Customer satisfaction scores will become more important for Buick and Pontiac dealers this year.
General Motors will expand its Standards for Excellence program, previously limited to Cadillac and Hummer, to Buick and Pontiac.
But Buick and Pontiac dealerships will have different targets to win financial bonuses under the program.
One Buick dealer, who asked not to be named, said bonuses will be figured on two criteria:
1. The combined score of retail customer satisfaction and service customer satisfaction.
2. A sales increase each year.
But the dealer said some Buick dealers were irked by their numerical goal: 143.3 points out of a possible 200.
He said that Pontiac dealers' target will be 136.7.
He said Buick officials explained it by saying that Buick dealers had focused on customer satisfaction because of a limited product lineup in recent years.
CJ Fraleigh, general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC, said the divisions were treated differently because they were starting Standards for Excellence at different levels.
"Buick is starting at a higher base level," Fraleigh said. "We think it's a fair program."
Another Buick dealer agreed. Bob Droubay of Droubay Chevrolet-Pontiac-Buick in Delta, Utah, said lowering Buick's goal to Pontiac's would be a step backward: "The idea is, let's not start at a lower level than we already have."
Customer satisfaction scores have been a hot topic this year. John Smith, GM senior vice president for sales, service and marketing, said Sunday that the Standards for Excellence program has increased customer satisfaction rankings at Cadillac.
The program was built into the Hummer dealer network.
Smith said GM may take NADA's advice about giving stronger emphasis to two key questions:
1. How many repeat buyers does a dealer have?
2. Would buyers unequivocally recommend the dealership?
William Bradshaw, the NADA line chairman for GM, said
NADA's recommended changes would please dealers, who feel that a numerical score doesn't measure customer loyalty adequately: "We hope to continue to work with GM and get them to reconsider the topic."