Hear From Your Customers

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How do you know if a customer enjoyed his or her service at your department? A simple way to review your department, as well as check in and make sure customers have a stand-out experience, is to send out a survey following the customer’s visit, Mike Esposito says.

According to Esposito, president and chief executive officer of Auto/Mate, a dealership management system provider, there are two types of surveys that dealerships can send out to customers in order to learn more about their experiences: the customer satisfaction survey and the net promoter survey.

“The question is what do you do with [results],” Esposito says.

Surveys can reveal whether or not your customers would recommend services to another individual or even provide insight on how to better serve your customers and create loyalty outside of your business.

“If you don’t understand your customers, then you’ll go out of business,” Esposito says.

In order to gain the most insight regarding your customer’s experience and determine glitches that might need to be fixed in your service department, Esposito highlights the best route to creating a survey that will capture your customers’ interest and reveal more about the experience you offer.

As told to Kiley Wellendorf

Be specific.

Before you put together a survey, really think about what experience you want the customer survey to focus on. Instead of creating a survey around the customer’s overall experience with the service department, choose a specific element of the department that you can really zone in on, such as the write-up process.

I think there’s a problem with trying to fit everything into one survey because it can be time-consuming for the customer and he or she might decide that it’s not worth finishing. You really can’t over survey people either because then your response rate will drop. If a survey is too long, customers might also not feel obligated to fill out the whole survey either, unless they had a stand-out experience worth noting.


Send out surveys quickly.

The moment your customers leave, surveys should already be on their way or in the process of being sent out to the customers. If you wait longer than two weeks, the customer will not be impressed; the customer is impressed when you reach back out to them right away.

After you check in with your customer following their service, try to communicate over the phone, as it adds a more personal touch. If your customer is unaware of the survey, give him or her a call and tell him or her about the survey. With emails, customers might look at it and think it’s not worth their time if not informed directly.


Update customers on progress.

Customers should know how long a survey is going to take before they begin, or be informed during the survey. When customers know that a survey is going to take less than five minutes, they might be more willing to take the survey as the time frame is acknowledged beforehand.

The shorter the survey, the better. Surveys should try to be kept to minimal questions, but if you choose to have more than just one question, it’s important to let customers know how much is left. For example, customers can be updated by listing the time left in the survey, the amount of questions that are still unanswered, or the percentage left of the survey. When customers know their progress, they are more likely to get to the end of the survey so their time is not wasted.


Provide room for response.

If a customer has anything less than a 10/10 experience, he or she should be able to explain why that was. In order to learn more about your customer’s experience, enable pop-up features to occur within your survey, or a drop-down menu that allows your customer to explain more about his or her experience.

You need to have more information than simply a “yes” or “no,” and you can’t put everything in a survey, so that’s why it’s important to have additional features that provide customers with the opportunity to expand upon his or her selections or ratings.

In the instance that you discover your customers are not responding well with the drop-down menu, formulate questions that pop up, asking your customers to describe more about their decision. When you formulate questions, really zone in on your metrics and what you hope to get out of the survey.


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