The Customer Satisfaction Index, or CSI, is a rating system given by manufacturers to auto dealerships that is based on surveys customers fill out post sale asking about their entire buying experience. Buyers know that CSI scores are important to dealerships, which is why if they even hint at giving a poor CSI score, they can gain leverage during the negotiations process. Even worse, if a dealership receives enough low CSI scores, its reputation could be irrevocably damaged. Maintaining a perfect CSI score can boost profitability by bringing in new customers, and indicates a level of customer service that ensures existing customers will return. This blog explores five easy tips to earning a perfect CSI score every time.
How Dealerships can Ensure a Perfect CSI Score
- Cater to the Buyer’s Perspective. What is someone’s impression as they first walk into your dealership? Is the showroom brightly lit? Does the space look inviting? Do your salespeople look presentable and friendly to approach? Take friends and family to your dealership and ask for honest constructive feedback about each point of contact. The changes you implement can make the difference between a lower CSI score and a higher one.
- Make the Buying Experience as Easy as Possible. Buying a car doesn’t have to be a headache. The less hoops people have to jump through to buy a car from you, the quicker they can get back on the road and the quicker your dealership can close a deal with a satisfied customer. Understanding the buyer’s perspective makes this process richer and easier. The less complicated and more enjoyable your dealership makes the buying process, the more likely it is that your dealership will receive a higher CSI score.
- Don’t Oversell. Your customers are not a walking checkbook. Trying to wring your customers for as much money as possible, especially after a big purchase, can leave a bad taste in their mouths and eclipse the entire preceding experience, even if it was positive. Increasing margins should not be a priority over customer satisfaction, because it can hurt profitability in the long run. Giving your customers a great deal means you are more likely to receive a higher CSI score.
- Utilize Product Specialists. Product specialists can drastically affect the way consumers experience a product. Given the rate that technology advances nowadays, having someone who can make the car seem less abstract and allow prospective customers to better imagine themselves using the car to its fullest extent is an extremely valuable asset for any dealership. In fact, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, buyers who worked with both a salesperson and a product specialist were typically more satisfied than buyers who worked exclusively with a salesperson, resulting in the dealership receiving higher CSI scores.
- Train Each and Every One of Your Staff. In order to get the most of out of these tips, change must be adopted on a macro level. Inconsistent customer experiences mean inconsistent CSI scores. Customer Satisfaction should not be the sole responsibility of either the salespeople or the managers. Every employee at a dealership must make an effort to improve the customer’s overall experience. If everyone makes an effort to improve the overall customer experience, your dealership will have the tools necessary to receive a perfect CSI score every time.