The VMware Culture Journey to Inspire Customer Centricity

VMware Inspires a Customer-Centric Culture

Customer centricity is a hot topic in business these days, as more and more companies challenge themselves to foster a “customer-centric culture.” But that’s a tall order – not to mention an ambiguous one – and it raises a number of questions, such as:

  • What is a customer-centric culture anyway?
  • Why is it important?
  • Who is responsible?
  • How do you inspire a customer-centric culture?

We are actively leading a customer centricity transformation at VMware, and while every organization is unique, our answers to these questions may prove useful as you embark on your own journey. And the word “journey,” when it comes to a customer-centric culture, is key.

For us, it all started with an unwavering passion to do the right thing for our customers, and over time it became clear that we needed to develop a deliberate strategy around it. We’ll talk more about our strategy later, but for now let’s break down the basics.

What is a Customer-Centric Culture, Anyway?

Customer centricity is more than a concept – it’s a mission. At VMware, we believe that customer centricity goes beyond creating great customer experiences – we put the customer at the center of everything we do. Customer centricity is a core company value, a way of thinking, and an approach to doing business.

To achieve that state of being, I can’t overstate the importance of humanizing the customer for your employees. Real culture shift happens when your employees walk in your customer’s shoes and genuinely understand how their individual roles impact the customer experience (even if they aren’t customer-facing!). With understanding comes empathy, and with empathy comes motivation to make a difference.

Why is it Important?

Ah, the million-dollar question. Starting at the top with our CEO Pat Gelsinger, we firmly believe it is our responsibility to provide the best possible experience for our customers. After all, VMware wouldn’t exist without them. In short, it’s the right thing to do.

We also know that consumers and businesses today have more options than ever before, and if we don’t deliver the kind of experience our customers expect, they won’t continue doing business with us. VMware thrives when our customers successfully harness our solutions to meet their business needs – so it makes sense business-wise for us to listen and act on our customers’ needs.

Who is Responsible?

Every employee plays a role in the customer experience. Whether front-of-house or back-office, we all contribute to our customers’ perception of our company.

At VMware, our Customer Advocacy team drives the customer centricity strategy which helps every team, from Leadership on down, understand their role in creating an exceptional customer experience.

In my view, an effective culture strategy has two main components:

  1. Active participation from the entire Leadership team. Employees will prioritize what their leaders are focused on. We work with all functional leaders to ensure their customer obsession talk tracks are woven into every major communication, from all-hands meetings to newsletters; and that they convey a sense of importance and urgency, focusing directly on the customer experience elements that are in the wheelhouse of their audience.
  2. Individual employee customer-centric decision making. We strive to empower every employee with the insights, resources, and independence necessary to operate in the best interests of both VMware and its customers. To facilitate customer-centric decision making, we also strive to ensure that customers are top of mind for all employees, day in and day out. This is where customer-centric culture comes in, and it is why we’ve fully dedicated a member of our team to lead culture programs that create customers for life.

How Do You Inspire a Customer-Centric Culture?

Inspiring a customer-centric culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey, and my team has learned plenty of lessons along the way. Some of our efforts have been more effective than others, but this is to be expected.

One of our notable successes to date has been VMware’s annual celebration of Customer Experience (CX) Day, an industry holiday. We think that CX Day is akin to a wedding anniversary! While you work hard at your customer relationships every day of the year, as you do your marriage, CX Day is a great opportunity to pause, celebrate, and show gratitude for the relationship you have with your customers.  Our worldwide celebrations have engaged employees via interactive journey mapping, tours of a customer story “museum,” and other activities to acquire feedback on how to improve the customer experience. See how we celebrated CX Day in 2018!

While CX Day is impactful, we obviously want our employees to think about customer experience more than once a year! To that end, we created a global ‘CX Leaders’ program to cultivate a network of customer enthusiasts across VMware. The inaugural set of leaders were prior recipients of an internal award recognizing individuals who went above and beyond to deliver a great customer experience. The Leaders conceptualized a program known as Customer Appreciation Week, which focused on the power of an unexpected thank you. Over the course of the week, our sales teams reached out to nearly 4,000 customers to thank them for their commitment to doing business with VMware – and that was it. That’s right – no sales pitch, no upsell, no renewal prompt. The customers were surprised and delighted by the display of appreciation with no strings attached – and for us it was a simple way to maintain relationships and reinforce our commitment to our customers.

Our Closed Loop program is another area where we invest to engage employees and strengthen customer relationships. The program connects dissatisfied customers with VMware employees to dive deeper into feedback provided through various listening posts. In these conversations, the VMware employee seeks to understand the root cause of dissatisfaction and build a relationship with the customer, then follows up with the appropriate internal business unit(s) to develop improvement plans. The program mutually benefits VMware’s customers and employees, and it’s one of the best opportunities for an employee to walk in our customer’s shoes.

Closing Thoughts

I’d like to leave you with a final thought, which is that customer centricity isn’t binary – it’s a journey that begins with customer focus and extends to customer obsession. For us at VMware, it represents a fundamental business transformation that will extend far into our future. The best is yet to come!

The No. 1 Enemy of Dealer Customer Retention!

I discovered a surprising truth after three years as Customer Retention Manager for a large volume dealer in Houston. There is a hidden enemy that must be addressed before any customer retention initiatives can be achieved. It is the no. 1 enemy of client retention, and yet most practitioners fail to recognize it, let alone address it.

It’s the reason why many dealers are left with small, gradual changes in their retention efforts that pale in contrast to the huge budgets and time spent acquiring new customers. But by keeping an existing customer, who is apt to buy again, dealers could be spending many times less to obtain the same amount new vehicle sales.  As proof of this, the 2018 Cox Automotive Service Study found that buyers who returned to the selling dealer for service in the past 12 months were 74% more likely to return to that selling dealer for their next vehicle purchase. Returning service customers were 74% more likely to buy their next vehicle from that same selling store! Those who didn’t return for service in the past 12 months were only 35% more likely to return for their next purchase.  That should gain the attention of most dealer GM’s, who generally come from the sales side of the business.

And speaking of sold customers returning for their next vehicle purchase, that same Cox study revealed a negative by-product of today’s obsession with “conquesting” sales from other dealers.  “Not a convenience location” (no. 5 reason in the 2015 survey) moved up to the second most given reason for new vehicle purchasers not returning to the dealer where they purchased.  So, there is a very good chance that many of today’s conquest vehicle sales will not return to that original dealer for service because they live out of the area where the selling dealer is located.

So, what is the number 1 enemy of retail auto customer retention?

No, the number 1 enemy isn’t a limited budget. Although a sufficient budget is necessary, it’s not the real enemy of a successful retention strategy.

Lack of buy-in from the dealer and management? It’s important, but the reason store leadership doesn’t get solidly behind a retention push is directly tied to the no. 1 enemy.

Silos are a real problem. You must address them, and it is not simple to do so, but they are not the real problem.

Competing initiatives are often cited as a reason for lack of meaningful progress in addressing customer retention. But these agendas usually directly support the number 1 enemy of retention. And that focus distracts management from seriously directing resources in the support of retention.

The lack of a robust technical infrastructure? Yes, retention can be aided with better technology, but it is not the true obstacle to retention.

Lack of training? It certainly helps to have trained employees, but if the average auto retailer really believed in retaining existing customers as a primary strategy, they would find the budget and time to train their workers. HINT: All the training, technology and “knowledge” in the world is not going to thoroughly address the number 1 enemy of retaining customers!

Lack of support from the OEM? No, automakers are offering more and more mega cash incentives for customer retention, as I covered in this post for the MaritzCX Cafe blog.

It’s transactionalism, an all-consuming focus by dealers on the “deal” or the “RO” is the number 1 enemy of a successful customer retention program. And that obsession consumes both the larger part of store budgets as well as the time spent by the staff.So, what is the number 1 enemy of a successful customer retention transformation?

Transactionalism describes the decades old, deeply ingrained tradition of placing the transaction front and center as the primary strategy for most auto retailers. And while the transaction has always been the primary focus of showroom sales, it’s just as prevalent these days in the service lane. Customer facing employees are paid to maximize and close “deals/ROs”, and because of that, retaining customers takes a back seat.

I’ve heard it said time and time again that there is little customer loyalty these days in retail auto. But how would we know? If the industry is so intoxicated with the transaction, and much less so with retaining the customer, it’s no wonder customer loyalty is perceived as dead. I spoke directly to this reality in a past MaritzCX Cafe post titled Retail Auto: Client Loyalty is not Dead, But Client Follow-Up is!

But there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon.  Early last year, one of the largest automakers launched the first ever OEM customer rewards program and another major manufacturer followed soon thereafter.  And there is strong evidence that other OEMs are pivoting more and more towards implementing strategies that handsomely reward dealers and their associates for focusing on  retention.

