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Pied Piper reveals service phone call effectiveness by brand

Pied Piper has shared the results of its Service Telephone Effectiveness (STE) Study, which measured the efficiency and quality of service telephone calls from a customer’s objective to quickly and easily set up a service appointment. Harley-Davidson was ranked first of 26 powersports brands. Following Harley-Davidson in the rankings were Polaris Off-Road, BMW and Indian Motorcycle.

“Powersports customers soon decide whether their service experience is a reason to keep their product or get rid of it,” says Fran O’Hagan, CEO of Pied Piper. “Customers who find scheduling a service appointment difficult vote with their feet by moving to another dealership or independent shop, or postponing service.”

The study was completed between March 2023 and May 2023, when Pied Piper phoned each of 1,608 dealerships representing all the major powersports brands, posing as a service customer attempting to schedule a service appointment. Overall STE scores range from 0 to 100 and are calculated from a mix of 39 individually weighted efficiency and quality data points that support the customer mission of quickly and easily setting up a service appointment for a specific date and time. 62% of the total score is determined by efficiency measurements, while 38% of the total score is determined by quality measurements.

Eleven percent of the study’s powersports customers hung up their phone, having failed in their attempt to schedule service. Twenty-five percent of the customers quickly accomplished their objective, speaking with a service advisor within one minute and scheduling an appointment within one week. Seven percent of the dealerships nationally went further, achieving STE scores over 80, by providing an interaction with their service customers that was both “frictionless” and proactively helpful.  

Performance of each measurement varied by brand and dealership, and the following are examples of performance variation by brand:

How many days out was the first available service appointment?

  • 5 days or less on average: Harley-Davidson, Kubota, John Deere
  • More than 12 days on average: HiSun, Tracker, Ducati, CFMoto, Arctic Cat, BMW

How often was a customer placed on hold for more than two minutes?

  • Less than 8% of the time on average: Ducati, LiveWire, Aprilia, Can-Am, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, Zero
  • More than 18% of the time on average: Triumph, CFMoto, Tracker

How often was a customer asked if they were experiencing any other issues?

  • More than 30% of the time on average: Harley-Davidson, Arctic Cat, Polaris, BMW, Husqvarna
  • Less than 10% of the time on average: Tracker, Cub Cadet, HiSun

How often was a customer asked for their contact information?

  • More than 50% of the time on average: LiveWire, Ducati, BMW
  • Less than 25% of the time on average: John Deere, Cub Cadet, HiSun, Kubota

Since 2007, Pied Piper has applied Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) “fact-based mystery shopping” to measure how effectively dealerships for each major brand follow proven best practice sales and service behaviors. On average, dealerships with higher PSI scores have proven to sell more vehicles to the same quantity of online or in-person sales customers.

The same fact-based PSI approach has also been applied to measure behaviors that maximize service customer loyalty. A dealer’s relationship with a service customer typically starts with a customer phone call to schedule a service appointment. STE has been used to measure the effectiveness of those phone calls for more than ten years, but 2023 marks the first time that STE results have been compiled into industry studies.

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