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Chrysler drops satisfaction programs

by David Zatz on

Earlier today, Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette broke the story that Chrysler has broken with tradition and decades of work, and has ended both incentives and punishments for dealers that do not provide higher customer satisfaction.

Chrysler will still do customer surveys by phone and email and send mystery shoppers out, but now the company will simply send the data to dealers and leave it to them to do the rest. While Chrysler has told dealers for decades that higher customer satisfaction will bring higher profits, they are now leaving that maxim as the only incentive for dealers to satisfy customers.

The company is also dropping penalties for dealerships who don’t build stores to the exacting specifications of the Dealer Standards program, which provided up to $200,000 per quarter to dealerships that met preset levels of service and facilities. Chrysler will maintain its standards but without penalties for dealers who don’t meet them.

The company is continuing to train dealers, and is retraining its zone reps to switch from enforcement to a consulting relationship. Mystery shoppers are being switched from checklists to “feelings.”

Chrysler brands have done poorly in studies that measure dealer satisfaction for many years. Most recently, Jeep, Ram, and Dodge placed near dead last in the 2011 J.D. Power sales satisfaction survey. The current program was largely created by the Chrysler National Dealer Council.

Also see: Millenium dealershipsEarly 2000s: Five Star dealership program

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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