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Whenever you buy or lease a new car from a dealership, the manufacturer sends you a survey in the following weeks.

In recent years, though, every time I've bought a car, my sales person tells me he/she needs me to give them a "10" (on a scale of 1 to 10) on EVERY question, or else they'll get in trouble, or not get a bonus, or somesuch--on EVERY question, even questions about things the sales person isn't responsible for. The sales person says if there's any reason at all why my experience doesn't rate a perfect 10 in every single category, tell them now so they can fix it.

I don't like this.

I'm a college teacher and my students fill out an anonymous evaluation of me at the end of every semester. If I tried to influence them into giving me better ratings, I'd get in a lot of trouble.

But the purpose of my evaluations is to find out my strengths and weaknesses so I know what to try to improve next time.

The purpose of these auto surveys is different. It seems to be to generate marketing materials, e.g. they can say "look! our customers give us perfect 10s in every category! therefore you should buy your car from US!".

I'm looking at the survey now. For each question, the possible answers are 1 to 10 and they are labeled like this:

1 or 2 = unacceptable
3, 4, 5 = average
6, 7, 8 = outstanding
9 or 10 = truly exceptional

So, 6 out of 10 is outstanding? The upper half of the available choices are outstanding or higher and only the lowest 2 out of 10 options are unsatisfactory. There are no options between "average" and "outstanding." All of this leads to favorably biased responses according to textbooks on survey design.

I don't want my salesman to lose his bonus or whatever. He was helpful, he didn't use annoying psychological tricks to pressure me, he actually knew the cars he was selling really well (which is often not the case, sadly), and he seemed to be a nice person.

But I also don't want to give my dealer straight 10s when they were not "Truly Exceptional" in every single category.

What do you think? Should I just give in? Should I fill out the survey honestly? Should I not fill out the survey at all?

What do you do with this survey?
 

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Did you have a bad experience? bad? excellent?

I just bought my car the past saturday and they told me the same thing. theyre not getting 10s and i will be filling it out as what i think they deserve. If they truely thought they were outstanding, maybe then they wouldve tried harder in whatever category. just like how i rated my professors with end of semester evaluations, I'll rate them on what they deserve.
 

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I understand the "game".

If the dealer was good to me (and mine has been for nearly 10 yrs), I'll grade knowing the consequences.

If I can't give all 10s and don't want to punish the dealer I may not send it in; if I want to send a message I will send it with less than 10s. That's only happened once. My last OB buy (Nov. '16) was my 4th vehicle from this dealer so I have a good baseline of experience.

I blame manufacturers for such an opaque process where descriptors are illusory and an apparent good grade can be a black mark.
 

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Whenever you buy or lease a new car from a dealership, the manufacturer sends you a survey in the following weeks.

In recent years, though, every time I've bought a car, my sales person tells me he/she needs me to give them a "10" (on a scale of 1 to 10) on EVERY question, or else they'll get in trouble, or not get a bonus, or somesuch--on EVERY question, even questions about things the sales person isn't responsible for. The sales person says if there's any reason at all why my experience doesn't rate a perfect 10 in every single category, tell them now so they can fix it.

I don't like this.

I'm a college teacher and my students fill out an anonymous evaluation of me at the end of every semester. If I tried to influence them into giving me better ratings, I'd get in a lot of trouble.

But the purpose of my evaluations is to find out my strengths and weaknesses so I know what to try to improve next time.

The purpose of these auto surveys is different. It seems to be to generate marketing materials, e.g. they can say "look! our customers give us perfect 10s in every category! therefore you should buy your car from US!".

I'm looking at the survey now. For each question, the possible answers are 1 to 10 and they are labeled like this:

1 or 2 = unacceptable
3, 4, 5 = average
6, 7, 8 = outstanding
9 or 10 = truly exceptional

So, 6 out of 10 is outstanding? The upper half of the available choices are outstanding or higher and only the lowest 2 out of 10 options are unsatisfactory. There are no options between "average" and "outstanding." All of this leads to favorably biased responses according to textbooks on survey design.

I don't want my salesman to lose his bonus or whatever. He was helpful, he didn't use annoying psychological tricks to pressure me, he actually knew the cars he was selling really well (which is often not the case, sadly), and he seemed to be a nice person.

But I also don't want to give my dealer straight 10s when they were not "Truly Exceptional" in every single category.

What do you think? Should I just give in? Should I fill out the survey honestly? Should I not fill out the survey at all?

What do you do with this survey?
I got the same story about needing to give 10's because "...Subaru's survey isn't clear about how the ratings work." That was after wasting my time going through everyone of their useless additional dealer items that I refused. But then when I saw some kind of dirt/oil/whatever on the roof after driving home, they sure took their sweet old time replying back.