That’s great, but the big question left is, how are the OEMs going to move the needle of retention forward, when most of the dealers are still consumed with “transaction?”  This is all about changing behavior at the dealership, which is the toughest challenge of all.

Behavioral Science Can Reveal Your Customers’ True Feelings

Insights Come Hand and Hand with Listening

There is no feedback more important for companies to utilize than the candid, true thoughts and feelings of employees and customers. In fact, having a detailed understanding of your brand’s emotional connection to consumers can produce positive financial results and retain valuable customers, while even attracting new ones.

Behavioral science is the study of human behaviors; the causes and the effects. There’s much we can learn from people’s actions and decisions that can help businesses to draw conclusions and make predictions that ultimately impact them financially. From product development to sales and services, every person in the journey and every step that’s taken by an organization will contribute overall to the emotional trust that consumers have for a brand.

According to an article published by The Harvard Business Review, on average “fully connected” customers are 52% more valuable to businesses than those who are just “highly satisfied” with the brand or service. Any company, from any industry can forge powerful connections to their customers by properly identifying and aligning themselves to the specific emotions that drive profitable behaviors. The first step is to identify how your customers feel and find the places to fill the gap between general satisfaction and full-on loyalty.

Be Aware of the Brain and How It Works

As humans, our brains are always working around the clock. Everyone has motivators, expectations, and experiences that influence how we feel and react. We will all bring to the table different elements and can’t change how our brains are wired. Constantly, our brains are taking in information and even making quick judgments or decisions on a moment’s notice. A huge number of daily decisions are made intuitively, and most decisions rely on feelings and emotions more than rationality. Especially when it comes to “gut feelings,” something we trust within ourselves more than any outside logic or mental analysis.

And unfortunately, although our brains are quite amazing, the constant stream of brain activity actually deteriorates the quality of our decisions over time, leading to an irrational trade-off in decision making. This is called decision fatigue.

For example, after a long day, do you want to go home and cook a meal, or just simply get takeout? Earlier in the day, before mental exhaustion kicks in, going home to cook a nice meal might sound healthy and cost effective. But by the end of the day, one might lean towards take-out instead because it’s easy and quick. Neither decision is necessarily good or bad, it’s just all about the condition of our minds prior to making decisions, that determine the amount of concentration delegated to certain choices over others.

Another factor that drives perception is the “peak-end” rule. This is whether an experience is remembered as pleasant or not, based only on the peak moment, or the end of the experience. Instead of a “general” overall recollection, it’s only what is remembered most, that drives the perception.

In order to manage and control perceptions, organizations need to pay equal attention to the emotional side of their customer experiences, as well as the operational processes. When customers don’t feel like their concerns are being heard or met, they will go where they will be addressed, and that doesn’t guarantee that you keep their business.

Learning to leverage behavioral science will give companies the ability to identify customer emotions with financial impact and provide them with a “neuro” road-map for maintaining loyalty. Because being aware of the brain, and how it works, can bridge the gaps in any customer and employee experience; if only you are willing to listen.

The Emotional Insight That Awaits You

Lots of emotional insight is waiting to be unlocked, but where to begin? In order to maximize opportunities from emotional connections, companies must examine every customer touch point and find opportunities where they can enhance the emotional motivators. It’s important to understand what you need to measure, and where.

The following questions can be helpful to begin with:

  • What promotes consumer behavior, and what emotions contribute to decisions?
  • What type of personas are being interacted with?
  • Who is interacting with who?
  • What is trying to be accomplished overall?
  • What are customers going through, and how do they feel along the way?

A great way to collect answers to these questions are through customer journey maps. Journey mapping helps to interpret what your customer will go through, and what they are actually feeling.

Throughout the customer journey, there are places to keep tabs on what consumers are thinking and feeling during certain moments. To find crucial touch and pain points, Quantitative surveys with open ended unstructured data, analyzed with text analytics, can detect in customer language a variety of topics that stand out. Creating and understanding a range of feelings and experiences from the collected data, especially the intense ones, closes the gap between customer expectations and the actual experience. These customer insights can determine where damage is being done and allow for prevention of future occurrences.

All the right experiences can be designed to reach the right touch points when you acknowledge the brain and determine the proper “feelings” for your employees and customers.

Set the Bar for Proactively Understanding Your Customers

A recent MaritzCX study revealed that 80% of the companies who proactively gather, analyze, manage and use insights into customers’ feelings have better financial performance, year-over-year.

Whether you have a pre-existing customer experience program for your business or are jump-starting a new one, first ask yourself, “Do you know how your customers feel about their experiences they are having with your brand?

Emotional connections are no longer a mystery and can be utilized by businesses in-tune with their customers, as a competitive advantage to growth. At MaritzCX we work with businesses to prioritize and focus on what elements have the biggest emotional impact.

Listen to, The ROI of Feelings webinar to learn more.

CX Experts We Love

Why do we love whom we love? It’s a question for the ages, unanswerable by poets, philosophers or songwriters. And yet, for some people, there are so many reasons why we love them. They make our lives better, share their expertise, uplift our spirits, and show profound generosity. This is a Valentine to those people, and more specifically those people who work in CX.

These authors, speakers, thought-leaders and dedicated customer experience professionals have all helped contribute to the widespread adoption of CX, not just as a strategy, but as a higher goal. They’re here, tirelessly working in every industry to make people’s lives just a bit easier, and a lot more joyful.

These are the CX experts we love, and we are happy to introduce you to them all.

If you’re on this list and you’d like for us to update your details, please send us a note.

Amy Etheridge

Why we love Amy: She’s head of Customer Advocacy at MindTouch. She was tapped to look after the customer experience as a whole as company growth accelerated. Her She is a customer journey expert whose analysis of customer feedback at key touchpoints has led to product and service enhancements that have delighted customers.

Angus Yang

Why we love Angus: He’s the Customer Experience Manager at Sendoso and prides himself in “helping people connect the old fashion way.” His responsibilities change on any given day but you’ll usually find him deep in conversation with a client, answering questions in the support queue, helping explain a new product feature they released, or onboarding clients for success. He’s a big believer in building relationships and is proud dad of Owen the corgi.

Annette Franz

Why we love Annette: She’s the Founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She has experience in both helping companies understand their employees and customers and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that, together, they can design a better experience for all constituents. She co-hosts the weekly #CXChat on Twitter, serves as an executive officer on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), mentors other professionals in this field to help them advance their careers, and is a speaker and an avid writer.

Augie Ray

Why we love Augie: He’s the Sr. Director Analyst: Senior research analyst & executive advisor on Customer Experience at Gartner. He has had a rewarding career as both a thought and people leader. He has implemented successful CX, VoC, social media and marketing programs and led highly-engaged teams, both co-located and remote around the globe. People refer to him as an iconoclast, skeptic, and change agent for his desire to bypass hype, solve business issues, and exploit customer opportunities with speed, creativity, and collaboration. Plus, his Twitter feed!

Blake Morgan

Why we love Blake: She’s a self-described “customer experience futurist”, keynote speaker, author of More Is More: How the Best Companies Go Farther and Work Harder to Create Knock-Your-Socks-Off Customer Experiences, and host of The Modern Customer Podcast. She’s also a contributor to Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and Hemispheres Magazine.

Clare Muscutt

Why we love Clare: She’s a digital nomad, keynote speaker, Founder of CMXperience, and shares her personal thoughts and experiences on The CX Nomad. Having held a number of senior CX leadership roles in Marketing and Retail, across a number of sectors, working for and with some of the UK’s best known brands, Clare has finely tuned her expertise to educate and engage internal teams to design and deliver industry leading services, and create innovative solutions that deliver the desired results for her clients at pace.

Colin Shaw

Why we love Colin: He’s a keynote speaker, best-selling author of several books such as The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives For Moving Your Customer Experience to the Next Level, the CEO of Beyond Philosophy, and Co-Host of The Intuitive Customer Podcast. Also, LinkedIn has recognized him as one of the world’s Top 150 Business Influencers.

David Yin

Why we love David:  He’s VP of Customer Insights at A seasoned CX pro, David was with the Global Consumer Insights team at Clorox and Head of Global Research and Brand Strategy at Fitbit before joining the venerable family history and genomics company. He took a crawl, walk, run approach to building out his function at Ancestry, delivering early wins that built momentum and respect for the Voice of the Customer across the company.

Ellie Wu

Why we love Ellie: She’s a speaker, writer, and Senior Director of Customer Success at SAP Concur. Through hyper-growth SaaS companies, Ellie developed a fascination with the customer. Realizing the impact and the translated value for an organization, she created PictureCS (CliffsNotes for Customer Success Best Practices). She counsels leaders and teams responsible for customer outcomes by designing stronger organizations and guide cross-functional teams to leverage mutually beneficial opportunities with an advanced understanding of the customer journey, sales, product marketing, and operations.

