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What if "Customer Satisfaction" is the wrong target?

Updated on November 1, 2013

Chevrolet, Disneyland, Customer Satifaction and Higher Sales

Having a strong customer satisfaction index (CSI) is a vital part of any company's survival. The importance of customer satisfaction becomes even more valuable with the ever increasing shrinking margins. If your company isn't already measuring customer satisfaction, they will be soon enough. Customer satisfaction surveys, loyalty and retention are becoming more and more important in today's market.

Over the last couple of years, General Motors and Chevrolet have announced that they will be using Disneyland as a training tool and model for maximizing their customer's experience. Cadillac did something similar with using the Ritz Carlton as a shining example of creating the kind of customer satisfaction that has customers coming back again and again.

"Disney has created a culture where they talk about how they are always on stage with their customer. Sometimes we take the customer for granted," said Alan Batey, Chevrolet's vice president of sales and service.

Training with Disney will teach dealership employees how to interact with customers and to do dozens of small things that Batey hopes will create repeat business.

Having spent 3 years working for GM and almost...

10 years at the dealer level, I reached out to car people I know who are in the industry now, in the trenches daily so to speak...

I wanted their take on it. So, is the Chevy Disney alliance a good idea, first off and secondly, do you think it will help? Finally, what long term impact do you think this will have on Chevy's brand image?

These we're the questions I poised and here are a few of the responses...

Kyle

When you go into Disney you have already bought. They sell lots when you're in the park but you have already made a commitment. That makes things a little different...

James

I love this. Shows to sell the sizzle and the joy. Along with the training that Disney provides. Long term impact is you have such an amazing time you want to come back again or tell all your friends about the amazing trip you made. People save for a lifetime to take their love ones there.

Augustine

Disneyland customer service, good if your selling a fantasy. But Chevy is selling cars, if they are training their staff to act, why not pay actors? And as the product it self Chevy "cars" come out every 2 or 3 years. There is no reliability with that name. Hondas and Toyotas have stood the test of time of always making good cars that last long. The American makes are coming into the game late to start selling off customer service. That's just my thought on it.

Dan Responds to Augustine

Augustine. You better check the records. Honda and Toyota have had as many recalls as Chevrolet and Ford. They just seem to have the media payed off. I will put a Chevrolet or a Ford up against an import any day.

Augustine retorts

Of course they have. Even with those recals the names still are better. What I'm talking about is the reliability. How many old Chevys and Fords do you still see running? I don't know how it is wear you live but here in Texas, Honda and Toyota are way outlasting then the American makes. And Hondas are made in the USA. I know the history of this and that this is just my opinion.

As you can see, there's healthy debate and brand loyalty in the car business!

Buck

American cars were king for decades and the big three, especially GM, sat on their laurels and allowed their brands to become mediocre at best. Japanese cars started as a joke and in the mid seventies poured on the steam and overtook the lazy US auto industry. Now an entire generation has forgotten the glory days of Detroit. Disney may be able to turn the schlokie stereotypical salesperson into a classy professional. Danger is that you don't want the term "Mickey Mouse" to be synonyms with Chevy cars.

Bill

I think this is great I often use the analogy that people who go to Disney usually go back again, the reason why is they felt welcomed. If we can do that in the car business we will sell a whole lot more cars.

Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone has been training sales people for over 25 years and has quite literally revolutionized how a vast majority of that entire industry functions. In his first book, Sell To Survive, Grant says that you should make service senior to selling. He even challenges you with the question, "Are you a Holiday Inn or a Ritz Carlton?" Makes you wonder what the people over at Cadillac are reading doesn't it?

"No amount of slick advertising or Public Relations can replace poor service."

So why would he then dedicate an entire chapter in his most recent book, The 10X Rule, called, "Customer Satisfaction is the Wrong Target."

What gives?

Well here's what gives. "Customer satisfaction is the wrong target; increasing customers is the right target." Grant tells us in his book The 10X Rule, "Make your primary focus commanding attention and generating customers before you worry about making them happy."

Customer satisfaction doesn't concern Grant very much because he's an over deliver-er. (that word my not make it in Scrabble, but it fits the bill here!)

"We over deliver to every client, and we never say no until we absolutely have to!"

Grant is more worried about non-customer satisfaction. The people who never get to experience and benefit from what he has to offer.

"I seek out clients who are qualified to do business with us. I then attend to that individual or company until they agree to hire me, knowing that until they get my product or service, they can't be satisfied."

See the difference here? And so, should Chevy and GM be looking to change their paradigm in California just a bit?

Service is still senior to selling. Not only after the sale but before. Especially before. In fact, if you don't deliver enough service in the beginning, there won't be an after to worry about or survey.

How Sold Are You?

Do You Believe?

My 2 Cents

If Chevrolet and GM as a whole are truly looking to expand deeper into California and increase their foot print, then perhaps, after 100 years of selling cars, they need to look at themselves as brand new. If their market share in California isn't where they want it, then acquisition needs to be the chief focus and yes service will need to be senior to selling.

This will need to start at the ground floor. They need to start functioning in California as if they're going into their first year and not their hundred and first year. You can't fight and win a war with an untrained infantry. So a commitment must be made on the dealer level to deliver a Ritz Carlton and Disney class experience from the moment a potential client Googles the dealership.

That's right, Googles the dealership. The potential client's impression starts well before they set one foot on the lot or pick up the phone. Social Media and the internet have assured us of that. Dealerships must realize that the distance between them and the competition is not to be measured in term of miles but quite literally in terms of centimeters and a mouse click.

Sales people not only need to know how much horsepower there is and what the turning radius is, they now, more than ever, need to be able to build tremendous value in the product, deliver a 5-star purchase experience and then close the deal.

A great sales person, especially in today's economy, can very well be the deciding factor between getting a GM product over an import.

Having worked and sold for GM for just over 3 years, I can tell you first hand, that the quality is there, the style is there and the reliability is there.

The challenge now is to get this information to the buyers. So with that in mind...

  • How sold are the Chevy salespeople on their own product?
  • Assuming they're passionately in love with Chevy and know this is the right product for said customer, do they have the tools necessary to close the deal?

There will be no CSI, without first having the C. CSI, if you don't know, stands for Customer Satisfaction Index.

  • Being able to effectively communicate with the buyer
  • Present in a non-confrontational modern style that is conducive to the information age and not a throw back to 1986
  • Being able to effectively get the client to decide to say yes and buy the product in a timely fashion (think 90 minutes to do a deal, not 9 hours)

This is what will allow Chevy to separate themselves from the imports.

What does this mean?

It means they need a well oiled, finely tuned infantry (sales force) and that will require a daily commitment to train. Not just on the part of the sales force, but on the part of management. Soldiers don't have much of a choice. Learn to be a good soldier or get killed out there. Sales people are the same way. Management, like a good General, needs to make sure their people are well trained and armed up to handle any situation that will arise and therefor be more effective on the battlefield.

I agree with Chevy and I think they are doing the right thing. I like the fact that they're looking to other industries for help and perspective. I am also rooting for them! I would love to see this great brand and significant piece of the American way rise to new heights in California.

How about you? If you were...

How about you? What's your take? If you were Chevrolet, what would you do to increase market share in California? Time to play a little armchair Quarterback! Post you comments below...

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