I very much want to put down 3's and 4's for everything, but knowing that I'll have to go there for service eventually makes me think that's probably not a great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I very much want to put down 3's and 4's for everything, but knowing that I'll have to go there for service eventually makes me think that's probably not a great idea.
Yes! That's the other thing: there's no guarantee of anonymity when you do the survey. So if you don't give them perfect 10s, they'll probably know it was you, and who knows if that will affect the quality of service you get on your vehicle.
 

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If I can't give all 10s and don't want to punish the dealer I may not send it in


and thats exactly why you SHOULD send surveys in. Because most people think that and it creates a bias in the data that is collected.

There will be people who are either pissed (usually a smaller population), and those that are told to give 10s and do and probably are relatively satisfied. People who may feel indifferent who still had an experience arent represented in the data which probably accounts for most of the sales.

this goes for not just dealership ratings, but ratings in general including those on yelp.
 

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Consider talking to them before you send it in (sales mgr or GM or owner).

Could express concerns, emphasize you want best outcome for both of us (they'll know what you mean) and ask what can they do? Smart dealer will find a way to make it right / better, knowing low scores cost them $$$.
 

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A bunch off discussion on this topic in past threads. Perhaps they can be merged together. I recall Kevin encouraging responders to complete the comment section to air concerns as these are read.
 

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I never get a perfect '10' on my own performance evaluations at work... I sure didn't give a perfect 10 on my survey from Subaru.

I always find the time spent in the finance office going over extended warranties that I already said no a waste of my time. No experience with car buying has ever been perfect to me. A whole pile of perfect '10' ratings isn't meaningful to anyone but some bean counter.
 

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Same here. The sales guy asked to rate him 10, or not rate at all if I don't feel like giving him 10. Imho he deserves lower rating for just the fact he asked me to do that. Yes he said he has super high rating, but it is based on lies and manipulation, then who is he trying to fool?
 

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... my sales person tells me he/she needs me to give them a "10" (on a scale of 1 to 10) on EVERY question, or else they'll get in trouble, or not get a bonus, or somesuch ...

What do you do with this survey?
SOA takes these surveys very seriously, and the results do affect dealers and their sales staffs financially. My understanding is that grading is pass/fail, and the bar is set at 9.3 to 9.4 on a scale of 10. The survey design itself isn't all that bad IMO ... SOA knows what it wants to measure ... but the rating scale is so skewed as to be virtually useless for its declared purpose.

What to do? Our salesman did inform us that part of his compensation is contingent upon good reviews, but he didn't ask for any specific rating. He did ask that if there were any problems he be allowed to address them before we submitted the survey form. Fair enough.

I filled out both of our surveys as fairly and honestly as I could, which means it was not all 9s and 10s even though the overall dealer experience substantially exceeded our rather modest expectations. In borderline cases I was probably more generous than I otherwise might have been. At least the survey allowed "Not Applicable" responses to many items.

Bottom line: If you can't fill it out honestly, maybe it's best not to do it at all.
 

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Agree 100%. I think the ratings should be poor, average, excellent, that's it! I had this same conversation with my dealer. I didn't want to penalize them so I gave all 10s in the survey, but to have to say their waiting room was "truly exceptional" is ridiculous. I said as much in the 'additional comments' section of the survey, and also said that if the car buying experience included a hand-duke complete with happy ending then I could sincerely justify the "truly exceptional" grade, otherwise it's nothing more than hyperbolic, over-the-top, nonsense.
 

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and thats exactly why you SHOULD send surveys in. Because most people think that and it creates a bias in the data that is collected.

There will be people who are either pissed (usually a smaller population), and those that are told to give 10s and do and probably are relatively satisfied. People who may feel indifferent who still had an experience arent represented in the data which probably accounts for most of the sales.

this goes for not just dealership ratings, but ratings in general including those on yelp.
Perhaps but OTOH I know it's effectively a binary score: pass (most/all 10s) or fail. So if I don't want to punish I have incentive not to reply. That's the manufacturer's fault for the way they administer, not mine because I choose not to play that game 100%. Luckily my dealer's good enough that I don't need contortions to rate high.
 

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I've had my OB for about a month and have got 4 survey reminders so far. Not sure what to do. The dealer while OK certainly doesn't deserve all tens. I can't imagine me giving all 10's to any company really. I mean 8 and 9 are pretty good and SOA should understand that. My car had a couple of issues and the condition at delivery was so so. The "detail" job they did consisted of a run thru the dealer automatic car wash and they slopped some tire shine on the tires that flew off and got all over the side of the car. I met the service guy to fix one issue and right away I knew he was a yutz. Too young and knows nothing about real customer service. He just wants dumb azzs to come in for oil changes and doesn't want to have to deal with anything else.
And the waiting room while OK pales in comparison to the other dealers I go to. They got a mini fridge for refreshments that is entirely empty. Two coffee pots that the dealers employess use and empty.
I go to this other dealer group nearby, for our other cars, and they got pastries, fruit, a variety of soft drinks, Kurig coffee makers with a ton of variety, etc. My relative with the Lexus says his dealership waiting room is like a top end hotel breakfeast bar, but I'd expect more there I guess.
 

