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There’s a lot we can talk about here, and I don’t mean to sound really dorky, but I’m just going to. I’m going to put it out there:

We’re not talking about qualitative data enough.

We read our reviews, we have meetings where we talk about customer feedback and how to make it better. We get together and constantly¬† make decisions, from the manufacturer level on down to literally the janitor in the dealership, about whether or not we’re doing this right.

But we don’t ever assign a number to it. At least, most of us don’t.

There are plenty of reasons for this. None of us in this industry are dumb as dodos. Well, at least most of us aren’t. We’re just busy. And that’s the main problem – we’re all so busy that we’re running around trying to please customers and meet our sales goals that sometimes, we forget to hold ourselves (and each other) accountable for what is and isn’t working, for what’s going to get all of us to that next level.

When you put a metric to customer satisfaction and watch that metric over time, the game changes.

Let’s talk about the simple act of reputation management. Are you relying on your social media company or internal team to do this? Are they actually reporting to you not just on the number of friends, follows or likes you have, but how your community and your customers perceive you?

Numbers are just numbers unless they’re capped off with a meaningful activity that will improve them or address issues. It’s not enough to know how many people are listening – you have to know how they’re listening and what they’re saying about you, and set a benchmark to improve those numbers. Some more concrete ideas to focus on:

  • # of negative/positive reviews over time
  • Whether those negative or positive reviews are tied to an individual sales person or service
  • # of stories about you in the local (or national!) news over time
  • TV, paper and billboard circulation and dealership-wide response – plus how these numbers tie into digital

Don’t just make it about the sales numbers. Yes, that’s your bottom line – but if you’re not watching how your perception in your community or with your customers is changing over time and how to constantly make it better, your competitors are. And they’re besting you.

That’s not a game worth losing when it’s so simple to win.