Re: Study Reveals Which Car Dealers Treat Customers Best

AOL Autos covers the latest JD Powers Customer Satisfaction Survey for Auto Dealer Service results here: Study Reveals Which Car Dealers Treat Customers Best.

Cadillac scored very well, coming in 4th across all auto manufacturers. (Lexus, Jaguar, BMW, Cadillac, Acura were the top 5).  The Service survey measures:

  • Overall service quality
  • How the service experience was initiated
  • The experience with the service advisor
  • The overall impression of the service facility
  • The experience picking up the vehicle from a service appointment.

This thought gives one pause:

“Toyota dealers lead the industry in sales per franchise, so that means they have a huge volume of customers to deal with at every dealership,” Osborn said. “Their survey performance tends to reflect the fact that they have service capacity issues.”

Toyota as a brand tends to rank fairly low on Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service.  Although Toyota and Lexus are viewed as a benchmark for fewest Dealers and most sales per Dealer, which drive dealer profits, obviously those profits are not going back into customer focus and support.

GM and Cadillac have been in an ongoing push to reduce the number of Cadillac dealers across the US.  The thought is that a lower number of dealers will reduce the overhead of Dealer interface for the Factory, and raise the sales per store and result in higher dealer profits.  Higher dealer profits can then result in a better customer experience at the Dealer.  Based on Toyota’s poor dealer performance, once would have to say this is not always the case — and take this type of study as a cautionary tale of the dangers of sub-optimizing the number of Dealers.

GM often points out that Dealers are independent businesses, not under the control of GM.  I think the main question on whether a GM Dealer should remain in business is whether they are profitable or not, including perhaps a benchmark of whether they are as profitable as other dealers in similar markets.  Closing profitable locations just in the name of having fewer locations to supply seems poor practice.  Closing profitable locations on the other hand that could and should be even more profitable in the hands of different Owners seems reasonable.

One input I hear from Dealers is that no one at GM is listening to them.  Hopefully that is changing with the new management in place. The voice of the Customer should be coming in the most clearly on the sales floor and in the service bay.  The sooner Cadillac can tune in and hear from Buyers or from current Owners the better Customer Satisfaction will be.

I get the impression on vehicle launches and Dealer interface that Cadillac is stretched thin — that they don’t have the staff or management processes in place to manage the business smoothly.  Certainly ongoing changes in staff and management can make for waves.  I would be interested to see Cadillac evaluate their organization and approach in a clean sheet organizational infrastructure design approach.

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