Guneet Singh

Why we love Guneet: He’s Director of Customer Experience & Advocacy at Docusign where he leads the company’s NPS, customer advocacy, customer labs & customer research.  He uses state-of-the-art technology to retrieve and analyze customer data to boost the likelihood of delivering meaningful improvement in customer experience. Sharing this data is key to garnering support for change, he says: “There are journey points that need to be addressed. But if you don’t have hard facts attached to them … then your management team will [ignore these points].”

Jeanne Bliss

 Why we love Jeanne: She’s a speaker, best-selling author, most notably for Would You Do That to Your Mother?: The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers, a coach for Chief Customer Officers, host of the podcast The Human Duct Tape Show, and frequently writes articles on her site, Customer Bliss. And we probably haven’t even got everything covered.

Jeannie Walters

Why we love Jeannie: She’s a TEDx speaker, CEO and Chief Customer Experience Investigator at 360 Connext, trainer, workshop leader, consultant, and podcaster. Her specialty is connecting with audiences to help them emotionally connect with those they serve. It’s not as easy as we think and our brains work against us! Using humor, stories and her experience as a customer experience consultant, she uncovers what’s stopping your organization or association from really delivering great experiences.

Jessica Pfeifer

Why we love Jessica: We might be biased because she was Chief Customer Officer at Wootric, but she’d make our list even if she wasn’t. At InMoment, Jessica works with our phenomenal team to build a modern approach to enterprise customer feedback management. She guides our mid-market and enterprise customers by helping to solve complex problems and execute Voice of Customer strategy using machine learning. Her expert, consultative approach to customer experience gives her customers a competitive edge in the CX space. 

Joey Coleman

Why we love Joey: As a keynote speaker, workshop leader, and consultant, Joey helps businesses design creative ways to engage customers – especially in the crucial first 100 days of the customer lifecycle. As a professional speaker who has given thousands of speeches all over the world, he also works with a small number of private coaching clients to develop and hone their speaking skills. His book Never Lose a Customer Again discusses the 8 phases your customer has the potential to travel through as part of their customer journey and the 6 tools you can use during that journey to create remarkable experiences for your customers.

Kia Puhm

Why we love Kia: She’s the Founder and CEO of K!A CX Consulting. She has held chief positions in customer success, services, account management and support at companies such as: Oracle, Eloqua, Day Software (Adobe), Intelex Technologies, and Blueprint Software Systems. Kia has pioneered the art of Customer Experience by leading businesses through the transition to customer-centric organizations. Her methodology provides clients with a disciplined and sustainable approach to increasing customer lifetime value and loyalty. She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering.

Maxie Schmidt

Why we love Maxie: She’s a keynote speaker, author, Principal Analyst at Forrester, and has a PhD in Business Management on Customer Care. She helps clients achieve smart profit growth through product and price optimization based on deep customer insights and has managed engagements and projects in a wide range of industries like telecommunication, retail, software, transportation, and high-tech.

Melinda Gonzalez

Why we love Melinda: She’s a Customer Experience Strategist with experience in Customer Success Management, Customer Experience Design, Voice of the Customer, and Customer Retention/Loyalty/Advocacy practices. She spent a decade at Salesforce and is now part of the incredible team at WeWork, bringing the Powered by We vision to life.

Rachel English

Why we love Rachel: She’s the Director of Customer Experience at Zuora. Rachel has built and led high-performing, thought-leading customer-focused teams. Through those experiences, and as a regular customer herself, she has developed a proven philosophy and methodology for creating Customer Success and honing an end-to-end Customer Experience. Rachel believes that companies and their customers are only truly successful together, and she understands the building blocks and the details needed to compound that effect.

Sandra Mathis

Why we love Sandra: She’s the Customer Experience Director and thought leader for Strong-Bridge Envision Consulting. She helps organizations and clients develop customer experience strategies, measurement programming, actioning of insights, and facilitate workshops focused on: customer journey mapping, employee engagement, to enable organizations to move the needle with customer experience adoption for higher customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Sarang Bhatt

Why we love Sarang: Sarang is an Account Executive at InMoment. His big heart, quick wit, and eye for process have made him besties with many a customer. “I learn a customer’s goals and what motivates them – why do they want implement a Voice of Customer Program? To reduce churn? Optimize their product or service? Knowing that enables me to anticipate their needs and present them with a plan that will give them success. The real transformative customer experience comes when you can answer the questions they don’t know they have. It’s in that moment that you win a customer for life.” His specialties are NPS, CES, CSAT and text analytics.

Shep Hyken

Why we love Shep: He’s the CAO (Chief Amazement Officer) of Shepard Presentations. He’s also a keynote speaker, Customer Service trainer, and the author of The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty, among other best-selling books. In 2008 Shep was inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame speaker for lifetime achievement in the professional speaking industry.

Steven Van Belleghem

 Why we love Steven: He’s a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, author of four best-selling books, one of his most popular being Customers the Day After Tomorrow: How to Attract Customers in a World of AIs, Bots, and Automation. He is also Co-Founder of consultancy firm Nexxworks and the Co-Founder of content creation company Snackbytes. He is an investor in the AI startup Hello Customer and the fast-growing digital agency Intracto.

Sue Duris

Why we love Sue: She’s a speaker, writer, mentor, Director of Marketing at M4 Communications, and co-host of #CXChat, a weekly Twitter chat on customer experience and employee experience. She’s passionate about helping organizations differentiate and grow by coaching them to be customer-centric, advising them on their digital transformation initiatives, and collaborating with them to design omnichannel experiences that engage employees and deliver customer value. She’s also a diversity and inclusion advocate.

Venk Chandran

 Why we love Venk: He’s a customer-obsessed Director, Product Management at who is an evangelist for the use of Customer Effort Score metric at SFDC and in the broader SaaS technology space. Venk uses CES and other customer metrics to monitor and improve the self-service customer experience at Salesforce. Bottomline, customers are his playbook.

6 Tips to Make Your Customer Service Emails More Effective

When you work in customer service you deal with hundreds of emails in a day. So, it can be easy to lose sight of just how important each one is. A single negative interaction can be enough to turn a person off your business.

People like to feel as if their problem matters to the person on the other end. Giving your emails a personal feel can be very helpful in facilitating positive and effective interactions between customer support and clients.

Use their name

Start by greeting them with a friendly hello before you dive into solving their issue. Use their name. The way you greet the customer sets the tone for the rest of the interaction, so it’s important. Don’t be weird and address them as ‘customer,’ or goodness forbid, by their case number. People like to feel as if they’re having an interaction with an actual human and not a machine. There’s no quicker way to make a customer feel like they’re dealing with a soulless robot than to address as their case number.

Get everyone on the same page

“Summarize what is happening currently with their issue to ensure everyone is on the same page. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer for confirmation if you think they might be misunderstanding,” advises Brian Sorensen, email marketer at BigAssignments. It’s much better to sort things out sooner than later. If you’re dealing with an ongoing situation or one that is complicated, then it’s never a bad idea to review what is happening. Rephrasing things back to the customer is a great way to make sure you are understanding each other.

Promise them a solution

Conduct your customer service interactions in a way that minimizes the number of customers checking in to see how things are progressing. Keep your customer updated on how things are going; this should happen at least once a day. Give them expectations. Let them know when you will be contacting them again with an update. You can’t guarantee them a solution in that timeframe, but you can guarantee them a check-in. You’ll find this makes your customers a lot less anxious, people like to know what to expect, especially when something isn’t working for them.

Be realistic about the situation

Be honest with your customers about what you’ll be able to help them with. When you overpromise you just create more headaches for both you and the customer. When you mess something up, own it, and apologize to the customer. If the product fails, apologize. Making excuses for failing or the product failing will only make the customer angrier. Focus on fixing the problem and being transparent. People appreciate honesty, and even if they are upset, they will still appreciate you owning the situation.

Canned replies work

Yes, you read that correctly. Used properly, canned replies can be very effective and save you a ton of time. The trick is to know when it is appropriate to send out a canned reply. In customer service you’ll find that a lot of interactions start repeating themselves, and for those common situations, a canned reply is fine. You can still write canned replies that feel personal and not as if they came from a robot. Automating the basic replies leaves you with more time to deal with more complicated situations that arise. Ensure your sending these  at the most suitable times for your customers by using an email scheduling tool.

Write better emails with these online resources

Writing is a skill that requires regular practice and fine-tuning. Punctuation, spelling, using the correct word — it all matters. If English is your second language, or you slept through English class, here are some resources to help you nail your text and avoid coming off as sloppy.

Grammarly and Grammar Guide – Check out these grammar resources. They are perfect for simplifying grammar and making it easy for you to understand and use English correctly.

WritingExplained – Is it “#001D30” or “gray”? This blog covers these common mistakes. Don’t let errors ruin your otherwise great emails.


An email will never be as personal as a face to face interaction, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it as personal and pleasant as possible for the customer. Small things make a huge difference when it comes to customer service emails. Each positive interaction counts and helps build a relationship between the brand and the customer. Use these six tips to make your customer service emails feel personal.

