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MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2014 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

July 2014

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 7, 2014 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2014 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study, which measured treatment of car-shoppers who visited 5,671 dealerships throughout the country. 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. For the second consecutive year, Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Nissan and Toyota respectively, were ranked second and third.

Twenty-two of the thirty-four different auto brands led the industry in at least one PSI sales process category, while fifteen brands finished last in at least one category. Tesla dealerships, included in the study for the first time this year, led the industry in seven PSI sales process categories, such as involving the prospect with visual aids, and following-up after the visit. However, the Tesla dealerships also finished last in thirty-two categories, such as asking the prospect's name, offering a test ride, or mentioning the availability of financing options.

Brands showing the most improvement year-to-year were Scion, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Lincoln, Cadillac, Chrysler and Nissan. Brands with the greatest declines year-to-year were GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Chevrolet, Infiniti and Ram. Three brands have been consistently ranked within the top 10 brands over the past five years: Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Jaguar.

Performance varied substantially by brand within some categories. For example, salespeople are often taught to try to build rapport and ask open-ended questions instead of just saying, “Can I help you?” Lincoln, Chrysler, Honda, Volvo and Fiat salespeople were least likely to start a shopper's visit by saying, “Can I help you?” In contrast, the salespeople most likely to ask, “Can I help you?” worked for Ford, Mazda, Ram, Scion and Chevrolet dealerships. Another example is whether or not the salesperson suggested sitting down at a desk; a step often used to transition from talking about the product to talking about buying the product. Salespeople from, Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and Kia dealerships were most likely to suggest sitting down at a desk, while Tesla, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Land Rover and Audi salespeople were least likely to make the suggestion.

Industry average dealership performance was mixed when comparing 2014 with the previous year.

Salesperson behaviors more likely in 2014 than 2013 include the following:

• Gave compelling reason to buy from this dealership (now 50% of the time)
• Discussed features unique from the competition (now 59% of the time)
• Mentioned maintenance program and associated costs (now 58% of the time)

Salesperson behaviors less likely in 2014 than 2013 include the following:

• Offered a brochure (now 50% of the time)
• Asked why prospect considered brand (now 60% of the time)
• Involved prospect with visual aids (now 36% of the time)

“Great products are the key to strong sales,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “But the only way to make the most of a product's sales potential is a capable sales team, following a consistent sales process.” Pied Piper has found that on average, when auto dealerships are ranked by their PSI score, dealerships in the top quarter sell 16% more vehicles than the dealerships in the bottom quarter.

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Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ, INFINITI AND LEXUS DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2013 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

Press Release: MERCEDES-BENZ, INFINITI AND LEXUS DEALERS RANKED HIGHEST BY 2013 PIED PIPER PSI(R)

July 2013

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA – July 8, 2013 – Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2013 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. Infiniti and Lexus dealerships, the luxury brands from Nissan and Toyota respectively, finished ranked second and third.

Nineteen of the thirty-three different brands led at least one PSI sales process category, and performance varied by brand within each category. For example, Jaguar, Volvo and Audi salespeople were most likely to discuss features unique from the competition. Infiniti, Land Rover and smart salespeople were most likely to conduct a vehicle “walk-around” demonstration. Kia, Fiat and Hyundai salespeople were most likely to give compelling reasons to buy now.

Industry average dealership performance was mixed when comparing 2013 with the previous year.

Salesperson behaviors more likely in 2013 than 2012 include the following:
• Mentioning the availability of different finance or lease options (now 67% of the time)
• Asking about factors preventing purchase (now 71% of the time)
• Asking if the prospect has a trade-in (now 83% of the time)

Salesperson behaviors less likely in 2013 than 2012 include the following:
• Offering a brochure (now 52% of the time)
• Discussing features unique from the competition (now 55% of the time)
• Involving prospect with visual aids (now 38% of the time)

2013 marks the seventh consecutive year of Pied Piper PSI auto industry benchmarking studies. With seven years of data gathered from tens of thousands of auto PSI evaluations nationwide, Pied Piper was able to fine-tune the study questions, weightings and scoring for 2013. As a result, Pied Piper reset the 2013 auto industry average PSI score to “100.”

The resulting “second generation” PSI scoring is now even more closely correlated to auto dealership sales success. Pied Piper has found that on average, when auto dealerships are ranked by their PSI score, dealerships in the top quarter sell 16% more vehicles than the dealerships in the bottom quarter. “Any dealership faces plenty of challenges that are difficult, if not impossible, to change, such as product-line sold or dealership location,” said Fran O'Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “In contrast, how a sales team sells is something a dealership can improve immediately.”

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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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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.

» View PDF of Article (1.71 MB) PDF Document



Automotive News Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

Automotive News
Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

March 2011

Ninety percent of internet customers received some sort of response, but usually it's the e-mail equivalent of a form letter, according to a survey by Pied Piper Management Company of Monterey, California.

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Automotive News First Shift Lexus, Honda and Toyota Dealerships Rank Highest

Automotive News First Shift
Lexus, Honda and Toyota Dealerships Rank Highest

March 2011

Lexus, Honda and Toyota dealerships ranked highest in a study to measure how dealerships treat car customers online. Pied Piper tracks dealerships' performance with mystery shoppers, but in this case, online mystery shoppers.



AutoGuide.com Toyota and Honda Dealers Deemed Most Responsive to Customer Inquiries

AutoGuide.com
Toyota and Honda Dealers Deemed Most Responsive to Customer Inquiries

March 2011

A new study, released by Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (try saying that with a full mouth) turned up some interesting findings, specifically when it came to what's called Internet Lead Effectiveness rankings.

The study measured average dealership performance for all brands selling vehicles in the US and discovered that it varied widely depending on the brand. Toyota, Lexus and Honda dealerships were shown to rank highest in terms of responding to customer inquiries over the internet.

Pied Piper's study uses a patent pending process to tie ‘mystery shopping' measurement and scoring to actual sales success; with 19 different ‘Internet Lead Effectiveness' questions that generate scores on aspects such as Timeliness in response to customer inquiries, dealership and sales person identification, quality of communication and forwarding the sale.

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Media Post Automakers Internet Efforts Lag In-Person Customer Svc.

Media Post
Automakers Internet Efforts Lag In-Person Customer Svc.

March 2011

Lexus, Honda and Toyota dealerships ranked highest in a newly released Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index Internet Lead Effectiveness study, which measures dealership responsiveness to customer inquiries over the internet. But industry wide, dealers' internet efforts lag their in-person customer service.

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Press Release: 2011 Pied Piper PSI(R) Internet Lead Effectiveness(™) Benchmarking Study (U.S. Auto Industry) Lexus, Honda, Toyota Dealerships Top Ranked for Internet Lead Effectiveness

Press Release: 2011 Pied Piper PSI(R) Internet Lead Effectiveness(™) Benchmarking Study (U.S. Auto Industry)
Lexus, Honda, Toyota Dealerships Top Ranked for Internet Lead Effectiveness

March 2011

Industrywide: 36% of customer internet inquiries remain unanswered after 24 hours

Lexus, Honda and Toyota dealerships ranked highest in a newly released Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index(R) (PSI(R)) Internet Lead Effectiveness(™) Benchmarking Study to measure dealership responsiveness to customer inquiries over the internet. The study measured average dealership performance for all major U.S. automotive brands, showing a wide variety in performance by brand. Pied Piper conducted the study as an independent benchmarking service to its Internet Lead Effectiveness clients, who receive monthly internet "mystery shops" to measure and improve dealership response to internet inquiries.

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