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Mega Car Dealer Outperforms Competitors

How a mega car dealership went from the bottom in customer satisfaction and sales to receiving top recognition for service in the industry, experiencing a drop in employee turnover over five times the industry average, and increasing repeat customers and referrals by over 20%.

One of the largest retail car dealers in Minnesota and the U.S. wanted to improve customer satisfaction and increase repeat and referral business. The dealer owns six dealerships in the Twin Cities and a leasing company; collectively, they sell more than 14,000 vehicles and service 150,000 customers per year. Customer survey results from manufacturers indicated the dealership’s results were in the bottom third of the country. With little experience in training or improvement processes, the company asked WCW to help.

WCW helped the company implement a comprehensive process to improve customer satisfaction. Beginning by interviewing top management from all locations and reviewing customer survey data, WCW uncovered a number of issues, which included: survey results weren’t shared with managers or employees or used as a guide for improvement; everyone felt they were doing a “good job” and the surveys were inaccurate; there were no plans in place and most managers felt they were too busy to think about new initiatives or create new methods.

With the general managers’ involvement, WCW designed a detailed plan that focused on improving employee/manager/company relationships and empowering employees to take care of customers. WCW believed that improving employee satisfaction would result in higher levels of customer satisfaction. Key components of the plan included strategic planning for management; concentrated and ongoing customer service, leadership and sales training for all levels and train-the-trainer sessions for managers; the creation of process improvement teams; increased and focused communication with all levels through meetings and a monthly newsletter; regular review of results, survey information and progress toward goals; a promotion and recognition process for managers, employees and locations; and a semi-annual employee survey.

Over time, the organization improved in all goal categories. The largest gains came in the improvement of employee/manager/company relationships. Employee turnover dropped 5-10 times below industry averages depending on the location, while employee survey results improved dramatically. Customer satisfaction results moved to a CSI of 90+ at all locations (a significant climb from the previous mid-70 ratings). Factories awarded the organization their highest customer satisfaction awards and rated it in the top 5% in the country. The dealership achieved a No. 1 ranking in all product lines offered in its market. Customer complaints decreased 57%. Repeat-referral business increased more than 20%, which significantly affected sales.

WCW Clients Experience Results and Improvement.

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