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Higher CSI – Ask for it by name.

By Marilou Vroman, CPA, CFE

CSI, SSI, Customer Satisfaction… you hear about it all the time and know how vital these terms are for dealership success and profitability.   How each dealership approaches its CSI is very different.  In visiting many stores, and being a dealership client myself, I’ve observed many different practices in place and how these potentially impact customer satisfaction.   Interestingly in the most complex CSI initiatives, there is one simple thing that your employees can change today that can easily increase client satisfaction.

While recently visiting one of my clients for internal audit field work I took notice to how the employees of the dealership were treating their guests, and me.  Believe it or not, auditors don’t always receive a warm welcome in dealerships, in fact, some auditors are intentionally placed an uncomfortable work space, such as a cold room with no windows and employees are instructed to not provide any more information than ask so they leave quickly (fortunately none of my clients have done this to me).

In this most recent field visit, I was greeted by the receptionist who said “Oh, Marilou, yes, we’ve been expecting you.  May we provide you some coffee or water while you wait?” Well this was a pleasant start.  At which time the Accounting Manager greeted me “Good morning Marilou, nice to see you again” and proceeded to escort my team to our workspace.  We were given directions to coffee, restrooms and made to feel as welcome as a full MSRP new vehicle buyer.  Throughout my visit, every employee I interacted with, whether I asked a simple question or conducted a full-length interview, remembered me and greeted me from that point forward, by name.

It’s such a little thing, yet it makes a significant impact.  Studies have shown, people like to hear their name.  Calling someone by their name adds a level of personal interaction that will make your guests feel their presence in your dealership is important and appreciated.  Teach your team the importance of remembering and addressing your customers by name and watch your customer satisfaction scores grow.

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