DETROIT -- About 3,000 Chevrolet dealers will be making a pilgrimage to Walt Disney Co. resorts this year for tips on how to keep their customers enchanted.
Dealers will spend three days in seminars at Disney World in Orlando or Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. They also will make field trips into the parks to see Disney employees in action.
It's part of a broader push at General Motors to improve customer service and change the image of Chevy dealerships. As part of the effort, roughly 90 percent of Chevy dealers have started or are planning a store remodeling to create a brighter and more inviting environment.
"The ultimate goal we're trying to get after is improved customer retention and loyalty," says Paul McKay, manager of customer experience for Chevrolet.
Chevy dealers now are encouraged to refer to customers as "guests," a touch taken straight from the Disney playbook.
"There hasn't been a consistent process that Chevy dealers use for when guests come through the door," says Steve Hurley, dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet in Plant City, Fla., and co-chairman of the Chevrolet National Dealer Council. "This is a way for them to elevate their game."
Chevy dealers are required to make the Disney trip to remain eligible for GM's Essential Brand Elements program, which pays dealers bonuses for meeting requirements in four areas: training, customer retention, digital strategy and facilities.
Dealers will foot their own bill for the three-day seminar -- about $2,700, plus transportation, several dealers have said.