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Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS TOP RANKED BY 2012 PIED PIPER PROSPECT SATISFACTION INDEX(R) Treatment of car shoppers improves industry-wide; Highest industry average PSI score

Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS TOP RANKED BY 2012 PIED PIPER PROSPECT SATISFACTION INDEX(R)
Treatment of car shoppers improves industry-wide; Highest industry average PSI score

July 2012

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 9, 2012 –Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2012 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured dealership treatment of car-shoppers. Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.

Acura, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Honda, Nissan and Toyota respectively, finished in a tie for second. Overall auto industry performance improvement was widespread, with twenty-four of thirty-four auto brands improving PSI performance from 2011 to 2012. Industry-wide improvement led to a new highest recorded industry average PSI score of 105.

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Automotive News Mercedes has most effective sales process

Automotive News
Mercedes has most effective sales process

July 2012

Some vehicle brands that score high in customer satisfaction surveys do less well when the effectiveness of dealership salespeople is measured, according to a California consultant. Mystery shopping consultant Pied Piper of Monterey, Calif., sent 4,419 shoppers to dealerships nationwide, from July 2011 to June 2012, to measure salespeople's effectiveness in selling cars on the showroom floor.

Mercedes-Benz ranked first in the survey and led all brands in 10 of the 60 sales activities measured in Pied Piper's Prospect Satisfaction Index. For example, Mercedes led in salesperson introductions, offering a thorough test drive and focusing attention on important features. Mercedes was followed by Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.

Pied Piper said it looked at everything leading up to the purchase decision, starting from the first contact by the salesperson to the customer's decision to purchase or not. J.D. Power's Sales Satisfaction Index asks consumers for their impression of a dealership where they had recently purchased a vehicle.

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Car Connection The Best Brands -- And The Worst -- For Shopping Experience

Car Connection
The Best Brands -- And The Worst -- For Shopping Experience

July 2012

There are a lot of ways to measure customer satisfaction. J.D. Power talks to recent buyers. Polk looks at sales stats and customer retention. But the folks at Pied Piper do it the old-fashioned way: with secret shoppers.

Between July 2011 and June 2012, Pied Piper hired 4,419 secret shoppers to visit dealerships across the U.S. The shoppers scored each sales pitch on 60 different criteria: were they offered a brochure? Were they given a walkaround demo of the vehicle? Did the salesperson discuss financing options? And so on.

Now, Pied Piper's data has been tallied, and the firm has released its 2012 Prospect Satisfaction Index (aka the "PSI"). Overall scores soared, proving that dealers and their teams have taken previous critiques to heart. Fran O'Hagan, Pied Piper's President and CEO, said that “This year's record high PSI results show that today's dealership employees work harder than ever to be helpful to car shoppers”.

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Media Post Marketing Mercedes-Benz Tops In Dealership Experience

Media Post Marketing
Mercedes-Benz Tops In Dealership Experience

July 2012

Mercedes-Benz is still topping out in the U.S. when it comes to how its dealers treat shoppers. The Montvale, N.J.-based automaker, which was in the top five of the J.D. Power & Associates dealership experience survey last year behind Lexus and Cadillac, takes the top position in the latest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI).

The PSI is a mystery shopper-based study that the firm conducted between July last year and June this year, using 4,419 hired anonymous people to shop at dealerships. Mercedes has been number one in the study for the past four years, based on a process that ties mystery shopping measurement and scoring to industry sales success. Acura, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships tied for second.

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Forbes Car Brands With The Most Satisfied Shoppers

Forbes
Car Brands With The Most Satisfied Shoppers

July 2012

This is a good news/bad news, glass is half empty/half full type of situation. On the one hand, dealing with unscrupulous car dealers remains among the top consumer complaints, on the other hand a recent study reports that dealers are treating today's car shoppers better than ever on the showroom floor.

Especially if they're interested in buying a luxury-branded model.

