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Following the Pied Piper: Study Shows Which Dealers Best at Closing the Deal

Despite claims of doing things better, Tesla falls far short of rivals.

by on Jul.08, 2014

Despite claiming it can do a better job of helping customers than franchised dealers, Tesla came in last in the latest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index.

For many – perhaps most – motorists, buying a car is a process only slightly less painful than having a root canal. Yet some dealers do a markedly better job not only keeping potential customers satisfied but also making sure they close the deal. Who’s doing the best job is the subject of a new study that puts Mercedes-Benz at the top of the list, and battery-car start-up Tesla way down at the bottom.

It’s the first time Tesla has been included in the annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, and it raises serious questions about the California carmaker’s claims to be doing things a better way with an approach that relies on factory-owned, rather than franchised, showrooms.

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“Today, car salespersons have become a lot more helpful” than they were barely a decade ago, said Fran O’Hagan, the analyst behind the Pied Piper study. But he cautions that it takes more than just a friendly attitude and the ability to answer a customer’s questions to close a deal while also keeping buyers happy. (more…)

Mercedes Dealers Best At Treating Customers

Detroit makers show biggest improvement, says new study of showroom satisfaction.

by on Jul.12, 2010

A new study suggests that the automotive retail experience is undergoing significant change.

Product, product, product?  Perhaps, but even the best vehicles won’t sell unless dealers know how to work with their customers, and according to a new study, Mercedes-Benz leads the way when it comes to doing the best job on the showroom floor.

Not surprisingly, luxury makers lead the way when it comes to satisfying customers during the shopping experience, according to the latest annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, which uses a cadre of “mystery shoppers” to see how dealers across the country perform.  Lexus ranked second, in the PSI, with Land Rover, Acura and Jaguar rounding out the Top Five.

But Detroit brands lead the way, in the 2010 study, when it comes to improving the way their dealers work with customers.  Ford, Lincoln and Chevrolet all scored above industry average for the first time since the study was launched, four years ago.  In fact, Chevy was the only mainstream brand in the Top Ten, followed by Ford and Honda.

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“Overall industry performance improved notably from 2009 to 2010, with 25 of the 34 major auto brands achieving higher PSI scores,” said Fran O’Hagan, CEO of California-based Pied Piper Management.  But he added that, “Despite the continual improvement in how cars are sold, there is still plenty of room for improvement, although not necessarily in the expected areas.”

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