Grace Carter is a content manager at BoomEssays services. She creates business presentations, teaches interns and curates support communications.

Measure and improve customer experience. Sign up today for free Net Promoter Score, CSAT or Customer Effort Score feedback with InMoment.

The Definitive Data-Driven Airport Ranking List

Google this: “best airports in the US 2018”

Do you see that? 660 million results. There are gigabytes upon gigabytes of articles across the internet about the pros and cons of various US airports. However, there’s rarely consensus between the many listicles, slideshows and travel blogs. So, Lexalytics, an InMoment company, mined social data from ten of the busiest airports in America. The goal? Rate these airports based on actual customer experience signal. The result: a ranked list driven by data science, not editorializations and PR.

After this project concluded, Lexalytics partnered with Gensler’s Los Angeles Aviation and Transportation Studio, the industry leader in global airport architecture. Together, the teams are completing a firm-wide research project that, in the words of Gensler, aims at “leveraging sentiment analysis to inform the planning and design of airports.”

Architects Kate O’Connor, Justin Wortman and Andy Huang from Gensler have been using Lexalytics’ Semantria Storage & Visualization (Semantria SV) to mine social media data about dozens of America’s airports, with the aim being to find the signal in the noise of customer feedback. Through Semantria’s sentiment analysis technology, the team is generating deep, data-driven insights into what travelers and staff value in their airport experience. It bears mentioning that the information and views presented in this article are Lexalytics alone. This list does not in any way represent the opinions of Gensler or its affiliates.


This simplified example serves to illustrate the basic concepts behind rules-based sentiment analysis. In other words, -1 is very negative and +1 is very positive.

We’ve taken 30,748 Facebook comments from ten of America’s busiest airports and ran them through our Semantria Storage & Visualization platform. A bit of perspective: 30,748 Facebook comments equates to 869,973 words, enough to fill 2,768 pages. That’s more than double the size of War and Peace!

Using natural language processing, we algorithmically sorted the airports based on real customer feedback. In other words, the ranking is based on an airport’s average customer sentiment, rather than opinion or star rating. Want to know more about the factors that influenced each airport’s ranking? Click on each airport’s name to review our deep dive into customer sentiment.

  1. San Francisco International Airport

Sentiment Weight: +0.28

If you read our earlier SFO article, it should come as no surprise that San Francisco International Airport tops the list for customer satisfaction. The airport began using social listening in 2017, making improvements aligned with customer demand. Judi Mosqueda, the Director of Project Management for SFO, oversaw the investment of $7.3 million towards improving the airport’s wayfinding experience. This project addresses a major customer concern. The data shows how the social mentions of wayfinding at SFO jumps from very negative to very positive in a year’s time. It’s clear that customers can be your best business adviser if you listen properly – using the right tools.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +0.96′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=””]I fly out of SFO for work and fun roughly 30 times per year. Yes there are weather delays, but this airport is truly a pleasure to use! The terminals are all being updated or have recently been updated, their [sic] are improvements in the weather delays, and there are plenty of flight options to choose from. The food has been getting better as the terminal renovations finish, which makes the weather delays more tolerable… The staff is great at serving the customers that pack in as delays stack up. The lounges are where I’ve noticed the biggest changes. American’s Terminal 2 Admirals Club is immaculate! If you have the pleasure of flying through SFO I highly recommend it![/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.51′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=””]Flights frequently get delayed due to ‘weather.’ You can play the weather card here and there, but when half your flights throughout the year are delayed due to ‘weather,’ that’s called a ‘scheduling’ problem.[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Las Vegas McCarran International

Sentiment Weight: +0.24

What happens in Vegas can also skew the feelings of travelers who make their way through Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Negatively scored reviews often criticize aspects of the city well beyond the control of airport stakeholders. Using a properly tuned social listening tool like Semantria SV, we see that often the negative customer sentiment is aimed at the City of Sin itself. We also learn that many travelers seem to enjoy the idea of having slot machines in the airport, while others found them an unpleasant reminder of past decisions. When it comes to the airport services themselves, like complimentary wifi on the tarmac, customer reviews score very positively. Overall, travelers find themselves engaged, on time, and happy while at LAS.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +2.83′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]Flew Virgin America for the first time. Classic funk hit ‘Flashlight’ was blasting through the speakers at ticketing! Gotta give them at least four stars for that alone! Also, won at gambling in the terminal. Even better? You get to enjoy super-fast FREE wifi![/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.59′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]I liked it but they need to get rid of the slots. After a week n [sic] Vegas I didn’t want to see another slot. I was so ready to go home. Four days is plenty n [sic] that town.[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Seattle-Tacoma International

Sentiment Weight: +0.19

The deep-dive into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport details how the customer experience breaks all departmental silos. Dirty bathrooms, for example, exacerbate complaints about costly food. However, despite some small challenges, Sea-Tac’s positive reviews account for nearly 40% of its data set — not bad. Topics ranging from the attitude and helpfulness of staff to the quality of the (expensive) food all score positively. By using smart NLP solutions to its advantage, Sea-Tac could quite easily make the changes needed to find its way to the top of this list.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +0.68′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]A welcome stop in a long trip the food is good a little pricey but I guess that’s to be expected, train ride was nice and quick and the staff was friendly!!![/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.62′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Why are all airport’s food so darn expensive? $12 for water and crackers??? Additionally the terminals aren’t equal in terms of food options. Previously I’ve never had an issue with bathrooms but I gotta say this experience was DISGUSTING. Hair everywhere. Gag me. But otherwise it’s great, the staff is very friendly and very helpful![/perfectpullquote]

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Sentiment Weight: +0.15

As the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is bound to face some challenges. Through the power of NLP and social listening, it becomes clear that its biggest problem is with the wayfinding experience, despite recent and costly renovations. The data also shows that the saving grace for Atlanta is the staff, who are reviewed as courteous and helpful. Still, no amount of good cheer and manners can make up for the navigation nightmare of trying to find the proper gate.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +1.08′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=””]I had to navigate this huge airport with two small children, luggage, and a carseat [sic]. I can honestly say any attendant who saw me was more than helpful. Directing me to TSA, picking us up from the park and ride, and just being considerate. A large place but the staff is more than capable.[/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.24′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Nice airport, good restaurants… only complaint — the signage could use a little bit of work. I stepped off the train to [sic] soon because of the confusing signage between terminal T and the baggage claim. (I’ve actually done this twice on two different trips :-D)[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Denver International

Sentiment Weight: +0.15

Thanks to a colorful connection with conspiracy theorists, Denver’s reviews speak of anti-gravity rooms, the Illuminati, and “Blucifer” — the giant bucking bronco sculpture at the entrance to the airport. As detailed in the linked write-up, social listening shows many of these complaints represent a potential path for customer engagement. When you tune the results, the data show that staff get twice as many positive comments as negative ones. They also reveal that while customers don’t mind the Illuminati so much, they could go for some more hooks on bathroom stalls and an improved baggage claim experience.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +1.35′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]It is actually an underground Illuminati headquarters. The enormous, hideous blue horse statue with glowing red eyes next to the entrance road killed it’s [sic] sculptor before he finished it. The runway layout looks like a swastika when seen from space. There is a mural in one terminal that shows a child in a coffin. There are gargoyles on the inside of the building… Also, the people that work here are extremely nice and helpful![/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -1.24′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Fantastic airport ruined by terrible bag delays which are common. Waited more than 30 minutes for my bags. Unacceptable.[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Dallas/Fort Worth International

Sentiment Weight: +0.14

In 2017, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport ranked as both the best and worst airport (on different lists, of course). That it lands here on our list makes perfect sense as customer reviews score mostly neutral. Still, our sentiment analysis reveals that when travelers do get passionate about DFW, it’s usually about cleanliness. Interestingly, a PR director working for a DFW affiliated agency reached out to contest our findings; head over to the deep-dive article to see the exchange — and see the differences between AI and PR. A trove of positive comments highlight DFW’s inter-terminal tram system, Skylink. When properly maintained, Skylink is a unanimous crowd pleaser.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +0.44′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]Best airport for kids! Kids play areas and the Skylink! We purposefully will always layover at DFW because it’s always a great experience.[/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.97′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]One of the grossest airports I’ve been to. Carpet in the waiting areas is absolutely filthy, as are the seats in the sky trams as well. Not sure if they even vacuum???[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Chicago O’Hare International

