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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..

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Wow!
I guess the bad dealers are going to get worse and the good ones, well, let's hope they stay good.
Mick
 

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Wow!
I guess the bad dealers are going to get worse and the good ones, well, let's hope they stay good.
Mick
I think the reason they are dropping it is because it not really making that much of a difference, the good dealers are going to be good and the bad ones arent going to change. That and dropping 200k for a dealer to do what they should be doing in the first place each quarter is pretty expensive. Lets just say Chrysler was paying that out to 50% of its dealer network in the US every 3 months.....($800,000/year x 1200 dealers) that works out to ~$960,000,000. Almost a billion dollars a year. Of course thats an approximation and I am basing it on the number of dealers left after the 09 closures and I dont know how many dealers actually qualify for that but its still a big chunk of change. The bad dealers will weed themselves out over time as long as consumers stop buying from them.
 

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I find this interesting news. As a 'victim' of two equally bad dealers in one year, I have often railed about the quality of Chryslers service and sales, to the point that I am extremely reluctant to consider the purchase of a new or used Chrysler product from ANY dealer. I fail to understand how these dealers can survive with such poor customer service, yet they do. The dealership I purchased the car from has never once responded to my repeated complaints about their shoddy salesmanship, nor have they ever done any followup on the sale. The second place where I was ripped off on repair work, ( and subsequently had to pay for undone work in order to save my vehicle) continues to hound me to come back ??? I guess they haven't got enough of my money yet! Fortunately through the LX forums, I have been able to discover who the better dealers are here, tho I have yet to try one of them. I will wait and see what happens with the (new) initiative.
 

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I fail to understand how these dealers can survive with such poor customer service, yet they do.
With you there. In fact, some thrive -- if you have a big enough region, you can keep hitting customers who haven't heard about you. And Chrysler takes the rap for bad service, not the dealer. I've known some who had terrible problems with a dealer blame it on Chrysler, then buy a Ford from the same dealer. "Good luck with that."

I think in service they already have options -- denying claims, sending an auditor, etc. But not in sales.
 

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The OC dealer where I bought my 2012 300S from is a prime example of this. They advertise the lowest price to lure in unsuspecting customers; once you fall for it there is no way they will let you go...and they have clever ways of building back the profit they gave up upfront.

This constant flood of customers keeps the sales pipe filled, no matter how many customer they manage to p*ss off --and sends the wrong message to nearby dealers that try to do the right thing, but continue to lose sales to these guys.
 

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Yup.

Wonder how long this will last. Six months?
Longer I think. It will have too if they want to let the bad ones hang themselves.....

Danno
 

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It is challenging to put together a winning team with the high personnel turnover at the average dealership. The customer sees this when their sales agent or service writer is no longer there. It may infer to them that something went wrong. Customers are very intuitive when it comes to the 'feel' of a place of business. Is the worker chatter happy and are there 'real' smiles?
The 5-star push in the 1980's was a dealer administrative process standardization and not necessarily a roadmap to a better customer experience. Nothing really changed in the shop. It was tough to be proud of where you worked when the fundamental issues were never addressed.
It didn't matter how skilled or conscientious a tech you were when shop pay was based on 'customer-pay' work hours sold. This drove many techs to dishonesty and the management looked the other way because the guy was raking in the big bucks for the company.
Sergio sees the survey feedback numbers every day. The elimination of the dealer performance incentives may level the playing field and give him a more realistic picture of the good and the bad out there. I've heard sales agents tell a new car customer to give him a call before sending a less-than-perfect survey score to Chrysler. Maybe these satisfaction numbers can be bought and skewed.
 

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I've heard sales agents tell a new car customer to give him a call before sending a less-than-perfect survey score to Chrysler. Maybe these satisfaction numbers can be bought and skewed.
A big +1 to everything you said, but I wanted to add to the quote above.

Once place I worked, actually spent a good portion of the time on salesman training on specifically how to achieve higher survey scores!!

One of the tricks was to ask "If you were to recieve a survey from Chrysler, is there anything about your purchase experience that would keep you from giving us a perfect score?"

God I hated that place. heh

Danno
 

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I heard that last time we bought a car, in 2005 :) And actually for that experience, I had no issues. The salesman had a good sense of how far away to stay to be 'out of the way' yet be close enough to be of assistance when needed. I actually miss that dealer. They got caught up in the Great Purge, turned into an independent used car/service shop, signed on with Sears Auto, and they've since closed up shop and the place sits empty.
 

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You mean i won't be barraged by phone calls following every visit to my dealer any more? These follow-up calls really got to be annoying and turn a completely positive dealer visit into a negative. Dealers seemed desparate to have us fill out a customer satisfaction survey at every purchase or service to maintain that Five Star rating.
The "Five Star" rating was a joke anyway. My local Dodge Dealer was the joke of the town for poor customer service yet was still "Five Star" rated. It's been sitting empty now since the bankruptcy.
 

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My local Dodge Dealer was the joke of the town for poor customer service yet was still "Five Star" rated. It's been sitting empty now since the bankruptcy.
Any signage left? ;)
 

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I suspect, with Chrysler still sending and compiling survey results, that can give them ammunition to do re-checks with the dealers to see how particular complaints might have been addressed or otherwise taken care of. The program might end up lasting a year of so, I suspect, before some real long-term results might be compiled and considered.

This can be "Theory Y Management" at its best, too. "We're all in this together. Y'all make it happen as best you can, as long as you make it happen."

Many dealers do call-backs after warranty work AND before the surveys go out. Via a dealership-only portal, GM dealers and service advisors can review every survey that's received by the GM. The new "Certified Service" program specifically states that a service advisor can NOT make the inquiry of the customer if there's any reason they can't answer "Completely Satisfied" on the survey they'll get, too. Trying to get the dealership operatives to focus more on the customer than the survey, it seems. IF these individual survey results are used in an orientation of "continuous improvement", that can be good, but I also suspect that orientation might not have crossed anybody's mind in about three decades (when it was popular).

The one thing about survey results, which many dealership operatives might not have understood, is that if they aim to meet the "zone average" level of performance, that means they're only AVERAGE . . . better than some, but not as good as others . . . "mediocre" to me.

The bad thing is that many dealers might not even care, as long as they can sell enough new vehicles to maintain the desired allocation levels, make enough to pay their bills and their employees a decent wage, keep "the factory" off their back, and just keep on keepin' on. Unfortunately, a dealer like that might end up being a better dealer than the one who's always advertising "price", always trying to wring the last $5.00 out of a deal, trying to sell that expensive non-OEM extended warranty, or cutting employees' pay to allegedly increase net profit (we know where THAT goes!).

Facility standards can be important, but I'd rather find a dealer who hasn't spent huge amounts of money on remodelling, but still has a nice and well-maintained dealership where the employees are friendly and desire to address my vehicular needs at fair prices. You KNOW the dealer that's just spent money on that new "corporate design" store is still trying to get it paid off, I suspect, so the best deal can be with the older store filled with good employees. But the spiffy, new store can impart a certain amount of prosperity, to some.

One key thing to remember . . . "Customers HAVE choices". They WILL exercise them, if so motivated. Even if they end up at a non-Chrysler dealership. Doesn't matter if it's in vehicle sales, parts, or service.

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 

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Facility standards can be important, but I'd rather find a dealer who hasn't spent huge amounts of money on remodelling, but still has a nice and well-maintained dealership where the employees are friendly and desire to address my vehicular needs at fair prices.
Absolutely. And to the rest of your post, too.
 
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