Customer Experience

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Launching Your Dealership Experience Survey

Oct 5, 2023

16 mins read

Manisha Khandelwal


Samantha had long awaited the day she could upgrade her trusty old sedan to a shiny new car. After extensive research, she decided to visit Prestige Motors, a reputable dealership.

Samantha’s purchasing process went smoothly, and she drove home in her new car, thrilled with her decision. A few days later, she received an email from Prestige Motors, requesting her feedback on the dealership experience. 

The survey began with standard questions about her overall experience, from the cleanliness of the showroom to the professionalism of the staff. But as she progressed through the survey, she noticed an open-ended question that asked, 


→ “Is there anything you feel could be improved at Prestige Motors?”


Samantha paused for a moment, reflecting on her experience. She realized that there was one aspect that left room for improvement – the post-purchase follow-up. 

So, she expressed her thoughts on the lack of post-purchase follow-ups by the dealership. And few days later, Samantha received an email from the dealership’s general manager. He expressed his gratitude for her feedback and apologized for the oversight. 

But the dealership didn’t stop there. They not only improved their follow-up procedures but also extended their gratitude by sending Samantha a complimentary maintenance package and create invitation card for an exclusive customer appreciation event.

This shows that creating the automotive survey in the right way with the right questions allowed Sarah to voice her concerns and, in turn, led to improvements that benefited not only her but future customers as well.

But more often than not, auto dealerships create common mistakes like asking too many questions, not paying attention to mobile-friendliness, etc. These mistakes hinder them from gauging their automotive customer experience properly and miss out on all the amazing benefits of a dealership experience survey.

So, with this blog, we will embark on a journey to list out the 10 mistakes that brands should be careful about while creating their next dealership experience survey. But before that let’s start by understanding what exactly is a dealership experience survey.

What is a Dealership Experience Survey?

The images show an automotive customer satisfaction intender survey question where the customer is being asked to rate their likelihood of recommending the dealership to their friends and family.

A dealership experience survey is used by automotive dealerships to gather feedback from their customers regarding their experiences with their services and products. 

The objective of this survey is to assess various aspects of the customer’s interaction with the dealership sales process which will enable the dealership to offer the best after-sales service. This will evidently boost their customer satisfaction

Pro Tip: Use an effective automotive feedback tool, like SurveySensum, to create, keep track of, and analyze your car dealership satisfaction survey data. This tool will also enable you to resolve customer complaints in real time!

Now, that we know what is a dealership experience survey, let’s look at the 10 common mistakes that you need to avoid while launching your dealership experience survey.

10 Things to Avoid While Launching a Dealership Experience Survey

1. Not Having a Clear Goal in Mind

“Did you have a good experience at our dealership? Please explain.” 

Imagine receiving such a vague question in your email one day after your purchase. Now, the lacks a specific objective because it uses broad and subjective terms like ‘good experience’ without providing any criteria or context for you to evaluate your experience.

Now, do you think you will be able to provide constructive feedback to this question? No, right?

The right question here will be – “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘Very Dissatisfied’ and 5 being ‘Very Satisfied,’ how would you rate your overall experience at our dealership? Please provide comments to support your rating.” 

Now, this question not only gathers quantitative data through the rating scale but also allows you to express your opinions and provide specific feedback – making it a more effective and actionable survey question.

This is why it’s crucial to establish a clear goal for your survey because, without a specific objective in mind, your survey will lack focus and fail to provide meaningful insights. 

Here’s how you can ensure a clear objective for your survey:

  • Determine what you want to achieve from your survey. Are you looking to identify areas for improvement? Or understand customer satisfaction levels? Once you know your goal, you can design your survey accordingly.
  • Ask questions that align with your goal. For measuring satisfaction, include questions that directly relate to overall satisfaction.
  • Communicate your goal for the survey with your customers. Ensure that your customers are aware of why they are receiving the survey and what the data will be used for.

2. Not Asking Questions to Understand the Buyer’s Persona

The image is a meme on the buyer’s persona where the character is trying to understand what their customer actually wants.

Imagine you work at a dealership that sells both luxury cars and budget-friendly vehicles. You want to gather feedback from both segments. Now, each group will obviously have different preferences and expectations so the survey questions for them should also be different, right?