Sentiment Weight: +0.08

Chicago’s position on this list is unique from the others, as the sentiment weight is skewed. The subject of a viral national news story, ORD received a flurry of one-star reviews in a short period of time. Using Lexalytics’ web dashboard, Semantria Storage & Visualization, we see occurrences of 1-star Facebook ratings jump from 11% to 58% within days of the incident. The number of 5-star ratings dropped by more than half overnight. There is no question the right social listening tool might have made all the difference to Chicago’s standing during that crucial time, a subject we explore in the article.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +0.98′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]Flight on time. Security line reasonable. Was not beaten and dragged off the flight I paid for by agents of an unchecked police state. So all in all a better than average experience.[/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -1.61′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]I’m paying for wifi and I’m using my last amount of battery to write this glowing review of O’Hare, that’s how much I’m disappointed with this airport. As a disclaimer my flight was delayed due to not being able to clear snow from the runways. I won’t fault am airline/airport for weather, but I will fault you for not being able to handle minor precipitation. Not prepared for snow of any kind in December! Concourses are dated. Waiting areas have no outlets… and chairs look like they’re straight out of the 1970’s. Avoid O’Hare at all costs… Also, I figured out that all these large plastic bins scattered around on the floor of the airport are for the crappy leaky roof. Real great look, Chicago.[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Los Angeles International

Sentiment Weight: +0.06

If first impressions last forever, then Los Angeles International Airport is in trouble. Thanks to LA’s famous traffic, the airport faces challenges before customers and staff even arrive at the facility. While some of the responsibility lies with the City of Angels itself, the airport could use — and fortunately is using — AI powered natural language processing to effect landside improvements. The airport recently began deploying text analytics to inform infrastructure changes. Now, myriad improvements are in the works, ranging from a metro link to a tram connecting arrivals to rental car companies. If they follow through, LAX might rank much higher on future lists.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +2.55′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip] 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]I was pleasantly surprised by how chic the new airport remodel was! Nice little shops, a MAC counter, trendy eateries, a Tumi, and a Frederic M, plus plenty of places to charge my phone and tablet, and although I don’t drink, lots of bars for those that do![/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.17′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Food options are great….if you can get there threw [sic] the traffic. Once in the vicinity it is so bottle necked its [sic] a mess. The rental car return is so far away dont [sic] even bother. You teally [sic] have to leave where you are at (if youre [sic] within a 35 miles radius, longer if you are farther) at least 4-5 hours before your plane leaves, just to get to LAX. Onc e [sic] within your terminal its [sic] nice.[/perfectpullquote]

  1. New York John F. Kennedy International 

Sentiment Weight: +0.01

Like Las Vegas McCarran, John F. Kennedy International Airport is as much a cultural landmark as a business. Nonetheless, customers come through by the millions and have many of the complaints you might expect of a giant transit hub. Last year, the New York state government earmarked $7 billion for renovations. They run the risk of throwing good money after bad if they fail to tap into the strategic knowledge afforded by text analytics and social listening. When it comes to positive customer sentiment for JFK, there isn’t much consensus. The airport faces many challenges ahead if it wishes to win customers from its two nearest competitors, LGA and EWR.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +1.16′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]My favorite of the major NYC airports (JFK, LGA, EWR). Staff is somewhat friendlier and it’s an all around better environment.[/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -0.49′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Beyond frustrated with the lack of breastfeeding/pumping areas anywhere! No, I don’t want to pump at an airport terminal gate or in a booth at one of the terminal restaurants, but thanks for the offer. JFK is one of the busiest airports so not a lot of low traffic areas. Why don’t airports put outlets in the family bathrooms? It is hard enough having to travel with the extra supplies as is. Ugh… Also, no free wifi?[/perfectpullquote]

  1. Charlotte Douglas International 

Sentiment Weight: -0.01

People really, really don’t enjoy Charlotte-Douglass International Airport. The consensus narrative exposed by the analysis reveals a systemic attitude problem among staff. Data extracted from the reviews reflect personnel who don’t appear to care about customer experience. Complaints extend to a variety of other areas as well, from ADA compliance to poor signage and wayfinding design, and the recently defunct bathroom attendant program. Charlotte does stand tall with its communal spaces — central to which is a sunlit atrium appointed with trees and snow-white rocking chairs. If Charlotte begins listening to its customers, it will be better empowered to solve their core challenges. In turn, bonuses like rocking chairs will be seen more as a cherry on top, and less as a manifestation of tone-deaf customer support.

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight +0.30′]Key compliment:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#1d8413″ class=”” size=”14″]As a connecting airport, it has a way to go to compete with Atlanta in terms of efficiency, services, scope… but I *have* had some respectable longer layovers here that were pleasant enough in a big white rocker with someone playing piano in the terminal gently in the evening. As an embarkation airport, it still kinda sucks but is getting better.[/perfectpullquote]

[simple_tooltip content=’Sentiment Weight -1.76′]Key complaint:[/simple_tooltip]

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#c8300d” class=”” size=”14″]Horrible!!!! I am Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer with METS to many bones. I am wheelchair bound as walking is very difficult. One of the people was to take me to terminal 15 and instead dumped me at terminal 8 telling me the terminal has been changed. The terminal was never changed and I was simply deserted. People began asking me if I needed help, these were passengers not employees. Never again will I fly through Charlotte.[/perfectpullquote]

Thank you for flying with us

And so concludes our definitive, data-driven guide to ten of America’s busiest airports. During the ensuing data analysis, we’ve discovered insights about airport architecture and uncovered customer experience best practices; we even learned how to use AI to handle a viral press crisis. It’s clear that when visiting an airport, customers care most about staff attitude, cleanliness, and wayfinding (in that order).

Technology like social media listening is already disrupting the airport industry – and airports making use of it are well-placed to strategically meet customer needs and enjoy ongoing success. In future, social media listening’s role in the future of airport success will be as unquestioned as runway maintenance and duty-free retail. As the National Research Council’s Airport Cooperative Research Program says, “Airports do not have a choice about whether to be involved in social media; the question is how well they do it.”

Carmaker Mega-Bonus Incentive Programs Prompt Dealership Behavioral Changes

There’s a “cultural,” or if you will, “behavioral” change going on at car dealerships being driven by a source that might surprise many.  New, factory bonus incentive programs, such as GM’s EBE, ESE and PASE and Nissan’s Customer Experience Elements, are creating pressure on car dealers to bring “customer experience” to the same level of importance as the “transaction.

Third party consultants and suppliers have tried for decades to motivate dealers to focus more on the “experience.” Those efforts are being dramatically supported by escalating factory bonus programs aimed solely at creating a loyalty loop, where sold customers come back to service their vehicles at the selling store.  It is a proven fact that sold customers who return to that same dealer for service have much higher odds of buying their next vehicle from the dealer who sold them their previous one.

Genesis of Factory Incentives Begin With Dwindling New Car Margins

Car makers have always had incentive programs, but past payouts pale in comparison to today’s mega-programs, first launched 5 years ago.  It started with factory incentive programs dedicated to compensating dealers for dwindling showroom sales margins. Even today , about 40 percent of car dealers are not profitable in their new-car departments until they get factory spiffs, according to dealership consultancy NCM Associates. But the recent OEM incentives, commonly referred to as “stair-step” programs, are still heavily skewed towards solely boosting new car revenue profits, and not necessarily the showroom customer experience.

But as time has passed, and the era of the “connected customer” comes into play, the role of showroom sales is changing as well, with a greater emphasis on setting the stage for retaining customers for life. Sales personnel are now being asked to perform tasks beyond the transaction, such as completing the connected customer set-up (like OnStar), initiating the customer rewards sign-up and spending extra time in the delivery of the vehicle.  And factory incentive programs are even compensating the sales team directly for performing such tasks.

Two of the big three automakers have also introduced dealer wide “rewards programs” with the sole purpose of bringing the customer back again and again to boost service revenue and repeat sales.  The growth in targeted rewards, say dealers and consultants, increases manufacturers’ power to shape dealership operations in general, and staff behavior specifically.  At first, dealers balked at the prospect of corporate interference from incentive benefits, but over time, many have come to accept those bonuses as critical to the profitability of the store.

OEM incentives are changing store culture (behavior) by “fear of loss” rather than “benefit of gain”

For decades, automakers have tried to influence dealers to encourage their front line sales/service personnel to pay as much attention to creating a memorable customer experience, or as it is still referred to, CSI, as they do to the transaction…but to little or no avail.  Auto retailers have gotten more transparent, but mainly because the Internet has empowered customers to force change.  Transactional-ism is so ingrained in store personnel DNA, that training and technology, by itself, hasn’t forced the kind of behavioral changes needed to increase retention.  Dealer staff pay plans have always focused on “the deal” or “service RO”.  Employee pay plans are job descriptions… dictating the behavior of the sales/service personnel.  But OEMs discovered that pocketbook strategies are the only way to expand staff behaviors to focus on touch points that will directly affect customer experience and ongoing relationships…thus boosting “return revenue,” including their next vehicle purchase.  With factory bonus money on the line, those huge sums are beginning to strongly motivate the store leadership to formally implement management efforts focused directly on the tasks required to retain customers.  And OEM incentive payments directly to the staff for non-transactional, “experiential” practices are influencing staff behavior to place retention on the same level as “the deal”.  Another difference today is that, in addition to monetary payments, OEMs have dramatically increased the number of programs that specifically support the new factory standards accompanying the incentive bonuses.  Dealers aren’t left to their own devices to create and manage what the new programs require in the way of behavioral change.

