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FCA recreates Five Star as “Customer First”

by David Zatz on

In the 1990s, Chrysler Corporation created a Five Star dealership program which rewarded dealers partly by giving them favorable placement in the Chrysler web site. The program was created with at least one fatal flaw: it was administered by zone reps, not an outside party.

Five Stars: Teterboro Chrysler-Jeep dealership

Five Star was re-done under DaimlerChrysler, but never seems to have been especially effective in improving customer’s experiences.

Now, FCA US is creating a similar program dubbed the “Customer First Award for Excellence,” across all 2,600 dealerships in the U.S.  This time, like Toyota, it is partnering with customer-research company J.D. Power, which also rates cars, hospitals, and other service points. The program requires annual certification.

The five key points are:

  • Facilities (certified every six months) for cleanliness, convenience, and comfort
  • Customer-handling processes
  • Survey results in sales and service
  • Employee surveys (annual)
  • Training certification for all staff

five star dealers

The program was actually shown to dealers in October, but dealers are still participating in workshops to learn more about it. The award can be advertised by dealers in July 2016; those selected will get a “rewards and recognition package” including billing on brand and company-administered dealer sites, and the ability to use the logo.

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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