Car Salesperson: Give Me Perfect Survey Score Or I Barely Get Paid

As a site advocating from consumers, we’ve frequently posted stories from readers about all kinds of businesses effectively begging for perfect survey scores. The worst offenders are car dealerships, where readers have reported being guilted or harassed when their survey responses are anything other than perfect. Why is that? One salesperson wrote in to explain.

I am a sales consultant at [a luxury car brand.] I just wanted to say I liked your short article on how a poor customer satisfaction survey is basically throwing the employee out on the street. It is certainly true! At [my brand] the surveys are graded on a 1000 point scale through JD Power and associates. My regional average is a 966 (96.6% positive) at the moment. In order to get above this level I must get nearly all 10′s on the survey, just one 9 or 8 may be able to be over a 966 also, but any more and I’m cooked.

The catch is that only 1/3 of the survey is about the sales experience, the other 2/3 are about the experience in the finance office and how the dealership facilities looked, but they are all the sales persons grade. At my dealership any survey below a 966 results in a $100 deduction from your paycheck.

Keep in mind that 95% of the new cars I sell earn me a “mini” or minimum commission of $150 before taxes. That means that if someone absolutely LOVED me but thought that my coffee was sub par and put a 5 for “refreshments” on the survey that I effectively make about $20 for the sale and my time, I am definitely reprimanded by my managers and am one step closer to being replaced.

I don’t understand how [my brand] or any brand is supposed to improve when the survey penalizes the sales person monetarily. I absolutely cannot afford to risk losing $100 after taxes on a $150 commission so everyone here just sets up ghost email accounts and has the surveys sent there. Then after [the company] sends it along I log in with my phone (after restarting it which cycles the mobile IP address), make sure I’m not on WiFi, and give myself a perfect survey. I do this even for customers that love me and send me many referrals.

That last paragraph is one of the saddest employee confessions I’ve read at this job. It makes sense to give sales staff financial incentives to provide exemplary customer service, and a luxury brand should have high service standards. Setting the standards so high that they are literally impossible to reach is another matter. If a customer thinks the store needs redecorating, should the salesperson they worked with lose all of his or her pay?

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