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FWIW BMW dealers do this too, so not limited to Subaru. Probably other companies as well. I do agree about Subaru dealer waiting rooms. Mine's not very classy either.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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There is a (from the Subaru of America Dealer grapevine) huge financial loss for anything other than 10's on all categories.

I answered 1 survey question with a 9 and in the comments backed it up as a dealer issue, not a sales issue, yet the sales guy lost a LOT of money from that one 9.


I do not know the difference, but seems comparable to 5% of the car's selling price vs. 0.5% for the bonus. That surely would motivate everyone to attempt to achieve 10's. I have to wonder if they take money away from a dealer / sales person if anything below outstanding is received on any question, and if the overall average is less than outstanding, I would imagine next year's allotment would be greatly reduced for the entire dealership, hitting both the sales person and the dealer.


I've heard these surveys also affect next years allotments. Bad dealers eventually have to buy a car for themselves to show and factory order all cars...would prob lose the dealership with Subaru before that happened.


FYI, that 9 was in response to sufficient cars on the lot to test drive survey question. It hurt the sales guy AND the dealer because Subaru didn't send them enough vehicles and having a popular fleet of vehicles.
 

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Bad dealers eventually have to buy a car for themselves to show and factory order all cars...

It hurt the sales guy AND the dealer because Subaru didn't send them enough vehicles and having a popular fleet of vehicles.
Is the automaker supplying all cars to the dealer for free unusual? I ask because I worked for a company that provided logistics support to the Daimler Group, and all the Mercedes dealerships had to order and pay for their cars up front. They were pretty heavily invested in demand forecasting, as they didn't want to be stuck with a lot full of (say) pumpkin spice E320s after the holidays. I figured this was The Way Things Were Done, but now I've heard a couple of times that Subaru just ships cars to dealerships and expects the dealers to sell what they get shipped.
 

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Whenever you buy or lease a new car from a dealership, the manufacturer sends you a survey in the following weeks.

In recent years, though, every time I've bought a car, my sales person tells me he/she needs me to give them a "10" (on a scale of 1 to 10) on EVERY question, or else they'll get in trouble, or not get a bonus, or somesuch--on EVERY question, even questions about things the sales person isn't responsible for. The sales person says if there's any reason at all why my experience doesn't rate a perfect 10 in every single category, tell them now so they can fix it.

I don't like this.

...

I don't want my salesman to lose his bonus or whatever. He was helpful, he didn't use annoying psychological tricks to pressure me, he actually knew the cars he was selling really well (which is often not the case, sadly), and he seemed to be a nice person.

But I also don't want to give my dealer straight 10s when they were not "Truly Exceptional" in every single category.

What do you think? Should I just give in? Should I fill out the survey honestly? Should I not fill out the survey at all?

What do you do with this survey?
This has come up in other threads before. So here's a few things about them.

Surveys are not strictly a Subaru thing - all auto manufacturers have them.

Corporate surveys are NOT designed to be fair. You either provide the customer with a truly exceptional experience (a 10) or you fail (9 or less). Period. And again, it's not fair, it's just reality - we as the sales staff get graded on areas that are completely out of our own control - comfort of the dealership, number of cars on hand, how mean the F&I guys were to you.

Having said that - computers read the dots. People read the comments. So if you're ticked off that the finance guy pressured you and you want to put a 5 in and you don't want to leave a comment, you're not hurting the finance guy. You're hurting the salesman. We receive bonuses from Subaru based upon what our survey scores, and if those scores aren't good enough, we don't get them. In addition, our dealership also gives us bonuses because they receive things when our survey scores are 10's.

I'm not saying that it's right, I'm just saying that's how reality works. So if your salesman did a good job, give him 10's. Then either leave the section that you would be tempted to give less than a 10 blank, or actually take a few minutes to write that while Joe your salesman was great, you don't trust Mike the F&I guy to be a dogcatcher.

One of the reasons I've used the word reality in this comment many times is that this is what exists in the auto industry (and in many other businesses, such as hospitality) today.
 

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Is the automaker supplying all cars to the dealer for free unusual? I ask because I worked for a company that provided logistics support to the Daimler Group, and all the Mercedes dealerships had to order and pay for their cars up front. They were pretty heavily invested in demand forecasting, as they didn't want to be stuck with a lot full of (say) pumpkin spice E320s after the holidays. I figured this was The Way Things Were Done, but now I've heard a couple of times that Subaru just ships cars to dealerships and expects the dealers to sell what they get shipped.
It's called floor plan, and is pretty much the way that every large dealership and car company does business today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail_floorplan

And yes, we pretty much get no say in what we're getting shipped. We can order whatever we want for customers, but unless SPF (Subaru Production Flexibility) is open, we get what we get.
 
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