Giving Feedback Without Slamming Good Salespeople
Car shoppers often have concerns they'd like to share with the manufacturers, and it's good that they have a means — the customer satisfaction survey — for doing so.
Within the survey, there are ways to voice complaints without affecting the salesperson's pay. At the end of CSI surveys, there is a comment section for the car shopper to address any concerns that may have come up while doing the deal. These comments do not affect the overall scoring of the salesperson. If a car shopper thought the music was too loud in the dealership, for example, saying that in the survey comment would likely be a better option than giving the salesperson an 8.
Tools like Edmunds.com dealer reviews are another way to discuss the good and bad aspects of the car-buying experience. These online reviews are visible to any potential customer interested in looking at them, and are often prominently displayed in an online search for a dealership.
Reviews on the Edmunds site are honest shopper assessments and offer customers a chance to better express their feelings about the purchase experience using their own words in a public forum. More than ever, dealerships are aware of their online reputations and pay close attention to customer reviews, and look to resolve complaints raised there. An added bonus to review sites is that other shoppers get to read about what your experience was like. That's something that doesn't happen with in-house CSI surveys.
And then there are some old-fashioned ways to give feedback. Write a letter to management. Or, better yet, set up a meeting with one of the dealership brass. These routes will likely go further in fixing a systemic problem at a dealership level than any customer satisfaction survey ever would. From my experience, real change happens on the dealership level, and not because a carmaker tells a dealer that the surveys show it needs to do a better job.
Until automakers and dealerships find better ways to improve the customer service experience than the blunt instrument of the CSI, shoppers can help by offering honest feedback via online reviews at Edmunds.com and by writing comments in the existing surveys.
Finally, if you liked your car-buying experience and you don't want to penalize a salesperson who did a good job — even if you think he was a little less than perfect — go ahead and give him the 10. He's probably earned it.