How to setup an exit interview and increase your customer satisfaction scores fast and dramatically

Customer exit interview

A quick and easy way to measure the satisfaction of the customer visit is to conduct a small “exit interview”. This can be in the form of a single question to the customer prior to his leaving the dealership; i.e., “Are you satisfied with your sales/service experience today?”. For some vehicle brands, this has become an important and mandatory part of the visit. In this way, you have the customers’ opinion right away and corrective actions can be made before the (Integrated Customer Loyalty Instrument) ICLI/CSS (Customer Satisfaction Survey) interview. It will cost your business nothing, secure high customer satisfaction and the employees will learn from your customers.

Customer exit interviews provide a very effective means to improve customer satisfaction. It is a combination of quick measurement, quick resolution, and customer complaint management tool. It is a bottom-up approach (in contrast to top-down management). The focus is on the sales or service advisor because he represents the dealership/ brand and is responsible for customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Also, the measurement of service and customer feedback on employee conduct often shows recurring weaknesses in the service core processes (“employee XY always forgets to explain the work performed”).

Exit interviews prove that dissatisfied customers can be seen as an opportunity. If presented with a good and quick solution to their problem, dissatisfied customers can be turned into very satisfied and loyal ones. Exit interviews were implemented at Volkswagen and Audi when I was in charge. We proved that by measuring satisfaction and loyalty before and after the problem solution was implemented, the customer satisfaction was much higher when addressing the problem directly to the single employee than without the exit interviews. The CSS Scores increased dramatically after the implementation of exit interviews.

In general, it is very important that employees feel involved and become an active part in creating customer satisfaction. When it comes to overall customer satisfaction with their dealership visits, it is clear that customers expect quality repair, the trustworthiness of the dealership, and a sense of personal involvement by the service and sales teams. Only a committed and involved staff of employees can create this level of satisfaction.

Another important aspect, according to my experience, is the success of dealers/ workshops (and After Sales managers) who work with the CSS and exit interviews on a daily basis. These leaders log-in to the Customer Satisfaction portal every morning and analyze the responses. They keep in touch with dissatisfied customers and improve the processes by training employees to focus on the customer experience. This approach has proven effective for all of our Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, and VW Commercial vehicles dealerships and markets in Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

Learn more about exit interviews

In Part 3 of “Learn how to Put the Customer First”, you will see that almost all the successful companies I have described have implemented systems like the exit interviews. The employees and management of these successful companies are aware of every customer evaluation from their last visit. The surveys are available online almost immediately after the customer’s visit.


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