Ground Zero For Retaining New Customers…The Service Experience

Dealer service centers have, not so affectionately, been referred to as “the back end” of the dealershipThe showroom has always been the primary focus of the dealer leadership, which is generally made up of store general managers groomed primarily in sales. While some of service directors saw this lack of attention as permission to “do their own thing”, the discontinuity between sales and service has had a negative impact on customer retention.  But those days are slowly diminishing.  In fact, the ever-increasing reliance on factory incentives is also changing how buyers assess a dealership purchase, buy-sell advisers say.  New-vehicle sales are no longer the predominant gauge of a dealership’s financial health. In fact, about three years ago, buyers started shifting their focus to fixed operations, specifically customer-pay service work, as the barometer for store profit potential, said buy-sell adviser Mark Johnson, president of MD Johnson Inc., near Seattle. The service center has clearly established itself as the primary profit center for the future of retail auto…at least until autonomous vehicles become a reality.  In fact, service has also become the  “second showroom”, as I spoke about in this MaritzCX Café post a year ago.  Vehicle exchange programs, stationed in service departments, have established themselves as a second point-of-sale for service customers who are in the market to move up or trade their old model in for a new one…thus facilitating dealers to turn a service visit into a new sale.

The service level customers experience is slowly becoming the great differentiator in retail auto today. The service department, in essence, provides a “loyalty loop” after the sale, where sold customers get a real taste of a dealership’s “customer care” level.

Bottom Line

Car manufacturers are mandating the right kind of cultural (behavioral) change at the dealership with huge factory incentives aimed primarily at “customer experience” and repeat business.  At first, auto retailers felt threatened by their diminishing entrepreneurial power, but many have come to accept, and more importantly, even depend on the programs as the major way to keep their stores profitable.  For decades OEMs and third-party consulting firms have attempted to expand the “transaction” minded dealership network to deliver a higher level of customer experience.  By incenting, closely monitoring and strongly supporting customer retention programs, OEM’s are forming closer relationships with their dealer partners in order to adapt to a fast-changing auto industry.

The Role of the Relationship Survey in CX Programs

Most comprehensive customer experience programs are made up of several different types of studies, the two most common of which are Transactional and Relationship studies. Here we will describe the differences between these two types of studies.

Transactional or trigger-based studies are the base of most customer experience programs. This type of study is conducted among current or recent customers and is used to ascertain the customer experience for a specific transaction or interaction. This type of research looks at near or short-term evaluations of the customer experience and often focuses on operational metrics. 

In contrast, the relational or relationship customer experience study is typically conducted among a random sample of the company’s customer base. Relational customer experience is used to understand the cumulative impressions customers form about their entire customer experience with the company. Importantly, this type of customer experience research is often the chassis for ascertaining specific aspects of the experience important to predicting loyalty and other customer behaviors. 

A. Transactional Customer Experience

In a transactional customer experience study, we focus on the details of a customer’s specific recent transaction. For example: 

  • The respondent’s most recent visit to Wendy’s 
  • The customer’s visit yesterday to her local Deutsche Bank branch 
  • Last week’s call to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield customer service center 
  • The respondent’s visit, 10 days ago, to Nielsen Nissan in Chesterton, Indiana, for routine auto maintenance. 

The overall rating we ask is the respondent’s overall evaluation of the specific transaction (visit, stay, purchase, and service). The attribute ratings are also specific to the specific transaction. 

B. Relational Customer Experience  

A relational customer experience study is broader in coverage. Here, we ask about the totality of the relationship with a company. In a relational customer experience study, the questions relate to the overall, accumulated experience the customer has had with the company. So rather than ask about the timeliness of an oil change at Nielsen Nissan and the quality of that service, the relational survey would ask for the respondent’s overall perceptions of Nielsen Nissan’s services across all the times the customer has interacted with that dealership. 

The overall ratings are often overall satisfaction with the relationship as a whole, willingness to recommend, and likelihood to return. Attributes are similarly broader in scope. We would not ask the customer about her satisfaction with the speed of service for her last oil change, instead we would ask about her satisfaction with the speed of service she usually gets when she visits Nielsen Nissan. 

C. Sampling Differences Between Transactional and Relationship Studies

In addition to the content of the surveys, a critical difference between these two studies is the sampling frame. In a transactional customer experience study, we sample customers who have interacted with the company recently. This is also sometimes called “trigger-based” customer experience since any type of interaction with the company can “trigger” the inclusion in a transactional customer experience study. 

In a relational customer experience study, we typically sample from the entire base of customers, including people who may not have interacted with the company recently. A relational customer experience study is projectable to the entire customer base, while a transactional customer experience study is a sub-set of customers – those who have interacted recently. 

When leveraging customer experience information with internal information, transactional customer experience information is often linked to operational metrics (such as wait time, hold time, staffing levels, etc.). In turn, through the use of bridge modeling, transactional research is often linked to relational customer experience, which is then linked to downstream business measures, such as revenue, profitability and shareholder value-add. 

D. Recommendations for Relationship Surveys 

Survey Content: As mentioned above, relationship surveys are meant to measure the totality of customers’ experiences with a given company. They are also meant to determine how customers are feeling about the company NOW. It is important to note that customers overall feelings about a company (as measured in relationship surveys) are often NOT the average of their transactional experience evaluations. This is because different transactions, especially if they are negative, can have a much larger effect on overall feelings toward a company than other transactions. 

Most relationship surveys contain questions addressing: 

  • Overall Metrics such as Likelihood to Recommend the Company, Overall Satisfaction with the Company, and Likelihood to Return or Repurchase 
  • High-level brand perceptions 
  • Company service channels usage and evaluations such as store/ dealership, finance company, call center/problem resolution teams, etc. 
  • Product usage and evaluations 
  • Share of Wallet measures 
  • Marketing/communication perceptions 

Survey Sampling: Who, how often and how many customers do you need to survey? There are no hard and fast rules but remember the idea is to obtain a representative sample of your customers. With that in mind: 

Who to Survey: All customers (whether they are recently active or not) should be available for sampling. You also might want to oversample small but important groups of customers (e.g., millennials, new owners, etc.) to ensure that you receive enough returns to analyze these groups separately. However, if you do oversample you will need to weight your data back to your customer demographics to ensure representative overall results. 

How Often to Survey: While transactional CX research is usually done on a continuous basis, relationship studies are usually conducted once or twice per year. How often companies conduct relationship studies is usually determined by the number of customers available (i.e., are there enough to conduct the study twice per year?) and when and how often decisions will be made based on the findings. 

How Many to Survey: This is often the most frequent question clients ask and the basic answer is that it depends on what organizational level you need the results to be representative of. The good news is that if you are only concerned about making decisions on the entire company level, only about 1000 well-sampled responses is sufficient. For most large companies that is a very small percentage of their customers. However, if you want the finding to be representative of lower levels of the organization for comparison purposes (e.g., zones, districts, stores) or want findings to be representative of certain customer groups (e.g., millennials, minorities, long-term customers, etc.) calculations need to be performed to determine the number of responses needed for these groups. Unfortunately, as demonstrated in the chart below, as the population size (e.g., company customers, zone customers, store customers) goes down, the percentage of customers needed to represent that population goes up. For instance, to obtain +/- 3 percentage point precision for a population of 3,000,000 people you only need 1067 randomly sampled returns. That is just 0.04% of the population. For a population of 30,000 people, you need 1030 returns which is 3.4% of the population. For a population of 3,000 the number of returns needed drops to 787, but that is 26.2% of a population of 3,000. For a very small population like 300, you need returns from 234 people (78.0%) of the population. 

population survey

E. Summary 

Both transactional and relationship surveys are key parts of any comprehensive customer experience program. Transactional surveys are great for assessing the quality of specific customer touch points and making improvements in those areas. Relationship surveys allow for the assessment of the entire customer experience across all touchpoints and therefore more closely relate to customer behaviors such as loyalty, customer spend, and customer advocacy.

How Sentiment Analysis Improves Employee Engagement in Healthcare

Employers know that hiring individuals who are a good fit is important to the company’s ultimate success, but not everyone recognizes that hiring is just the beginning. In the healthcare industry in particular, where burnout rates have been increasing at alarming rates, monitoring employee sentiment and getting feedback to improve their engagement is crucial to retaining staff and delivering superior patient experience.

Understanding employee sentiment is a critical responsibility of HR, especially in healthcare

Engaged employees feel internal motivation to go above and beyond the call of duty for patients. For example, an engaged food service worker in a hospital will feel motivated to make sure food is delivered hot. When employees feel more connected to their jobs, they will go the extra mile to provide great quality care and research backs that up.

