Dealer to Customer Surveys

Guidelines for a Dealer to Customer C-sat Survey

The idea behind the Dealer to Customer surveys, where the top-level OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or ‘Client‘ asks their Dealers to conduct customer satisfaction surveys, is to grow good quality Profitable Sales through the supply chain. Whether the Dealer only sells the OEM’s products or sells other products besides, or whether the Dealer is independent or not, is irrelevant. If the Dealer sells more then the Client sells more.

These guidelines are based on the InfoQuest survey technique; our ability to gather high levels of attributable responses coupled with the post-survey workshops.

Cost Sharing

There should be a 50:50 split of the costs between the Dealer and the Client. If the Dealer pays all of the costs then the Dealer is unlikely to share all of the findings with the Client. If the Client pays all of the costs then the Dealer is unlikely to see the full value of the survey. A 50:50 split is fair and equitable.

R.O.I. Guarantee

The unique InfoQuest 10:1 return on investment guarantee can be used to encourage Dealers into accepting the InfoQuest technique. If the Client is contributing 50% of the cost, as suggested above, then the return on investment should be guaranteed at a minimum of 20:1.

Use the Same Questions

The same standard questions should be used throughout the exercise. This allows accurate benchmarking comparisons between dealerships and allows the Client to easily recognise which Dealer needs help and which Dealer deserves praise. Recommended 40 cards.

Allow Extra Questions

Dealers should be allowed to ask additional questions to those in the standard list. If 40 cards are used in the Standard deck, the Dealers can choose a further 20 to suit their business. Typical extra questions would cover areas not “normal” within their industry, such as 24-hour operation, night-time servicing, web-based parts ordering, off-shore working and local legal requirements. InfoQuest will bill these separately to the Dealer.

Plan the Campaign

Notes to consider when planning the campaign include the following:


  • Allow time for your own internal dealer development people to follow-up on the post-survey workshops. They need to support and [indirectly] manage the improvement programme that comes from the workshop.
  • Ensure that the campaign schedule allows for slippage, and that even with slippage ALL of the current year’s surveys will be completed before the next year’s campaign begins. This will allow the Client the opportunity to compare and contrast all the results in a timely manner.
  • A well-publicised phased approach, with batches of surveys starting at the beginning of each month, appears to be the easiest way of managing the campaign.
  • For example, 70 dealerships in a campaign would be best scheduled at 10 per month over 7 months.
Co-Brand the Surveys

Surveys should be co-branded, with both the Client’s logo and the Dealer’s logo being used on the top left-hand-side of the mini-surveys (the supplemental information sheet that goes inside the InfoQuest box). The note on the mini-survey should come from the Dealer Principal.

Choice of Customers

The InfoQuest survey will review the Dealer’s business processes from the Dealer’s customers’ point of view. Therefore the survey should include the Dealer’s most important customers – in other words their largest customers. The Client should ask the Dealers to provide a list of their 100 biggest accounts from the previous year – this is both fair and auditable. For the top 20 largest accounts it is recommended that, where possible, more than one named individual should be included so as to get a more balanced view of the relationship. Then, InfoQuest can survey the chosen number of customers, as agreed by the Client.

Introduce the Surveys to the Dealers

One of the best ways to introduce the Dealers to the survey is by conducting a Client survey on the Dealer Principals. This can be carried out at an early stage. It shows commitment from the Client and should demonstrate the ease and efficiency of the InfoQuest process.

Post-survey Workshops

InfoQuest will train the Client’s Dealer Development staff in running the post-survey workshops with the Dealer’s senior team. The ownership of the InfoQuest report is transferred to the Dealer’s team during the workshop, and the team will list and then prioritise between 60 and 100 ideas for increasing profitable sales based on the report’s findings. The Client’s Dealer Development staff will then be in a position to mentor, monitor and manage the customised continuous improvement programme that comes from out of the workshop.

Additional Segmentation

The Client will receive copies of the Dealers reports together with running totals, summaries and specific benchmarks. Additional segmented reports can be produced to reflect any other segmentation. Examples are: –


  • Internal categories of Dealers, such as Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
  • Regional differences, such as Northern, Central and Southern.
  • Age differences, such as less than 2 years old, 2 to 5 years, and established for more than 5 years.

It is easier all round if the basic price is agreed with the Client and the Client is billed directly by InfoQuest. The Client then cross-charges the Dealers. Additional questions can be invoiced separately, directly to the Dealer.

Contact InfoQuest to start organising your survey

Contact Us