If you drop $100,000 on a luxury sedan, it seems only reasonable to receive some preferential treatment at the dealership you purchased from. After all, that price isn't just for the car – you're paying for the brand and all the cachet that entails. For Mercedes-Benz, those benefits have apparently been lacking relative to the German brand's luxury competitors.
During the economic downturn, many car dealerships counteracted their slowing income by focusing on things that would set them apart from competition – things like the quality of customer service they provide. When the economy picked up and more sales and service followed, many also first invested those funds back into the business, improving their dealership facilities and service centers.
Last December, J.D. Power's Sales Satisfaction Index Study ranked Chrysler's Jeep, Ram and Dodge brands at the bottom of the list. The Chrysler brand itself fared somewhat better with a ranking of nine out of 19 brands.
When it comes to handing out awards, nobody works harder than J.D. Power. With surveys concocted to measure dependability, brand reputation, customer retention, quality, and whatever else the company can dream up, we sometimes wonder whether the company's plaudits aren't becoming a little like "participant" medals awarded at the end of kids' sports seasons.
Volkswagen took another step to plug any holes in its quality-control loop by appointing a VP of Customer Experience. The new position is being filled by Mark Barnes, who moves over from his role as COO and head of sales for VW of America. The point is to create a "a systemic approach to better manage the entire customer experience within VW," in the words of VWoA head Jonathan Browning.
J.D. Power and Associates has just released the results of its latest customer service survey. Lexus managed to take home the luxury crown for greatest customer satisfaction in the service department while Mini snagged top honors among mass-market brands. According to J.D. Power, one of the biggest factors that can influence how buyers feel about their service experience is whether or not their dealership aggressively tries to upsell maintenance agreements. The Consumer Service Index study rates
File this one under, "See What Happens When You're Hungry?" General Motors has created a dedicated team of customer service agents whose sole job is to track down company and product mentions, good and bad, in the social-mediasphere. If the mention is a bad one, the team will attempt to connect the unsatisfied party with a GM representative who can help resolve the issue.
Lexus is looking for a few good ideas. And they are willing to pay big bucks to get them. As part of its new campaign, which Lexus is calling its "Pursuit of Innovation Award," the automaker will be handing out four regional awards of $50,000 each for innovative customer service improvement concepts. Another $25,000 had been set aside for second and third place winners in each region. Before you get your hopes up, understand that this is for Lexus dealers. Corporate decided it needed some change
Besides the nifty new Astra and Vue Red and Green Lines, the Chicago Auto Show will see the debut of something else new from GM's Saturn division: the "Test Drive at Home" program. Rather than dragging the whole family down to the local dealer to get an abbreviated ride around the block, Saturn will start bringing a model of choice to customers' homes for more real world opportunities to test them out. You just call up your local dealer and a new car will be brought out to your driveway. The pro