Friday, December 6, 2013

2014 Syndicated CSS Gets Into The Heads Of Your Customers

Each year Carlisle deploys more than ten syndicated, OEM-backed surveys, covering 35+ markets on six continents. These surveys touch virtually every link of the “service chain”, including parts managers, service managers, technicians, and service advisors, to name a few. The rationale for these surveys is simple: if our dealers have the support they need, and their employees are happy, then they can focus on making the customer happy. But until recently, there was still a missing link – the last and arguably most important link – the customer. Sure, the industry has CSI scores, which measure what is going on in the dealer channel (30% or so of the total service market), but we all know the reality of those scores. The CSI link is completely broken – myopic, boring, gamed … useless.

Carlisle & Company set out to fix this broken link by launching our “Consumer Sentiment Survey” (CSS) in 2010. With over 2,000 customers across multiple brands, the CSS tells us what is going on in the industry. Here are a few highlights from three years of surveys:
  • The Digital Service Customer is a reality: internet-savvy, prone to switching , and vocal about what went wrong with that last brake job. A brave new world – brace yourself!
  • Dealer strengths are not aligned with customer values: the aftermarket consistently nails the things that matter most to customers, whereas dealers perform, or are perceived to perform, quite poorly.
  • The proliferation of cheap “white box” parts lured the repair business from dealers to IRFs, but that trend may be over. It’s a fair bet that the poor quality of those parts and the high quality of OEM “Genuine” parts is shifting business back to dealers. The key is to retain those switchers; that means the ball is in your court.
Someone I once worked with told me, “Variability is good – you can learn from variability”. Use this analogy to view the results of the Consumer Sentiment Survey. We now know what’s in the heads of vehicle owners/customers, at least on the industry level. But what’s in YOUR owners’ heads? And how does that differ (variability!) from what’s in the heads of those who own other brands? You don’t know, do you?

Clearly, variability matters. Consider the example below from our 2013 survey, which shows how dealer-loyal customers (the ones that remain in the dealer channel) view dealer strengths and weaknesses. As you might expect, loyal customers really think their dealers are doing a good job in what matters to them most. Lots of green without much variability. So, nothing to learn and nothing to worry about, right? All is good in OEM-dealer land.

But what if the red and green were reversed for YOUR brand? Wouldn’t YOU be worried?

Consequently, in 2014, we will take this survey to the next level by syndicating it and drilling down to the individual brand level. You ask, “How will this survey be different from what I’m getting today?” Well … where to start:
  1. No gaming: We will use online panels of uninfluenced respondents to gauge real satisfaction. No “Please-contact-me-(before-you-tell-my-OEM)-if-you-cannot-rate-your-service-experience-a “completely-satisfied” here!
  2. No myopia: The survey will include not only dealer respondents, but also non-dealer customers. After all, doesn’t it matter how our competition is doing?
  3. No boredom: Yes, we will keep a core of the survey intact every year – tracking does make sense. But every year we will include new “hot” topics: telematics, service lane technology, electronic manuals. The world does not stand still – neither should we in our effort to learn about it.
  4. No “no say”: As with all our other surveys, the participating OEMs will design the survey and will have the final say on which questions we will ask the customer. Don’t YOU know best what you want to know?
  5. No hassle: The survey process will follow the proven and efficient path of our syndicated dealer surveys.
We plan to launch our first syndicated Consumer Sentiment Survey in early February 2014 and will start the recruiting process in the very near future. No excuses – this is too important to ignore! For more information contact David Carlisle, Thomas Neumann, or Chad Walker.

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