Enhancing Satisfaction by Contacting and Listening to Customers Following a Visit.

Robin Ford, a small dealership in Glenolden, PA, has implemented a novel approach to customer service by focusing on personal relationships and direct feedback. With only 35 employees, the privately owned company is not part of a dealership group, and uses customer surveys to identify issues and address them in a timely manner. General Manager Harold White has added two specialists to the store’s call center to call new-vehicle, used-vehicle, service and commercial customers and seek immediate feedback. These calls are usually made a day or two after the customer visit and last about five minutes. White says he reads 150-200 reports per week in order to keep track of what customers are saying, address serious complaints, and maintain high customer satisfaction scores. The dealership also provides CarFax reports to inform buyers about the history of the vehicles they are purchasing.

While Robin Ford has negative reviews on DealerRater, CarFax, and other Internet platforms, White says that these reviews often fail to tell the whole story. He prefers to speak directly with unhappy customers in order to understand their concerns and to try to resolve any issues. White says that surveys from Ford often fail to address a customer’s immediate issue or concern, and they typically focus on aspects of the vehicle design that the dealership has no control over. By providing a personal touch and emphasizing a focus on customer satisfaction, Robin Ford has improved its ratings over the years. 

White advises other dealers who are interested in getting more timely feedback from customers to call customers rather than emailing or texting them. He suggests keeping conversations informal and focusing on getting to the root cause of any issues. While disappointing reviews may occur, White does not try to fight them or ask customers to change their mind. He says that talking directly with dissatisfied customers often convinces them to give the dealership another chance, and offering discounts on services has been successful in changing attitudes. By focusing on the customer experience and building personal relationships, Robin Ford has managed to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, despite being a small dealership with limited resources.