Keeping health professionals engaged has been shown to have positive impact on:

  • Patient satisfaction
  • Employee Turnover and Absenteeism
  • Patient Loyalty and Advocacy
  • Revenue

Monitoring employee sentiment and making use of feedback

Employee engagement is a challenge no matter what size an organization is, but it is especially difficult and important when you’re a large healthcare company. With most large enterprise organizations, human resources has systems for gathering and monitoring employee feedback channels. But you miss out on an opportunity to improve their employee happiness and engagement if you sit on all the open-ended feedback you receive from employee surveys.

Qualitative feedback can be organized into themes using machine learning

A Fortune 100 healthcare company approached Wootric for help making their voice of employee survey program actionable. This company’s employees already respond to engagement surveys on a regular basis. This provides a score to track over time and rich open-ended feedback, ripe for analysis.

But with thousands of feedback comments waiting to be analyzed, understanding the “why” behind their employee engagement scores was difficult. In addition to that feedback, the company was seeing relevant feedback on review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed. They were interested in this data because it offered a perspective that might not be shared on their internal pulse surveys.

This is a lot of feedback to process.

The good news is, employee feedback typically clusters into topic areas. Wootric text analytics algorithms are trained to recognize, including these themes:

  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Training
  • Systems
  • Workload
  • Management (direct management and overall leadership)
  • Health/wellness

Sentiment & text analytics provide insight into survey comments

The healthcare company now receives themes and uncovered valuable insight in their Wootric dashboard. Each comment is tagging with relevant themes and each tag is assigned a sentiment (positive, negative, neutral). 

In this fictional example dashboard, the human resources team can dig into the bucket of comments associated with “systems”, which covers new technology and hardware.

The algorithms do all the tedious, normally time-consuming, work of reading qualitative feedback and organizing each comment into different buckets with tags. Our data scientists and customer success team then conduct a review of the newly structured data to ensure our client received quality, actionable insights out of the gate.  

Benefits of real-time sentiment analysis of employee feedback

We work with human resource professionals to accomplish these goals:

  • Understand what impacts employee morale

For example, sentiment analysis can help you understand the impact of a roll-out of a new software system or benefit plan. When you have the data, you can move beyond anecdotes and hunches and measure the overall impact.

  • Understand engagement issue by employee role, e.g. doctors, staff

Nurses and surgeons both care for patients, but their responsibilities and goals will be very different from a pharmacist or receptionist. Different roles all have different concerns and enabling employees is much easier when you know who needs what. Segmenting your data by roles helps human resources teams to identify role-specific problems and address different concerns.

  • Use data to guide strategic plans to improve employee satisfaction

You may be hearing feedback from people all the time about how you can improve processes, the working environment, etc, but until you’ve quantified all of that feedback, it’s just anecdotal. Human resources teams are able to prioritize projects to most effectively improve employee satisfaction. There are impactful, strategic wins that you can make hidden in the comments you receive. Be sure not to miss them!

  • Risk management & incident detection

One benefit of analyzing online reviews is that you’ll understand what influences your company’s reputation as an employer. You’ll know how you’re perceived as well as why you’re perceived that way. In addition, anonymity on these kinds of forums means that current employees may be more honest about something serious–including sexual harassment or discrimination.

For our customer, it’s not enough to be on the cutting edge of technology when it comes to medical equipment and methodology. To provide quality care, they have made employee engagement a priority. Taking a modern approach to employee feedback with text and sentiment analytics makes improving employee happiness less about sorting through a flood of data, and all about taking action.

Unlock insight about employee engagement.
Book an InMoment demo.

TELUS Realizes Direct Cost Savings and Churn Reduction

TELUS is Canada’s largest healthcare and IT provider. They are also the fastest growing national telecom. However, in 2016, TELUS’ CX program was fragmented. They set to work and less than 18 months later, they turned their CX program around and saved $1 million year-over-year which resulted in a 100 percent volume increase in feedback and 45 percent SMS response rate across 3,000 VoC users. By focusing their efforts on reaching more customers with proactive recovery, they have seen a $5 million-dollar opportunity in churn reduction.Their concentration on the user experience and a comprehensive customer follow-up strategy benefited their bottom line. In a recent webinar, Stavros Davidovic, CX Manager at TELUS, shared the details of their program and the numbers behind their CX efforts.

You Need the Right Team

In order to achieve the type of growth experienced by TELUS, having the right team is critical. This needs to be a dedicated internal CX team. Team members need to be empowered to remove barriers, improve timelines, and develop themselves and others as subject matter experts.

Furthermore, as a part of the internal CX team, there needs to be a passionate executive sponsor that challenges the CX team daily. Those that support the CX team in the organization also need to have fair access to resources. Cross-functional alignment is key. Having the right team is not enough, if a customer centric mindset is not ingrained in the organization.

Establish a Customer-Centric Identity

Having a customer-centric identity at an organization means that customer experience is considered at every interaction. At TELUS, the goal is to not only collect feedback and act on feedback, but to do it at every step of the customer journey. This allows for an always up to date pulse on how the customers are feeling, which enables to TELUS to act accordingly. Part of having a customer-centric identity is having a hub for all things feedback related. This allowed for TELUS to be more transparent internally, as well as provide a place for reference material and support. One important part of keeping a customer-centric mindset is to ask the right questions.

Ask the Right Questions

Customers may not give out the detailed feedback you are looking to find. That is why it is critical to ask the right questions. Not just asking the right questions but asking them at the proper key points in order to maximize the impact of feedback. By asking the right questions at key points, you’ll be able to keep your brand consistent, invitations timely and personalized, emphasize the value of feedback to the customer, and properly act on the feedback.

“Customers aren’t interacting with you because they want to, but because they have to. You have to be mindful of that.”

From Fragmented to First-Class

In just 18 short months, TELUS saw a $1 million dollar increase in annual savings, 100 percent increase in volume of feedback, an increased SMS response rate, and a churn reduction of $5 million by reaching 15% more customers. These results were due to establishing the right team that was cross-functional with an executive sponsor, establishing a customer-centric identify that put the customer first in every situation, and asking the right questions at the right point in the customer journey. These things allowed TELUS to slingshot their fragmented CX program to being world-class. For more information and If you’d like to watch the full webinar, you can do so here.

How to Tackle the #1 Problem Product Teams Face: Customer Feedback

What’s your biggest problem as a Product Dev professional? Too many demands and not enough time? Limited resources? Oddly enough, none of those topped the list for Hiten Shah’s crowd.

Hiten Shah (of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Quick Sprout fame) recently wrote in his newsletter that “the problems people have on Product teams fall into two main categories: Customer Feedback and Alignment.” This conclusion came after Hiten asked his readers to share their biggest product problems, and in more than 100 replies, those two themes emerged as the leaders.

Wootric helps customers gather, organize, categorize and analyze customer feedback – at volume – every day. And we’ve got a few insights into how Product teams can solve the issues that come with customer-centricity – while improving alignment at the same time.

Let’s go through the problems real Product professionals sent Hiten Shah point by point.

“Fast/Effective ways to quickly recap and synthesize qualitative research”

Qualitative data – ie. freeform responses versus ratings or multiple choice answers – are notoriously difficult to sift through and analyze. It’s only recently that, with advanced technology and machine learning, it’s become much easier to tag, sort, and assign sentiment to qualitative feedback at scale.

CXInsight™ Dashboard tagging segmentation screenshot
Source: CXInsight™ Dashboard

Tagging, in particular, is a huge time-saver when you switch from just manual tagging to auto-tagging. Tagging comments with their major themes is the first step towards conducting frequency analysis to identify trending topics – or find relevant feedback with a click.

Using an NPS survey with an open-ended comments section, for example, you might find that your ‘detractors’ (low scorers) comments tend to be tagged with “slow loading time” or you may see a specific feature request recurring.

Yep, modern customer feedback software should be able to deliver every comment with a feature request, for example, tagged and prioritized by frequency, from the highest-value customers, in about a second.

You can even use tags to route specifically tagged feedback straight to the appropriate department for follow-up. No need to hunt for bugs – the bugs will come to you! (Don’t they always?)

“It’s [customer feedback] very subjective and sometimes doesn’t have context, therefore I take it with a grain of salt, but engineers may not see it that way and want to address the feedback immediately.”

When your customer feedback comes primarily through surveys that *don’t* include open-ended responses (to gather all of that golden qualitative data), it’s impossible to get the context you need to evaluate the issue and possibly solve it.

But understanding the why behind NPS, CES and CSAT scores (to name a few) isn’t all the context you need to decide where to allot your time and resources.

You literally have to consider the source.

Is the feedback coming from a high-value, ideal client? Is your existing survey solution capable of identifying those markers?

Did you know that it’s even possible to target specific customer segments with survey campaigns?

And for even more context – you can target customer surveys based on product milestones. For example, you can set a CES survey to deploy after new feature use to find out how easy (or difficult) new customers think it is to use.

