Only a 10 Will Do
Just as receiving an A on a 100-question math test may not mean that the student answered every single question correctly, a top score on a CSI survey does not mean that the deal was perfect. In the eyes of dealers and carmakers, a perfect score simply means that overall, the car shopper was happy with the sales process and satisfied with the service received while doing the deal. You might think "satisfied" would equal a score of 80%-85%, leaving some room above that for "delighted" or even "deliriously happy." But that's not how it works.
A CSI target of 95% or higher is quite common in dealerships. And a cumulative monthly CSI score lower than the target score will likely take a salesperson out of the running for bonus pay, which can easily exceed a third of the salesperson’s total earnings. This threat of income loss is why salespeople, and sometimes managers, are so insistent on getting the highest marks possible on surveys. That is all 10s, and nothing less.
It doesn't take much to bring a salesperson's CSI score below the store goal. Imagine that a salesperson received seven surveys in a month. If six of those surveys had a 95% satisfaction score and just one 90% score, she'd have an overall CSI score of 94%. She missed that month's target. Should a salesperson receive too many 94% CSI survey scores in a given time frame, she might not only miss out on additional income. Her job could be in jeopardy.
Some shoppers will never give top scores unless they're asked to do so, which is another reason salespeople constantly ask for top marks. It is simply out of character for some people to give the highest review scores, perhaps thinking that giving a person or process top marks will remove an incentive to do better.
I once worked with a new salesperson who sold a car to his mother, who happened to be an elementary school teacher. His mother gave him 90% CSI score on the survey she filled out. Why? She believed that everybody can improve, including her son. What she likely didn't know was that that one survey may have stopped her son from getting that month's sales bonus.
When I was a salesman, I once received a bad survey from a customer because of poor treatment she received at a competing dealership. Although she and I got along fine and had a smooth deal at my store, there was very little I could do to fix the problem she had at a company I didn't work for. I ended up getting the bad survey.