For luxury car buyers, the questions should focus on premium features, personalized service, and satisfaction with luxury features. And for budget-conscious shoppers, the questions revolve around affordability, value for money, and satisfaction with financing options. 

Now, by segmenting your customers and tailoring the survey questions in this way, you can gather more meaningful feedback and use it to make improvements that will cater to the diverse preferences and expectations of your customer base. 

So, in order to avoid the mistake of understanding your buyer’s persona and to effectively understand it, consider the following:

  • Conduct thorough market research to identify and define your various customer segments. This includes demographics, preferences, and pain points.
  • Segment your customers based on common characteristics. This segmentation will guide the creation of survey questions tailored to each group.
  • Craft questions that delve into the specific concerns and interests of each buyer’s persona. Use language and terminology that resonate with each segment.
  • Analyze survey responses by segment to identify trends and patterns unique to each group. This data can drive targeted improvements.
  • Tailoring your questions to each segment’s preferences and expectations ensures that your survey collects actionable insights, leading to improvements that resonate with your diverse customer base.

3. Asking Too Many Questions

The image is a meme on asking too many questions where the character is bracing themselves for answering too many questions.

Do you know that, the ideal survey length is 5 minutes, and consumers are not willing to answer more than  5-7 survey questions? 

So, while it is essential to gather comprehensive feedback, an excessively long survey can overwhelm and discourage respondents, resulting in lower completion rates and potentially less reliable data. 

To avoid the pitfall of asking too many questions, consider the following tips:

  • Identify the most critical aspects of the dealership experience that you want to measure or improve. 
  • Ensure that each question is clear, concise, and directly related to your survey’s goals. Avoid ambiguous language that can confuse respondents.
  • Before launching the survey, pre-test it with a small group of individuals to gauge the time it takes to complete and gather feedback on its clarity and length.

Tip: Prioritizing key questions and keeping the survey concise not only respects your customers’ time but also ensures that you collect valuable insights that can drive improvements in your dealership’s services and customer satisfaction.

4. Using Confusing Language

This image shows an example of a confusing survey question where the customer is being asked about the best and worst part of their dealership experience and any suggestions to improve the experience - all in one question.

“What is the best and worst part of your dealership experience? And what would you suggest to improve it?”

Doesn’t this survey question sound a little off to you? 

Yes, but why? In just one  question, the customer is being asked about the best as well as the worst part of their dealership experience and also for any suggestion to improve the experience. Now, how will they respond?

This is an example of a confusing question.

Survey questions should be straightforward and easy for respondents to understand. When respondents encounter confusing or unclear questions, they become frustrated and abandon the survey. Ensuring clarity in your survey questions can improve completion rates and the overall quality of the data collected.

To avoid this mistake in your dealership experience survey, consider the following points:

  • Use plain and straightforward language that can be easily understood by a wide range of respondents. 
  • Refrain from using double negatives in your questions, as they can lead to confusion. For example, instead of asking, “Don’t you agree that the service was not unsatisfactory?” simply ask, “How would you rate the service?”
  • Provide clear definitions or explanations of industry-specific terms or abbreviations, if any, within the survey to ensure respondents understand what is being asked.
  • When seeking specific responses (e.g., ratings or yes/no answers), use closed-ended questions with clear options. This reduces the risk of misinterpretation.

By avoiding confusing or ambiguous language, you can collect reliable data that will help your dealership make informed decisions and improvements based on customer feedback.

5. Not Testing Your Survey Before Launching It

This image shows pilot surveys where two members of the team are organizing a pilot survey for their organization.

Neglecting to test your survey can lead to unexpected issues, such as confusing questions, formatting errors, or technical glitches that can frustrate respondents and compromise the quality of the data collected. 

