not, directly from the customer’s perspective, can help you navigate what to tweak in your current strategy. For instance, if your customers aren’t responding to your post-visit emails, it might be time to look at the messaging you are using and test out a few options. Or, determine an alternative method or timing of delivery.
Feedback from customers has a ton of benefits, with these just being a few examples. Whether it is used to increase revenue, build loyalty, or increase transparency, it’s a profitable choice for any automotive dealership.
Why Traditional Methods of Measuring Feedback Don’t Work
Collecting feedback through customer satisfaction surveys is an essential driver of business success, however, knowing how to collect the surveys is just as important. How you collect customer surveys can determine how much data you receive from the customer and the quality of the feedback. For many businesses, using traditional paper-based methods are still widely utilized – however, it isn’t the most effective or efficient.
Today, our world is immersed in digital, with everything from how businesses communicate to how they sell having been transformed. In fact, back in 2013, direct mail expenditure was 10.9% of all advertising expenditure. The full-year figures for 2017 show this has dropped by almost one-third to just 7.9%. Post mail is a dated method that could put you behind on the trend curve and out of the customer’s mind. Customers want to be engaged, tand they want to feel comfortable when they do. With a digital customer survey platform to collect feedback, you can give customers variety and make it easy for them submit their ideas and concerns.
Secondly, paper-based customer satisfaction surveys can be costly and time-consuming. Filling out any type of form by hand as a customer can be daunting. Not to mention, the process to actually receive the information can take days, weeks, and sometimes even months. This is detrimental to a business when an upset guest is venting in-moment. With a customer survey platform, you can send a survey immediately and get feedback instantly and reach people over multiple geographic regions methods.
Digital puts the customer in control, in terms of the answers they provide and how they provide them. With paper-based functions, customer writing is limited to the amount of space that you offer. With a survey platform, a customer can write as much feedback as they want. In addition, they can submit it on the channe; of their choice, whether that be an in-store kiosk, text submission, or a web survey.
Today’s digitally imersed environment is all about tending to the customer’s needs in a way that is convenient for them and engaging.
How To Obtain Optimal Customer Feedback
Once you’ve nailed down your tactic for collecting effective feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, it’s now time to optimize the amount of feedback you retrieve from your customers.
Encourage Customer Feedback
If you’re looking to obtain feedback, you have to ask for it. Customers have to know the program exists and know that you want to hear from them. Having your employees bring up customer satisfaction surveys, is a great first step to having them submit feedback.
Engaging customers when you know they will be receptive will help you obtain the most feedback. Train employees to mention your satisfaction surveys at critical touchpoints. Places like reception, immediately after their purchase, while their car is being serviced, or as a customer pays, are great areas to pilot. Similarly, training employees to inform customers in a way that is alluring will also enhance the number and quality of responses. Tactics, like using their name or referencing a past visit, is a great place to start.
Offer Multiple Channels
Convenience is key when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys. In this day and age, apps are widely used to communicate – and usually more than one at a time. From WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger to SMS and Line, providing a variety of options will broaden your audience scope in addition to satisfying the needs of you existing customers.
If you’re thinking of being available on multiple channels, we recommend leveraging a Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform so your team can easily manage feedback. A CEM platform will streamline the process, in addition to auto-routing urgent messages to management and providing useful data analytics features.
Ask Engaging Questions
The insights you receive will be completely dependent on the questions that you ask. Whether you want to know about the speed of service or employee attentiveness, it’s important that the questions you ask reflect what you want to know. Survey questions like “Rate the helpfulness of your sales representative” or “How was your service today?’ are great examples.
In addition, the way that you frame questions should reflect how your customers want to be asked. Do they prefer pick lists? Multiple choice? Long form? Short form? If you’re unsure of what type of questions your customers are more receptive to, pilot a few options to see how they respond. If long form questions are more popular than multiple choice, shift your survey to include more long form. By tailoring your survey to customer preferences you encourage them to complete the survey and increase the likelihood of obtaining quality feedback.
Make Customer Surveys Simple
No customer wants to be put through a lengthy, cumbersome feedback process. At the end of the day they’re doing you a favour, so it’s important to reward them with a simple and well-executed customer survey platform.
If you can, try and make the questions you ask simple and concise. Provide steps throughout the program so a customer can easily complete the process and complete the task of sharing feedback as easy as pressing a “submit” button. If a customer has to work to submit feedback, odds are they won’t, so it’s important to make their experience effortless.
Receiving feedback from your customer is an important tool for supporting the growth of any automotive dealership. Whether you utilize the insights from feedback to better your operations or to improve your dealership’s service offering, a feedback program should be a top consideration for long-term success.