I’m concerned some of you may read the first paragraphs of this column, and presume it’s about customer satisfaction indexing (CSI)---it’s not---and decide to move on.
Or you may think it’s about online reviews---it’s not, really---and decide to move on.
So please stick with me here. I’m going to talk about CSI and online reviews, but only as an introduction.
It’s no secret for years many insurance companies have conducted---or asked their direct repair shops to conduct---CSI surveys. Many body shops track CSI on their own, regardless of whether a job is done under a DRP or not. And in recent years, more automakers have added CSI requirements for the shops in their certification programs.
It all makes sense. Insurers and automakers want to make sure the mutual customers they refer to shops are being kept informed during repairs, are receiving their repaired vehicle back in a timely manner, etc. They want to make sure their brand is being protected.
For shop owners, CSI makes good sense as well, particularly as a shop’s volume or location count increases. When I owned multiple shops, I used CSI to help identify “blind spots” in my business. Since I couldn’t touch every single car, CSI results helped me ensure my employees were providing the same quality of repairs and customer service I would personally.
So to be clear: CSI is useful and valuable. It’s helped our industry reach “net-promoter” scores that are better than those found in so many other industries.
But I believe online reviews are becoming equally important for shops. Consumers increasingly have a “trust but verify” mentality.
In a column I wrote a couple years ago, I shared a story about the time my friend Greg’s son and daughter-in-law didn’t go to a restaurant Greg had highly recommended, because that restaurant’s online reviews weren’t as good as others the son looked up. Greg’s son used online reviews to verify whether his own father’s referral could be trusted.
Given that, do you think consumers are going to trust a shop referral from an insurance company or an automaker without verifying by...