To effectively pilot test your survey before launching it, consider the following steps:

  • Choose a small group of individuals who closely resemble your target audience. This group should be willing to participate in the test and provide feedback.
  • Have the test group go through the entire survey and provide feedback on the flow, sequence of questions, and overall user experience.
  • Test the survey on various devices and browsers to ensure compatibility. Verify that buttons, links, and multimedia elements (if any) function correctly.
  • Ask test respondents to highlight any questions or terms they find unclear or confusing. Use their feedback to revise and simplify questions as needed.
  • Monitor how long it takes test respondents to complete the survey. This can help you gauge the survey’s length.
  • Encourage test respondents to provide detailed feedback on any issues they encounter. Use their input to make necessary revisions.
  • Based on the feedback received from the test group, make revisions to the survey as needed. Ensure that all issues identified are addressed.

By addressing any issues or concerns identified during pilot testing, you can create a survey that maximizes response rates, collects high-quality data, and provides valuable insights into the dealership experience.

6. Not Sending Surveys At the Right Time or Through the Right Channel

This is a pictorial representation of Multi channels for gathering customer feedback

Let’s say you prepared a well-designed dealership experience survey to gauge the satisfaction level of your new customers but forgot to pay attention to timing and delivery channels. You sent the survey on a Saturday evening, which is not the ideal time, and via WhatsApp, on the number in which the customer doesn’t have WhatsApp.

This shows that failing to send surveys at the optimal moment or through the preferred channels of your customers can result in lower response rates and less valuable feedback.

To ensure that you send surveys at the right time and through the right channel, consider the following strategies:

  • Utilize efficient survey software, like SurveySensum that allows you to automate your survey delivery based on specific triggers, such as a completed purchase or a service appointment. 
  • Offer multiple survey delivery channels, such as email, SMS, WhatsApp, instant messaging, etc. This will provide customers with options that suit their preferences.
  • Consider offering incentives to boost survey responses like discounts or loyalty points.
  • Continuously analyze response patterns to identify the most effective timing and channels for your dealership’s audience. Use data-driven insights to refine your survey distribution strategy over time.

By tailoring your survey-sending approach to customer preferences and capturing feedback when it matters most and through the right channels, you can gather insights that drive improvements in the dealership experience.

Share Omnichannel Surveys With SurveySensum


7. Not Following Up With Customers

Collecting feedback from customers is just the first step in improving your dealership experience survey process – the critical step is following up with your customer.

Failing to follow up with customers after they’ve provided their feedback can result in missed opportunities to build stronger relationships, address concerns, and demonstrate your commitment to improvement. 

So, follow up with customers to thank them for their time and feedback. This demonstrates your appreciation for their input. Also, not all feedback will be positive, some customers may raise valid concerns or issues. Following up allows you to address these concerns promptly and work towards resolutions – resulting in a positive experience.

8. Neglecting Mobile Responsiveness

This image shows an example of a non-friendly mobile survey where the survey is not fit for the mobile screen.

Based on Statista’s report titled “Smartphone Mobile Network Subscriptions Worldwide,” in 2022, the global smartphone user count reached 6.6 billion, with projections indicating a growth to over 7.8 billion users by 2028.

These statistics underscore the continuous rise in mobile device users each year, underscoring the importance of optimizing your retail surveys for mobile users. Failing to address this critical aspect can lead to subpar user experiences and, consequently, a decline in response rates. 

Image file name: Example of a mobile-friendly survey

Image alt text: This image shows an example of a mobile-friendly dealership experience survey where the survey is fit to the mobile screen.

To ensure that your dealership experience survey is optimized for mobile users:

  • Incorporate responsive design principles to your surveys that automatically adapt the survey layout to various screen sizes and devices.
  • Opt for mobile-friendly elements, like larger buttons and easily selectable response options, to enhance the mobile user experience.
  • Optimize your survey loading time. This involves minimizing file sizes, compressing images, and utilizing efficient coding practices.
  • Test the compatibility of your survey thoroughly on different mobile devices and browsers to ensure that it displays correctly and is easy to navigate.

As mobile device usage continues to grow, it’s essential to prioritize the mobile user experience to collect meaningful feedback and maintain a positive relationship with your customers.

Create Mobile-Friendly Dealership Experience Survey – Sign Up Now!


9. Not Closing the Feedback Loop

This is a pictorial representation of closing the feedback loop where the process is starting from listening to customers, resolving the issue and ending with communicating the changes to the customers.

