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Report: Dealers Lose When Influencing Satisfaction Surveys

August 9, 2004

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Coaching customers about how to fill out Customer Satisfaction Surveys is not effective for automotive dealers, nor is it a widespread occurrence, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study involved 97,000 new-vehicle buyers and examined their satisfaction with the dealer service department during the first three years of ownership.

Only six percent of survey respondents indicated that they were influenced when filling out a customer satisfaction survey. And although 60 percent of this group said the dealer’s attempts had no impact on their satisfaction, overall satisfaction scores were substantially lower than those who said they were not coached.

The average overall index score rating from respondents who said the dealer attempted to influence them is 795 index points out of a maximum 1,000. This is 72 points lower than those who said they were not coached.

Furthermore, 20 percent of respondents claimed that coaching actually lowered their satisfaction levels, and their scores dropped to 660, which is 207 points below the average score.

The study also found the percentage of respondents who claim the dealership personnel attempted to influence their response to satisfaction surveys doubled to 12 percent when service is not up to par, when the work was not completed right the first time, or when the vehicle was not ready when promised.

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