The NY Yankees and Their Contribution to Understanding Customer Experience Programs


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The New York Yankees got swept by the Detroit Tigers for the ALCS. Tragic if you’re a Yankees fan. As Joe Girardi, manager of the Yankees, tries to understand what went wrong and how they can improve for next year he will undoubtedly examine in specific ways how and where the Bronx Bombers collapsed.

Suzuki led the team in the championship round batting .353, but could he have done better? Jeter certainly didn’t help batting .200 but why was that? Was he injured? And, of course, A-Rod hitting a mere .111 only contributed to the defeat. Was he distracted? Perhaps the stories of the Australian model over the dugout are true.

Maybe all that has been written since the defeat online and in social media will help him. After all, there’s been thousands of comments and tweets that he can sift through to come up with the winning strategy for next year’s team.

This may sound like a silly analogy but similar arguments are made in the October 22nd edition of Automotive News.

In the article “Do online reviews trump CSI surveys?” it’s suggested that only online reviews should be considered over the OEM’s customer satisfaction programs – rather like Girardi only using online reviews to improve the Yankees.

I need to raise a large hand of caution here.

We have been working with one of the largest volume manufacturers in the US to test if this is feasible and we found the sample size at the individual dealer level is simply too small – and this is for one of the largest OEMs. It may provide directional guidance, but that’s it. There’s no way that processes or personnel can be improved at the dealership level based on comments flying around cyber-space. You need hard numbers to do that.

There is also growing suspicion of the reviews that are being posted, not only in the automotive industry, but in other industries as well. Dealers can post their own positive reviews, or hire marketing companies to do it for them. On the flip side, disgruntled employees have been show to post bad reviews, which doesn’t help anybody. The takeaway here is that reviews are not necessarily representative.

The article suggests that, perhaps, manufacturers should stop tracking CSI scores. In 2010 we surveyed just over 1,400 dealerships in the U.S. to get their sense of the importance of customer satisfaction. Here’s what we found:

  • It is the most important issue for us moving forward – 20%
  • It is one of the most important priorities for us – 44%
  • It is a priority for us amongst other issues we are working on – 29%
  • It is important but I will likely attend to other issues before I get to this – 6%
  • It is a low priority, we have many other things to worry about – 1%

Looks like it’s a pretty important issue for US dealerships. So again I would be cautious about dismissing customer satisfaction programs. They are a means to an end for dealers in improving the customer experience. I’m not convinced the Yankees would stop tracking player stats just because it doesn’t tell them what they want to hear. They may want to know who’s performing and who’s not so action can be taken.

A comment was made in the article by a dealer that “There’s almost no correlation between the factory CSI reports and customer loyalty”. I can’t address this specific dealership but I can tell you that one of the key findings from the 2012 Customer Experience Payback Study was that we found a clear relationship between customer satisfaction and owner loyalty. Here’s how the numbers broke out.

Level of Satisfaction with Dealership

Loyalty to the Dealership

Completely Satisfied


Very Satisfied


Fairly Well Satisfied


Somewhat Dissatisfied


Very Dissatisfied


In addition, we found that dealers who moved their level of satisfaction up one level (i.e., Very Satisfied to Completely Satisfied for e.g.) have the potential of increasing gross profit for their dealership by $106,315 annually. Conversely, if they let their satisfaction drop one level (i.e., Completely Satisfied to Very Satisfied for e.g.) they run the risk of dropping their GP by $191,000. There is a definitive relationship between satisfaction and loyalty and, moreover, there’s a financial benefit for dealers to be concerned with this.

If you’re interested in more of the results, we posted them previously and here are the links.

The article said that “Many dealers also say the CSI questionnaires are too long. They say three to five questions would suffice, rather than the current 25 to 30 questions.” The Yankees lost 4-0 to the Tigers. Perhaps they just need to focus on the outcome of the series and that will be enough. They lost four straight – isn’t that all the information they need to improve? I don’t think so.

With customer satisfaction surveys, like baseball, you need to go deeper and understand the root causes of what’s going right and what’s going wrong so you can make changes to improve things. It’s not enough just to know what the final score of the game was.

This isn’t a rant but a suggestion that there are other issues that need to be considered. Hopefully this provides a few thoughts for you to consider before any rash decisions are made. Oh, and if you have any suggestions for the Yankees, send them along to Joe. He might need a little help.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Travell
Chris Travell is VP, Strategic Consulting for the Automotive Group of Maritz Research. He is responsible for working with Maritz' Insight Teams to further the understanding and application of the firm's automotive research. He has appeared on numerous television programs and is often quoted in Automotive News, Time, USA Today, Edmunds, Detroit Free Press, The Globe and Mail and various other publications in regard to issues related to the North American automotive industry. He is the principal contributor to The Ride Blog, Maritz Research's automotive blog.


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