Auto Dealers Introduce Next-Day Customer Follow-up Tool



NEW ORLEANS, La. (January 29, 2005) - The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) today announced the launch of the first dealer-created overnight research tool to help resolve customer problems. The program, named NADA-24, was developed with the input of new car dealers nationwide.

In recent months, dealers have urged NADA to explore ways to help them develop higher levels of customer loyalty. To this end, more than 1,500 dealers and executives from seven auto manufacturers were interviewed. Both the dealers and manufacturers recommended the same solution: a systematic follow-up survey, within 24 hours of the transaction to identify unhappy customers immediately, and therefore, better facilitate resolution of any causes of dissatisfaction.

“This program empowers dealers with the tools they need to identify and resolve customer problems immediately, which will lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction and loyalty,” said NADA Chairman Charley Smith.

NADA-24 uses a newly created system where customers are interviewed by telephone the day after their visit to the dealer. Each customer interview is completed in less than two minutes. Dealers receive responses to three key questions about the dealer experience. An audio file of each customer comment can be listened to over any computer terminal.

The 24-hour feedback turnaround enables dealers to know and act on customer reactions quickly. Furthermore, if a customer indicates significant dissatisfaction, the system works even faster: an alert message is sent back to the dealership during the interview, explaining the problem and providing follow-up instructions to the dealership.

In addition to immediate customer feedback, comparative data about the dealership itself is available for problem identification, resolution and benchmarking. Compared to other customer follow-up programs, costs are more controllable, transparent and straightforward. For example, there are no add-on fees or charges for dealer management system (DMS) services.

NADA called on world-leading market research company Synovate to create state-of-the-art application and research technology for the program. In addition to having very extensive experience in automotive market research, Synovate also runs many large-scale customer research programs throughout the world.

“Our partnership with automobile dealers and NADA was a natural fit,” said Robert Philpott, CEO of Synovate. “We have conducted automotive research for more than 25 years. However, the creation of NADA-24 is truly an exciting advancement. This is a robust methodology that will allow dealers to listen to their customers with a frequency and consistency that was just not possible before.”

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