For Car Dealers, Consumer Satisfaction Pays

Study measures the financial value of happy customers.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

April 28, 2016

2 Min Read
Each point worth 151000 Ensing says
Each point worth $151,000, Ensing says.

There’s little point in dealers striving for high customer-satisfaction scores unless they financially benefit, an auto-retailing insider once noted. “Happy customers alone aren’t strong incentives.”

Now, MaritzCX, a customer-experience software and services firm, has done a study gauging moneywise how much customer treatment matters to dealers.

The answer: On a 100-point scale, every point is worth $151,800 on average of loyalty-related sales revenue ranging from car deliveries to repair work. It doesn’t take much adding up to get into the millions of dollars.

“For the average U.S. dealer, on surveys that measure satisfaction on a ‘5-box’ scale, with a five representing ‘completely satisfied’ and a one representing ‘very dissatisfied,’ moving each customer up one box correlates to an average revenue gain in loyalty-related spending of $2.5 million annually,” says Dave Ensing, a MaritzCX research executive.

“Everyone knows happier customers are better for business,” he says.  “This study quantifies the financial impact of that satisfaction.”

Allowing satisfaction to slip is more consequential than building it up, the study says. For example, moving down one box is equivalent to a loss of $4.2 million revenue annually.

“The average dealership sells 1,003 vehicles per year,” Ensing says. “By increasing satisfaction by one level, our projections showed that the average dealer would sell an additional 75 vehicles when those customers are back in the market.”

To determine the financial effects of satisfaction scores, MaritzCX talked to owners years after their in-dealership experience. The aim was to determine their spending and re-purchase behaviors.

The study also indicates satisfied car buyers are more likely to visit a dealership for later maintenance and repair work. Customers who were “completely satisfied” with their dealers at the point of sale were between 50% and 80% more likely than “very dissatisfied” sales customers to use the selling dealer for all types of service work.

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