What is a Dealer Survey?

If you purchased your vehicle new from a  new car dealership or ever had it serviced at a dealer, you have likely received a survey. You might even have received two surveys. One from the manufacturer and one from the dealership itself. these might arrive by mail, email or may be done over a phone call.

new car questionnaire

What is the purpose of the surveys?

The surveys from the manufacturer are to find out how customers are being treated at dealerships. An insight to customer satisfaction and retention. In other words, the manufacturer wants to make sure you got treated very well. The surveys from the dealership are along the same lines but on a dealership level. They are obviously both very important, however, the survey from the manufacturer has large implications on the dealership and the salesperson or service writer involved in your case.

Is a dealer survey fair?

Depending on the manufacturer, some are fair and some not so fair. Why? The way that most of these surveys work is, that the customer must check all the boxes for “yes” “completely satisfied” or a “10”. Anything else below that is a fail. For example, if you put a 9 or just satisfied, that is considered a fail.

The results of the survey directly impact the pay of the person you were dealing with.

From a salesperson’s point of view

Let me tell about a time many moons ago when I worked in sales and these surveys were introduced. I sold a car to a customer who was ecstatic about the car. Awesome. I was very pleased I was able to help this lady get the car she needed and wanted. She left happy and I made the mistake of assuming I would get good survey results back. One of the questions on the survey at that time was something along the lines of, “Do you like the look of the building?” My customer decided that she did not like the look of the new million dollar showroom. Another question on there was, “Was there ample parking?” She also answered no to this question. So in the eyes of the manufacturer, I as a sales person had failed this customer. The consequences were lost money.

That particular dealership held the results of the surveys against the sale person’s commission ie. I did not get paid. Fair? It was outwith my control to design a very expensive showroom building and parking was tight, but what I was to do, tell other customers to find somewhere else to park? No. So those questions weren’t fair and I think said manufacturer that I won’t mention, thankfully have now changed those questions.

I’m not saying you need to lie on these surveys, but try to be respectful and fair when it comes to answering the questions. For the most part, salespeople will try their absolute best to help customers.

What do you do if you aren’t happy or you had a bad experience?

dealer survey

Do you feel that there is something more the salesperson or service writer can personally do to make your experience a ’10’ instead of ‘9’?

Talk to them before completing the survey.

Chances are, they probably believe they have done the best they could and don’t know what they missed. A 9 is a fail. Tell them you received the survey and give them a chance to make it a 10.

Well, what if the person just completely messed it all up? I’m talking about messing up so badly their job may be on the line. Talk to their manager. If it’s service related, that would be the service manager. If it’s sales related, the sales manager. Sometimes, issues are due to small misunderstandings or miscommunications.

dealer survey

We are human and we all make mistakes but give them a chance to fix it. Dealerships want to give good customer service. Managers will most likely bend over backward to make you happy, and people’s livelihoods depend on those results but try to be realistic. You shouldn’t give them bad marks because they didn’t put a unicorn in the bed of your brand new truck.

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