“Feedback overwhelm – how to prioritize what users want/need the most.”

An overwhelming number of customer comments can leave you feeling like you are trying to drink from a fire hydrant. It’s time to talk about the wonders of machine learning.

Historically, extracting insights from piles of unstructured feedback has been difficult, expensive and time-consuming. That is not the case today. When you need insight from feedback at scale, it is time to invest in text and sentiment analysis using software with natural language processing.

Machine learning has come a loooong way. Yes, algorithms must be trained to understand your company and customers, so chose a software vendor that will keep their team in the loop and ensure you’re getting good insights right off the bat. Then the software just gets better and better at telling you what is most important to your customers.

Feedback categorized by theme with sentiment breakdown
Source: Wootric CXInsight™ Dashboard

Wootric CXInsight™ combines natural language processing with sentiment analysis to categorize feedback based on what matters most for your customers. When you know why your customers love you — or don’t — prioritization becomes a much easier task.

“Having a regular cadence of customer interaction to develop insights and product intuition.”

Okay, there’s no excuse – this is so easily doable. You can set any CX survey you want to deploy on a regular basis, or, deploy after customers complete specific milestones. Having to go get customer feedback shouldn’t be something you have to think about. It should be automatic! Part of your daily, weekly, or monthly routine.

But, it’s only that easy if you’ve got software that makes it that easy – let’s be honest here. Modern customer feedback software can integrate with Slack, Intercom, or whatever you use, as well as deliver surveys to customers while they’re in your app, and deliver it to you tagged, sorted, and prioritized.


You can have your finger on the pulse of customer satisfaction and will know immediately if there’s any fluctuation. As an added bonus, give a pat on the back to whoever built an update or solution for customers so they can see the results in action!

“My main problem is to get to know our audience and talk directly to them.”

Surveys are great – we love them. But you know what? Even with a qualitative feedback field, a survey can’t take the place of a real, person-to-person conversation. And usually, the biggest barrier to having those conversations is making the time.

We can’t pick up the phone for you, but we can save you time. Enough time to schedule interviews with your customers and get even deeper insights that they may never tell you in writing.

“In Product we’re expected to be customer-centric. We’re supposed to get feedback and talk to customers all the time. It’s literally our day job. But that’s on top of making sure we’re focused on building the right things and helping our teams ship too.”

Here’s the thing, Product friends. You aren’t the only department that has to be “customer-centric” and talk to customers all the time and review steady streams of feedback. So to make this part of your job easier, you might have to reach out to other departments and make customer-centricity a multi-team effort.

If you have a Customer Success department, start there – you might find that the Customer Success Manager is your new BFF. They’re also talking to customers every day, and in many ways, they’re closer to the problems customers face than you are. Most CSMs would be delighted to build better relationships with their Product Dev departments, working together to answer the question “What can we do to help our customers achieve success?”

“It’s not easy and it isn’t getting easier. Customer feedback can come from anywhere: Customer support requests, live chats, social media, the sales team, customer reviews, competitor research, and more. Adding to the pile are the endless opinions about what to do with the feedback from people on our teams.”

It’s not easy – true. But it is getting easier to solve qualitative feedback issues with modern customer feedback software!

Sorry, we can’t help with the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ problem – that’s right up there with finding the cure for the common cold. We find that if you have to pick one source to guide product, NPS feedback is the going to be the most actionable.  That said, when it comes to gathering customer feedback from many sources into one, easily searchable place, modern technology comes to the rescue again.

What you want to look for is a customer feedback program that can pull all of customer comment sources together, like NPS or CSAT feedback, user interviews, support tickets, app store reviews, social and analyze those comments in a way that lets you see the big picture and slice & dice by theme, sentiment, survey date, and data source.

Tackle your unstructured, qualitative feedback with InMoment CXInsight™.

The Dealership (Service) Call Center…Not Ready For Prime Time!

The sale of a product marks the beginning of a business relationship – a relationship that only becomes truly profitable through the service relationship that follows. Ideally, that relationship would last throughout the product and customer lifecycle. Dealer vehicle services, therefore, are not just something that you are obliged to offer customers after you sell them something: It is an essential part of a profitable, long term business model. Predictive maintenance (PdM) – as opposed to routine ex-post or preventive maintenance – offers companies the chance to fundamentally transform their service and business model. For that to happen, they must start seeing PdM not just as a means of collecting data, but as a vital tool for creating additional value in an active partnership with their customers. PdM combines the topics of service and digitization and opens significant new value pockets. But to turn this immense theoretical opportunity into solid reality, dealer service is obliged also to meet certain conditions. Above all, they need to understand that PdM, as a form of “Services 4.0,” is far more than just a question of routine oil change reminders.

Dealer service centers…at the center of the customer loyalty loop

There’s little question that, for the near future, all eyes will be on dealership service departments as the primary source of dealership profit. It’s about time! Service centers have been the primary profit producers for decades. But consistent service customer retention is the unit responsible for bringing those sold customers back for the next showroom sale. Thus the old saying that “sales sells the initial vehicle once, service sells the “all the rest” has never been truer.

The Evolution of the dealer Business Development Center (BDC)

In its day, the launch of the dealership Business Development Center marked a monumental change in the traditional retail auto sales model. Up until then, use of the telephone was left to the discretion of sales agents, who were trained and managed primarily to focus on face to face sales and the “now” transaction. The BDC marked the first formalized effort to improve on the phone skills that sales agents lacked. To be blunt…most dealer sales people are still ineffective on the phone.

When the BDC strategy spread coverage to the service center, that same focus on re-actively answering the phone, in the past was the norm. For far too many service center BDCs, that mindset is still in place today. Retail sales and service leadership speak positively about the importance of retention, but most of their efforts are still stuck in making the appointment for the “now” transaction. While autonomous vehicles and mobility seem to be the hot topic today, those realities are still years, if not decades away from the immediate needs of the day to day retail auto world.

“We are in the midst of seeing more change in the next five years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years.” Mary Barra, General Motors CEO

The connected car and predictive maintenance are the “next big thing”

Autonomous vehicles and mobility are still years off from attaining meaningful scale. Far less coverage is being dedicated to the “connected car”…with the promise of replacing mileage-based maintenance recommendations with predictive certainties. Vehicle telematics have the ability today to alert the owner of a potential breakdown ahead of the occurrence. I spoke to this opportunity in this Cafe post earlier this year. And I followed it up by this post signaling that today’s service center was not near ready to deliver those predictive alert.

So the technology part of predictive data delivery is available, but the delivery of those services at the dealer end is far from being in place. Dealer service BDCs are not equipped, both in the BDC agents’ capabilities and front line culture to deliver the interface to the end user customer.

Service BDC agents, like service center front lines, are still stuck in a reactive, “after” the breakdown culture

It’s hard to change the culture of any department in a dealership! But consider this: if service BDC agents are challenged simply to convince customers to make appointments for preventative, routine maintenance…won’t they be even more challenged to persuade customers to schedule service before a breakdown occurs? There’s a great deal of difference between scheduling inbound appointment calls and that of an outbound call attempting to convince a vehicle owner to schedule a service that will specifically prevent an impending malfunction before a breakdown occurs. Customers are inherently suspicious of dealer service preventative mileage recommendations…convincing them of predictive maintenance will be a new challenge altogether.

A new script and higher skill set for BDC agents

While service customers are familiar with mileage-based oil changes, they don’t always act in a timely manner to take action and bring the vehicle to the service center. Presently, BDC agents use repetitive calling to nudge customers to act. In other words, they focus more on reminder calls and less on persuasion skills to motivate the customer to act now.  But relying on a repetitive call model won’t be effective for the future of “predictive maintenance.” Service centers will have to either train or recruit to a higher agent skill level in the future. Repetitive “reminder calls” won’t convince customers to act on a maintenance service they don’t understand. Agents must be believably persuasive to a level not practiced today.

And scripting will undergo dramatic changes as well. Repetitive “friendly reminder” calls will not be effective for owners who cannot visualize the benefit of a service that will specifically eliminate breakdowns before they occur.  That call messaging will center on the agent’s ability to connecting with the “feelings” of the vehicle owner.

Service BDCs evolve from “cost/expense” to the “revenue/profit”

Most dealers are still using an antiquated P & L strategy, where sales receive all of the credit (and marketing budget) for the first sale, but for repeat sales as well.  However, a high percentage of those repeat sales are the result of the positive customer experience delivered by the service center.  Past customers usually don’t return for the next vehicle purchase if their service experience was unacceptable.

As customer experience manager for a large GM dealer, I was included in the weekly marketing meeting where tens of thousands of dollars were spent every month for attaining new customers.  However, in all of those meetings, I never heard one mention of allocating any of those ad dollars to the service department for “retaining” repeat vehicle purchases.

Hopefully, the successes achieved with predictive maintenance will clarify even more that sales sells the first vehicle…and the positive experience delivered by the service center sells the rest.


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