For years JD Power and associates has been asking drivers about their love hate relationship with cars and tabulating its findings on car quality and service into an overall index. There are other firms that rate cars but Power’s CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) is the most prestigious. Honda Motor Co.’s Acura division has topped the CSI for the past four years and the company has advertised it heavily . Now Lexus and Infiniti are contending for top spots, which were traditionally dominated by Mercedes, Toyota, Cadillac, and Honda. In order to secure a top spot in the survey, Lexus and Infiniti are creating new customer service standards which will have to be matched by others to stay competitive. Both Lexus and Infiniti see the care and feelings of buyers as a crucial skill which they can use to stand out in the glutted luxury car market. In the Power CSI Customer handling accounts for 50-60 percent of the final score. When the Acura was first launched, it surpassed all cars in the market for quality. Dealers also followed up with stepped up customer service to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Lexus and Infiniti have taken this philosophy and turned it up a few notches in order to maintain a positive self image and encourage car recommendation. They have set up a program to ensure that all employees understand the focus on the customer.
Lexus and Infiniti go to the extreme to keep buyers pleased. Lexus has brought back from owners who were unhappy with such things as polishing marks on the paint finish. The customer satisfaction manager at Lexus has calculated that lost gross profits from customer dissatisfaction could be as high as $ 66,762 at its worst dealer. That assumes the lost customer would only buy one more car, and it doesn’t count the 200 or so friends he complained to about the bad experience. Lexus has a study course that all dealership employees must pass. Every Lexus employee must also phone at least one new Lexus owner a week to see how he or she likes the car. Infiniti rewards superior customers service with a customer satisfaction fund paying out up to $100,000 a year per dealer . To qualify for the money, dealers must send every employee from the owner down to the receptionists and attendants to an intense one week training session covering product knowledge and service skills. It also uses mystery shoppers to evaluate dealership. As Lexus and Infiniti vie J D Power’s Prestigious award other companies are getting the customer service division message. General Motors Saturn division is building a dealer network similar to Lexus and Infiniti like training programs. New Oldsmobile owners can swap their cars for another during the first 30 days for any reason.
These examples illustrate the significance of consumers’ experiences after the purchase is completed. Marketers must recognize that consumer decisions do not end with the act of purchase but continue as the consumer uses the product and evaluates his or her purchase decision and experience with the item, and may make related purchases.
Behavior related to the purchase:
Once the consumer makes a decision to purchase a product, there can be several types of additional behaviors associated with that decision. Two activities are of primary importance : (1) decisions on the product’s installation and use and (2) decisions on products or services related to the item purchased.
Source: Consumer Behavior