The primary purpose of any survey, including a dealership experience survey, is to gather insights that can drive improvements. Neglecting to act on the feedback received means missing out on valuable opportunities to enhance your dealership’s operations.

To truly benefit from the insights you’ve gained, it’s crucial to close the feedback loop by taking action on the feedback received and communicating these actions to your customers.  It sends a clear message to your customers that their opinions and concerns are taken seriously and that you are actively working to address them.

To effectively close the feedback loop and make the most of your survey results:

  • Focus on the feedback that can lead to tangible improvements in your dealership’s operations. Identify key areas where changes are needed.
  • Create a clear plan of action based on the feedback. Outline the steps, responsibilities, and timelines for implementing changes.
  • Share the action plan with your team and let them know how their contributions will be crucial in implementing improvements. Transparency in the process is essential.
  • Continuously monitor and track the progress of the changes you’ve implemented. Use data to assess whether the improvements are having the desired impact.
  • After implementing changes, consider running follow-up surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and gather additional feedback. This helps in fine-tuning your efforts.

Closing the feedback loop not only leads to enhanced customer satisfaction but also strengthens employee engagement and customer loyalty.

Effectively Close the Feedback Loop With SurveySensum


10. Not Sharing Key Insights With the Sales and Marketing Team

To fully leverage the feedback from your dealership experience survey and drive positive change, it’s essential to share key insights with your sales and marketing teams. 

Sharing survey insights aligns the goals and objectives of the sales and marketing teams with the overall customer experience. When these teams understand customer sentiments and preferences, they can tailor their strategies to meet customer expectations more effectively.

To effectively share survey insights with the sales and marketing teams:

  • Schedule regular meetings or workshops where sales, marketing, and data analysis teams come together to discuss the survey results.
  • Ensure that both teams have easy access to the survey data, including detailed reports, summaries, and customer comments. 
  • Provide training to sales and marketing teams to help them understand how to use the survey insights effectively. 
  • Continuously monitor the impact of changes implemented based on survey insights. Track KPIs to assess the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts in response to customer feedback.

Here’s What An Ideal Dealership Experience Survey Looks Like

1. What type of visit is this?

  • Walk-in
  • Appointment

2. On a scale of 1-5, how is your overall service experience? (1-5 point scale)

3. Please rate the easiness of setting a service appointment with our dealership. (1-5 point scale)

4. Please rate the easiness of the service registration process. (1-5 point scale)

5. Please rate your experience with dealing with our Service Advisor. (1-5 point scale)

6. Please rate your experience with our service center facilities. (1-5 point scale)

7. Please rate your experience with waiting time. (1-5 point scale)

8. Was the vehicle delivered on or before the promised time? [binary scale]

  • Yes
  • No

9. What was the reason given by the Service Advisor for the delay? (Pick one)

  • The problem in the vehicle was not resolved
  • Spare parts not available
  • Needed additional inspection
  • The workshop was busy – too many vehicles
  • Unavailability of mechanics
  • Delay in washing
  • Others. Please specify

10. On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our dealership to a friend or colleague? (0-10 point scale)

There you go, 10 key questions that you can ask in your next dealership experience survey and harness its full potential.

Key Takeaways

Dealership experience surveys gather feedback and understand customer thoughts, but there are some common mistakes that dealerships make while creating these surveys. Here’s a summary of the discussed mistakes:

  • Undefined objectives result in unfocused data collection.
  • Neglecting to gather data on customer preferences results in a one-size-fits-all survey.
  • Overloading surveys with questions overwhelm respondents and lowers completion rates.
  • Unclear questions lead to misinterpretation and inaccuracies in the collected data.
  • Skipping pilot testing results in technical glitches, and decreased respondent engagement.
  • Sending surveys untimely through the wrong channels can reduce response rates and data quality.
  • Failing to act on feedback diminishes trust and limits the impact of the survey.
  • Ignoring mobile-friendliness can lead to frustrated respondents, inaccurate data, and missed opportunities.
  • Failing to inform customers about the survey’s purpose and importance can result in lower participation and less meaningful feedback.
  • Neglecting to act on survey insights hinders improvement efforts and customer satisfaction.


Manisha Khandelwal

Senior Content Marketer at SurveySensum

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