Scenario – The sales team at a dealership continues to report a high rate of customer dissatisfaction with the service department. The service department, however, consistently gets good results from the few returned surveys randomly mailed to service customers. A call center is hired to get a larger sampling to figure out this inconsistency. The call center knows the three tricks to getting honest answers from the customers. First, get your survey results within 24 hours of the service visit. Emotions and memories tend to subside after that. Second, make sure the customer is aware their answers will be completely anonymous, and honor that commitment. Third, inquire anytime a customer hesitates before giving a good or excellent grade to the service department. It’s almost always the follow-up question that coaxes out the honesty. After using this process, the call center reported to dealership management that the sales department is right.
What now? – Take the honest results from your customers and fix the problems uncovered. Make sure to follow-up with those customers as well. Sending out a letter 60 days after the survey describing the changes in the service department and attaching a coupon will go a long way toward keeping a customer. Customers will begin to feel like an important part of the dealership.
Lesson learned – People dislike getting other people in trouble. If you want honest feedback, you have to put a process into place to get honest feedback. Do not make the mistake of believing what you want to believe. You can lose a lot of business that way.