Mercedes-Benz dealers can boast having the most satisfied shoppers in the auto industry according to the 2012 Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study conducted by Pied Piper Management Company in Monterey, Calif. Meanwhile, Acura, Infiniti and Lexus followed closely in a three-way tie for second place. Overall, twenty-four of thirty-four auto brands improved their prospect satisfaction scores from 2011 to 2012. Those at the bottom of the pack include Audi, Jeep, Kia, Porsche, Suzuki and Mitsubishi.

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Media Post Marketing Daily Mercedes Dealers Ranked No. 1 In Retail Experience

Media Post Marketing Daily
Mercedes Dealers Ranked No. 1 In Retail Experience

July 2011

It looks like Mercedes-Benz' focus on retail, including giving sales staff at dealerships iPads and installing interactive video displays on showroom floors, has paid off. The brand's dealers have gotten the highest satisfaction index ranking for the third year in a row in the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, which uses mystery shoppers to rank the retail experience.

The automaker has just opened a flagship dealership "laboratory" in Manhattan to test some of the above-mentioned retail innovations, pulling up stakes at its old showroom near the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel and heading over to the East Side. The company two weeks ago held an opening bash for the five-story facility on East 54th Street.

The Pied Piper study, involving 3,524 paid, anonymous "mystery shoppers" in dealerships nationwide, suggests overall auto industry performance dropped from 2010 to 2011, after four years of gains.

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2011 Pied Piper PSI U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study Mercedes-Benz Dealers Achieve Highest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) Ranking for Third Consecutive Year

2011 Pied Piper PSI U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study
Mercedes-Benz Dealers Achieve Highest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) Ranking for Third Consecutive Year

July 2011

Annual auto industry benchmarking study shows industrywide decline in dealership treatment of car shoppers

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 11, 2011 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2011 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which marked three years in a row of top rankings for the U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealer network.

The independent Pied Piper PSI study sent 3,524 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” into auto dealerships nationwide, then used the patent-pending PSI process to compile the results into an accurate measurement of how each brand's dealerships treat car shoppers.

» View PDF of Article (173.2 KB) PDF Document



Automotive News Rethinking Scion

Automotive News
Rethinking Scion

May 2011

According to mystery-shopping consultancy Pied Piper of Monterey, Calif., although Toyota's sales practices are near the industry average, Scion's are the third-worst.
Scion trailed other youth-oriented brands such as Volkswagen, Kia and Mazda mostly because the brand's low-pressure sales techniques don't give customers a reason to buy now or return for a future visit. Scion salespeople fared well in product knowledge, not overselling, and having power over negotiating the selling price.
"We are improving the customer experience, the shopping process, the in-dealership, service," said Dawn Ahmed, Scion corporate manager. "There are lots of opportunities there."

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Wards Auto Blog: Steve Finlay Don't Blame CRM System for Internet Ineffectiveness

Wards Auto Blog: Steve Finlay
Don't Blame CRM System for Internet Ineffectiveness

April 2011

If auto dealerships respond slowly to Internet sales leads, don't blame customer-relationship management software, says Fran O'Hagan. He is CEO of Piped Piper, a consultancy that does an annual study using mystery shoppers to gauge Internet lead effectiveness of dealerships by vehicle brand.

CRM systems help dealerships track and manage leads. But the systems only are as good as the people using them – if they use them at all. “CRM is great” and does what it is supposed to do, O'Hagan says. When Internet mystery shoppers encounter a problem, “it isn't a problem with the CRM systems. The dealership process is broken.”

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Wards Auto Some Auto Dealers Master Internet, Some Don't

Wards Auto
Some Auto Dealers Master Internet, Some Don't

March 2011

Fran O'Hagan recalls when his vice president of operations, Miles Stearman, phoned him with a sudden realization about selling cars in the digital age.

“Miles called from a dealership he was visiting and said, ‘The Internet is no longer incremental business at dealerships; it is the business,' and that's so true today,” says O'Hagan, president and CEO of Pied Piper Management, a firm that consults with dealers on boosting sales.

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