How to increase your dealership CSI Score?

May 16, 2022

Smiling girl on car

What is CSI? CSI stands for Customer Satisfaction Index, and all automotive dealerships should know what it is and strive to improve theirs. In fact, in today’s competitive climate, wanting to increase your CSI score should be one of the main driving forces behind your dealership’s strategy. After all, your CSI score can impact the bonuses earned by your dealership, as well as your sales team and technicians. 

What was once established as a technique designed to measure to what extent a dealership is meeting a customer’s needs, your CSI score can now influence so much more than that. As well as identifying key areas of improvement, your CSI score can help motivate employees, boost sales, strengthen customer loyalty, improve brand reputation and boost your dealership’s reputation.

What’s more and probably more importantly, your CSI score can also have an imperative effect on how many cars are released to you by the manufacturer. And, if your dealership is at the top of the manufacturer’s list to be given the popular, in-demand automotive models (thanks to a top CSI score), then this is sure to be reflected in your sales numbers and profit. 

Here, we dive deep into what CSI is and how your dealership can work on increasing your score.

What is a CSI Score?

CSI surveys are sent out by the client following a sale – generally between 24 and 48 hours after. The survey might come from the manufacturer, or it might come from your dealership, or the parent company of your dealership – if you are part of a chain. 

The survey, which could be sent out by letter, phone call, or email, tends to ask the customer to rate their experience from one to 10, with one being the lowest and 10, being the highest. For a better understanding of customer satisfaction, the survey might also include a number of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions as well. The questions in the survey can range from opinions on your dealership’s facilities to the professionalism and friendliness of your staff.

Once the survey has been completed, the results can be used to evaluate the  customer experience and how well they are being treated. And, as the results come in, they will be reflected in your dealership’s CSI score. 

What is a good CSI score?

It might come as a surprise to hear with so much riding on their CSI scores, dealerships aim high. In fact, most dealerships, on average, have a target of at least nine out of 10 – with anything less threatening to lose your automotive business valuable income. 

The results are generally analyzed on a month-by-month basis, or even quarterly, so it’s important your dealership and staff focus on consistent high scores – remember, just one poor score can prove detrimental to your business, as well as your staff.

How to increase your dealership’s CSI score?

Whether your CSI score is already high, or you recognize there’s a need for improvement, it’s important both you and your staff stay focussed on receiving those all-important top numbers. With that in mind, here are five ways you can increase your dealership’s CSI score.

1. Take customers on a vehicle tour

These days, the sales process needs to involve more than simply your sales team listing off the multiple features available for each vehicle. To really boost customer experience and what’s more, your CSI score, your team needs to be taking customers on a tour of the vehicle and demonstrating all of its fantastic features. 

Take things up a gear by creating a personalized video using the SnapCell app. SnapCell makes it easier than ever for those in the automotive industry to create professional-quality videos, at the touch of a button. 

By using SnapCell, your team can produce a walk-around tour of a customer’s chosen car, complete with a running commentary, highlighting all of its key features – and better still, demonstrating how to use them. In fact, for all of those trickier, harder-to-use features, your team should also create individual, shorter videos to send to the customer – almost like bespoke feature guides that customers can refer back to if and when necessary. The videos can be sent via SnapCell Messenger or email.

2. Following up with your customers is crucial

With a CSI survey sent to customers the two days following a sale, it’s vital that you remember to send them a follow-up email after a purchase has been made. In fact, even if a purchase hasn’t been made, you should still send a follow-up email, to encourage the customer to return to your dealership in the future.

These follow-up emails should be personalized and be part of your dealership’s strategy. Fortunately, sending customized follow-up emails couldn’t be easier for SnapCell users. In fact, using the app’s ReputationBuddy feature, your dealership can send out targeted ‘thank you’ emails, which are not only ideal for strengthening customer relations but also act as a prompt to encourage testimonials from shoppers.

Remember, sending bespoke follow-up emails, which include a video, will make the customer feel valued and respected.

3. Make the customer journey as seamless as possible

Let’s be honest, a frustrated customer is never going to give you a high CSI score. With this in mind, it’s essential that your dealership focuses on creating a seamless customer journey, end-to-end. After all, buying a vehicle doesn’t have to be a headache, the easier it is for the customer, the better their experience and the higher shopper satisfaction. Of course, all of this will help your dealership receive a higher CSI score.

Regular communication, responding to customers quickly, ensuring your employees are available to speak to and what’s more, bursting with the necessary knowledge and information needed to support shoppers, are all ways that you can deliver first-class customer service. SnapCell features including SnapCell Messenger and SnapCell Live can be used to enhance the shopping experience and promise customer satisfaction. 

And remember, the shopping experience shouldn’t stop at your sales team. Your technicians need to be delivering the same first-class customer service you’d expect across the whole of your dealership. Again, using tools like SnapCell Messenger and SnapCell Live makes it easy for your technicians to engage with customers.

Ultimately, customer engagement with all employees at your dealership should always be personal, convenient, and easy. And your team should be communicating with shoppers at every point along the customer journey.

4. Take the time to understand each customer and their needs 

Listen to your customers – it might sound simple but you’d be surprised to hear how many automotive professionals simply focus on making a sale, without worrying about building customer loyalty. Instead, your team should take the time to listen to shoppers and get to know their needs, so they can tailor and shape the customer experience around each individual.

Listening to customers and discussing their needs will help shoppers feel valued and respected. Remember, the last thing customers want to feel like is just another dollar sign for your dealership. Ask questions, be patient and take the time to find out more about each customer – and that’s not just your sales team, your technicians should practice this too.

It is crucial that your team are seen as industry experts wanting to give the best customer experience, helping to choose the most appropriate product or service for each shopper. This will also enhance customer loyalty, with a positive experience guaranteeing the shopper returns to your dealership in the future.

5. Focus on your staff just as much as the customer

While CSI surveys highlight the importance of customer satisfaction, it’s vital that your dealership doesn’t lose sight of its staff. In fact, you need to remember that having happy and fulfilled employees will have a direct impact on the happiness of your customers. 

Nurture your employees and listen to their needs, so you can optimize staff engagement levels. Although it might be difficult, try not to focus solely on numbers and profit but instead on how you can create a satisfactory environment that encourages a first-class working performance. 

What’s equally important, is that you need to be providing regular training for your employees. Educate staff so they are aware of your policies and strategy, which in turn will improve their efficiency and productivity, and in turn, will benefit your CSI score. 

If you are a SnapCell customer, you should consider creative ‘how-to’ videos for your staff. Create demonstration videos of employees, giving them clear examples of how you expect them to engage, communicate and treat customers.

Are you ready to increase your CSI Score?

There’s no doubt about it, boosting your dealership’s CSI Score should be at the top of your agenda. We get it though, your time is limited and thinking about your CSI Score is one more thing on your ever-growing to-do list. That’s why making the most of the tools available to you is crucial. One of those tools is SnapCell. Designed with automotive dealerships in mind, the SnapCell app is bursting with features that will help enhance customer experience, which in turn will help to increase your CSI score. Schedule a demo today.

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