November 15th 2013
Table of Contents
Best Practices 3
Improvement Suggestion 5
Works Cited 6
I work in the automotive business for Jake Sweeney Automotive, a large dealer group that employs 450 people and many different brands. For purposes of this paper I am going to refer to a Mazda franchise. Mazda is a Japanese manufacturer that manufactures most of their products in Japan and ships them to the United States.
Between consumer organizations, manufacturer guidelines, professional organizations and the government regulations, there are several best practices in place to see a consumer gets what they determine as a quality product. Researching a vehicle in today’s world is not difficult. There are many impartial websites that give directions on how to decide if any specific product is evaluated and determined to be a quality product in specific demographics. For example, a person who is accustomed to a BMW probably would believe Chevrolet Cobalt is a sub standard vehicle. Much of the data is also available on the car itself, the window sticker is mandatory to display. The window sticker is provided to give the customer transparency in what features are on the vehicle. The EPA also governs the window sticker must also provide the consumer realistic gas mileage (NADA, 12).
There are standard warranty periods that are expected and provided, and previous reputation and brand recognition also give the consumer confidence in the quality of the product. Quality however is not solely defined as the quality of the product but the quality of the experience derived from acquiring the vehicle. Each customer is called and given a survey to see how the dealer handled the experience. Not many of the questions on the survey ask about the vehicle itself, the survey is all about experience and getting the customer to return. Other questions are related to wait time for a test drive, if the customer was treated with respect, and cleanliness of the facility. Everything from the way the customers is greeted including asking the customer how long it took to financed is evaluated and the dealership is graded.
According to the 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) (J.D. Power Reports, 13) customers reported having a higher opinion of their car when using technology to explain the vehicle. Based on listening to the customer and research, Mazda corporate actually has put a financial incentive program together to use an IPAD to explain the vehicle to the customer. There is a login process for the salesman that gives Mazda Corporate a report if the salesmen actually used the IPAD app. According to the SSI study (J.D. Power Reports, 13) the customer is more likely to feel the transaction is honest if the customer is shown the costs on a computer screen as