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Customer Satisfaction Index or CSI for Car Dealers

The automobile manufacturers have a system in place to monitor the buying experience customers have when buying their car. This system is called the Customer Satisfaction Index or commonly referred to as CSI. It is a survey that is either mailed to the consumer, or a phone call that is made to the customer after their purchase is registered with the manufacturer.

The manufacturers ask Customer Satisfaction Index questions that are graded on a numeric scale of 1 to 5, 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. Other manufacturers ask questions without using numbers as reference but rather a description such as Poor, Fair, Acceptable, Good and Excellent.

Customer Satisfaction Index to Monitor Car Dealers

These Customer Satisfaction Index questions go from a handful of basic questions to a fairly long list of questions that cover every step of your car dealer experience. The questions will ask about your sales persons professionalism, variety of vehicle selection, knowledge of product by sales people, available parking at the dealership, cleanliness of facilities, were the people you worked with trustworthy, was your Finance Manager knowledgeable and trustworthy and many more questions in that realm. The idea is to stop any car dealer scams or car dealer financing scams.

Customer Satisfaction Starts at The Factory

Customer Satisfaction Starts at The Factory

You can see from the Customer Satisfaction Index questions asked that the manufacturers are serious about wanting to know every aspect of your visit, impression and car buying experience. The answers to these questions are weighted in ways that are kept secret to the dealers. Then they are converted to a score that the dealer is allowed to see. When all of the surveys for a month of new car sales are totaled then a score is given to the dealer.

These Customer Satisfaction Index scores are important, very important to the good dealers. These scores are quite strict in the way they are graded. With many manufacturers a 93% score is failing. When a dealer has a failing score for months in a row they can lose the opportunity to participate in contests The car dealer will also have an unfavorable standing with the manufacturer when it comes to receiving desired inventory and favors.

Customer Satisfaction Index and Your Input

When a New Car Dealer has a low Customer Satisfaction Index it can eventually lead to investigations, warnings and possible loss of franchise.

You do have a voice when you receive your Customer Satisfaction Index survey or get a phone call from the manufacturer. Just answer the questions honestly. The manufacturer wants to know about any car dealer tricks or dealer prep scams. Just because you bought a new car it does not always mean that you will get a survey. When dealers sell you a car and are not convinced that you will give them a good survey they have a way of getting your phone number or address mixed up on your registration with the manufacturer. Then you won’t get a survey, no survey is better than a bad survey as far as the dealer is concerned.

If you bought a new car from a dealer and have issues that are not being resolved by the dealer, a phone call to the manufacturer will usually go a long way to making things right. The automobile manufacturers spend lots of money creating and monitoring a Customer Satisfaction Index or CSI system, they are serious about keeping their customers happy. They know that a happy customer will continue to buy cars for years and hopefully their children will too.

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2 Responses to Customer Satisfaction Index or CSI for Car Dealers

  1. deborah October 1 at 12:57 pm #


    I warn anyone who may be looking to buy a certified used Toyota vehicle that our experience with Toyota has been miserable. We are lucky no one in my family has been killed by their incompetance, but our family budget certainly has been. Our 4-year-old Toyota Sienna LE has already had new brakes, the front driver’s door is failing, the automatic sliding door sometimes works, and the air conditioning needs a new compressor and clutch…after only 4 years! Toyota has generously offered to pay for $800.00 of the $4,000 job it will take to make my air functional again. Does this sound like a bleeding dry scheme to anyone else? I am disgusted with the company, and will never again buy a Toyota product. They DO NOT stand behind thier vehicles. Another interesting tidbit… When I tried to share my experience on their Toyota owner’s website, I was first asked to agree to the condition that they have the right to edit the content of my comments. DO NOT TRUST THE TOYOTA COMPANY!

  2. Jim October 2 at 6:50 am #

    Hi Deborah,
    Thanks for your comments and opinion.

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