The new three-part approach "is aimed at addressing individual problems," Deitz says. The dealership finds out immediately whether a service customer is unhappy while there still may be time to turn the experience around. The system also enables a dealership to identify patterns as they emerge.
If, for instance, customers complain that an express lube job took longer than promised, the service manager can find out where the bottleneck is and whether staffing, process or equipment changes are needed. If the car wasn't clean, the customer might be offered a free car wash. Or, if gripes center on the waiting room, a dealer may say, "I need to have fresh coffee or get a TV," Deitz says.
In the Hyundai Service Experience questionnaire, customers rate various aspects of their experience on a scale of 1 to 10. Deitz says the comments are "richer" than in the past because respondents take more time to elaborate now that the survey is shorter.
Results are shown on a computer dashboard from which dealership staff can read comments directly. From that system, based on a platform from J.D. Power and Associates and Medallia Inc., a manager can send an email to the customer without leaving the main screen. The email and any response from the customer are captured by the system, as well as notes entered by the manager.
The dealer also knows which staffers were involved in a service visit and whether the problem was "soft skills" -- such as customer relations -- or technical repair skills.
The dealer and the general manager can see at a glance what action has been taken. Hyundai also has access to that information. "Sometimes, issues don't get resolved at the dealership level. If the person calls our customer care line," Deitz says, the original report and any response from the dealership are at the fingertips of call center employees.
Hyundai hopes the three-part approach will discourage dealers from trying to game the system. Across the industry, service departments often pressure customers or offer inducements for a high rating, which results in misleading scores. "We want to be measuring behavior rather than a [customer satisfaction] score," he says. "Our desire is to stop chasing the number and focus on the experience."
Still, Hyundai plans to eventually use the process to reward outstanding dealerships. And like many a carmaker, Hyundai is shooting for first place in J.D. Power's U.S. Customer Service Index Study, which is based on Power's own survey.
Hyundai has boosted its score 2.9 percent since 2012, enough to remain fifth among mass-market brands, with a score of 814 out of a possible 1,000 points. The challenge? Mini, No. 1 then and now, has improved even more.