Last Modified: July 21, 2023

Written By:Margaret Henney

|Published Date: July 21, 2023|10 min read

CSI Score: Automotive Tips & Tricks for Improving Your CSI Score

A man and woman shake hands in front of a white car inside a dealership
In the automotive industry, CSI score stands for "Customer Satisfaction Index" score. It is a measurement used by automakers and dealerships to assess and evaluate the level of satisfaction among their customers. The CSI score is typically based on surveys and feedback collected from customers after they have purchased a vehicle or received a service. The index helps manufacturers and dealerships identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall customer experience.

What is a good CSI score?

In the automotive dealership context, a good CSI score is generally considered to be above 90. However, it's important to note that benchmarks and expectations can vary among different manufacturers, regions, and customer demographics. Some manufacturers or organizations may set their own target CSI scores, taking into account various factors such as customer expectations, industry standards, and internal performance goals.While a CSI score above 90 is often seen as an indication of high customer satisfaction, it's crucial to remember that the focus should be on continuous improvement and meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Dealerships should strive to provide exceptional customer experiences and work towards consistently high satisfaction levels. Regularly monitoring and analyzing customer feedback, addressing concerns, and making improvements based on the feedback received are key steps towards achieving and maintaining a good CSI score.

What tools can a dealership use to measure CSI? 

Dealerships have several tools and methods at their disposal to measure CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index). Here are some commonly used tools for measuring CSI in the automotive industry:

1. Customer Surveys

Dealerships often conduct surveys to gather feedback directly from customers. These surveys can be administered in various formats, including online surveys, email surveys, or mailed questionnaires. The surveys typically cover aspects such as the sales process, service experience, vehicle quality, and overall satisfaction. The results of these surveys provide quantitative data that can be used to calculate the CSI score.

2. Manufacturer CSI Programs

Many automotive manufacturers have their own CSI programs in place. These programs typically involve sending surveys to customers on behalf of the manufacturer to assess their satisfaction with the dealership experience. The manufacturer's CSI program may have specific criteria and methodologies for measuring CSI, and the results can impact the dealership's performance ratings or incentives from the manufacturer.

3. Online Review Platforms

Monitoring online review platforms such as Google Reviews, Yelp, or DealerRater can provide insights into customer satisfaction. Dealerships can analyze customer reviews and ratings to gauge overall satisfaction levels and identify specific areas for improvement. Responding to reviews and addressing customer concerns publicly demonstrates attentiveness to customer feedback.

4. Mystery Shopping

Dealerships can hire mystery shoppers who pose as potential customers to evaluate the sales and service experience. These mystery shoppers provide detailed reports on their interactions, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. This method provides a firsthand perspective of the customer experience and allows dealerships to identify training needs and operational gaps.

5. Focus Groups and Customer Panels

Dealerships can engage in qualitative research methods such as focus groups or customer panels. These involve gathering a small group of customers to discuss their experiences, preferences, and suggestions for improvement. These sessions provide in-depth insights and valuable feedback that can supplement quantitative survey data.

6. CRM Systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can help dealerships track customer interactions, service history, and customer satisfaction data. These systems can provide a consolidated view of customer interactions and enable dealerships to identify trends and patterns related to customer satisfaction.It's worth noting that dealerships can use a combination of these tools and methods to obtain a comprehensive view of customer satisfaction. By leveraging these tools, dealerships can gather feedback, identify areas for improvement, and continuously enhance the customer experience to achieve higher CSI scores.

Why is your CSI score important?

The CSI score is important because it provides valuable insights into the level of customer satisfaction and helps automotive manufacturers and dealerships understand how well they are meeting customer expectations. Here are a few reasons why the CSI score is significant:

1. Customer loyalty and retention

A high CSI score indicates satisfied customers who are more likely to remain loyal to a brand or dealership. Positive experiences and high satisfaction levels can lead to repeat purchases and long-term customer relationships.

2. Reputation and brand image

A strong CSI score helps build a positive reputation and brand image. Customers who have had a satisfactory experience are more likely to recommend the brand or dealership to others, leading to increased word-of-mouth referrals and a positive perception in the market.

3. Competitive advantage

A higher CSI score can give a brand or dealership a competitive edge over its rivals. In a highly competitive industry, customer satisfaction becomes a key differentiating factor. Customers are more likely to choose a brand or dealership that has a reputation for excellent customer service and satisfaction.

4. Continuous improvement

The CSI score acts as a feedback mechanism for identifying areas of improvement. It helps automotive companies and dealerships pinpoint specific aspects of their products, services, or customer interactions that may require attention. By addressing these areas, they can enhance the overall customer experience and increase satisfaction levels.Overall, the CSI score is important for measuring and monitoring customer satisfaction, driving customer loyalty, enhancing brand reputation, and guiding continuous improvement efforts in the automotive industry.

How can dealerships improve their CSI score? 

There are several specific ways a dealership can work to improve their CSI score and enhance customer satisfaction. Here are some strategies commonly employed:

1. Communication and transparency

Dealerships can focus on effective communication with customers throughout the entire sales and service process. Providing clear and transparent information about vehicle features, pricing, financing options, and service procedures helps build trust and reduces potential misunderstandings.

2. Training and development

Investing in training and development programs for dealership staff is crucial. Employees should receive comprehensive training on customer service skills, product knowledge, and handling customer inquiries or concerns. Well-trained staff members are better equipped to provide a positive and knowledgeable experience to customers.

3. Prompt and efficient service

Ensuring prompt and efficient service is essential to customer satisfaction. Dealerships should strive to minimize wait times, streamline service processes, and deliver vehicles on time as promised. Quick response times to inquiries and effective issue resolution also contribute to a positive customer experience.

4. Personalized customer experience

Tailoring the customer experience to individual needs and preferences can go a long way. Dealerships can collect and maintain customer information to provide personalized recommendations, follow-ups, and offers. Sending personalized video emails and texts is a prime example of tailoring your outreach to customers to provide the best experience possible. This demonstrates a commitment to understanding and meeting customer expectations.

5. Post-purchase follow-up

Engaging with customers after a purchase or service visit is crucial. Dealerships can conduct follow-up calls, send surveys, or use other feedback mechanisms to gauge satisfaction levels. It's also a best practice to send a personalized video message thanking the customer for their business and taking that opportunity to ask for their feedback, referrals or reviews. This provides an opportunity to address any issues, express appreciation for the customer's business, and reinforce a positive dealership experience. Check out post-purchase videos and other examples here.

6. Online reputation management

Dealerships should actively monitor and manage their online reputation. Responding promptly to online reviews, both positive and negative, demonstrates attentiveness and a commitment to customer satisfaction. Addressing concerns publicly and resolving issues can help improve the overall perception of the dealership.

7. Continual improvement

Dealerships should regularly analyze CSI scores and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. By collecting and analyzing data, they can pinpoint specific areas that may be causing dissatisfaction and take proactive steps to address them. Continuous improvement efforts help ensure that the dealership remains responsive to changing customer needs and expectations. Implementing these strategies can contribute to an improved CSI score by fostering positive customer experiences, building trust, and enhancing the overall perception of the dealership.Boost your CSI score by leveraging the power of video to provide the most personalized and engaging customer-first approach to your sales process. Get started today by creating your free account.

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