In a recent interview with Automotive News, President of GM North America Mark Reuss was asked whether GM has any plans to change the way in which it measures customer satisfaction at its dealerships. The question arose after some dealers expressed dissatisfaction with the existing CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) system, saying that it doesn’t accurately measure the way in which the customer actually feels.
Reuss’ reply made on thing clear: retention is king.
“We can get into a big long debate about CSI, but it is an industry standard, so we’re not unique in that”, said Reuss. “However, as most dealerships would know, inside of our dashboard that we look at each dealership is the real number, which is customer sales and service retention. If you’re doing everything right, we focus all of our metrics and performance including myself (my compensation), and every GM employee’s compensation in North America has a big element on retention, and so the retention on a sales and service basis is the ultimate reflection on whether you’re doing everything right.”
The GM Authority Take
It would seem that, like most commercial organizations, The General faces two general dilemmas:
- Grow sales
- Do so with high customer satisfaction
On the dealer side, the retention objectives seem to address GM’s desire to keep existing customers in the fold, while the automaker itself drives more customers to showrooms with new, exciting, and attractive products. Of course, all of this begins to get a little murky when hundreds of thousands of dollars for dealers and their employees are tied up in CSI results — so it’s not as simple as it may seem on the surface.