Creating Brand Promoters: The Power of Truly Listening to Your Customers

In 2019, ADESA introduced Net Promoter Score (NPS) to our customers. NPS is considered the “gold standard” of customer experience metrics. It measures the loyalty of a customer with a single question, “How likely are you to recommend ADESA to a friend or colleague?” Users can give a rating from 0 to 10, where 0 is not likely at all and 10 is extremely likely.

Based on a set of transactional triggers and criteria, NPS surveys are sent to ADESA, BacklotCars and TradeRev customers. These triggers include things like a purchase on one of our marketplaces or a new registration. Since its inception, more than 5,000 surveys have been completed across the U.S. and Canada, with post-Simulcast purchases being the trigger that results in the most completed surveys, more than 2,500 to date.

Many brands across different industries use NPS or some similar type of survey to get feedback from their customers. It’s not necessarily unique. I get survey emails all the time from brands—hotels, airlines, online retailers, post-service appointment for my car, after dining out (or ordering delivery), and many more. As an avid survey taker myself, if a brand asks for my opinion through a survey, 9 times out of 10, I’ll respond. Over the years, I’ve taken hundreds of these surveys and after I hit submit, that’s the end. I never hear back, which always leaves me wondering, was my feedback heard? Was it valuable? Did someone read my comments? And most importantly, will anything change?

Brands are eager to ask for feedback but often fail to show their customers that they’re actually listening. That’s why when ADESA and TradeRev implemented NPS surveys, we made the decision to take it a step further. Every survey completion, regardless of score, receives a call back.

This is what makes ADESA and TradeRev’s approach to NPS a true exercise in continuous improvement. If a customer takes the time to give us feedback, we’re going to take the time to reach out and follow up. We’ve made product decisions, policy changes, spot decisions on transactions and more, all based on this continuous improvement feedback loop with our customers.

Our purpose is to make wholesale easy so our customers can be more successful. So we are absolutely going to take any customer feedback to heart, and we take it a step further by following up and learning more.

I start my day by opening the daily NPS report; it’s one of the first things I look at. The leadership teams read every piece of feedback and each response is assigned an owner, typically a general manager, field manager or a product or process owner.

Then each respondent gets a call. Even if they gave us a score of 10, we still call and ask, “what can we do better?” Even more important are the calls to customers who gave a low score. This is where the power of this process really reveals itself. By listening to a customer’s pain point or the issue they encountered, we can often completely turn around the customer’s experience.

For example, we recently had a dealer give a low score due to a Simulcast proxy bid issue. A typo was made when the dealer entered the proxy bid and resulted in a bid that was incorrect and higher than intended.

When the general manager reached out, the dealer was impressed. The dealer felt that his voice was heard and even asked for the survey to be re-sent to him so he could retake it and give a higher score.

When the product manager for Simulcast reached out to the dealer to dig into the issue, the dealer was blown away, noting that he felt like a true valued customer whose feedback was being taken seriously. As a result of the conversation, the product team is investigating an “are you sure” prompt before AutoBids are submitted to ensure this doesn’t happen to the dealer or anyone else in the future. An experience that started with a dealer rating us a 0—the lowest possible score—ended with the dealer feeling heard, valued and even willing to be a pilot user and provide feedback on future products and enhancements.

Regardless of the score given, time and time again our customers are pleasantly surprised when they receive a call back. The response is often “Wow, no one has ever called me after I take a survey.” We’ve empowered team members across ADESA and TradeRev to connect with customers and solve their problem on the spot, whether it be a gate pass, policy or incorrect fee issue. It’s extremely powerful, and often, we are able turn our detractors into promoters and our promoters into even more loyal customers.

Customers expect things to go wrong. How a brand deals with those problems defines whether a customer will grant them a little grace, or be soured and move on to another partner. By addressing issues head on, with a personal conversation, we strive to build and maintain a culture of deep customer care.

Responding to each survey it a big commitment, but it’s a pivotal cornerstone to deliver on our purpose. We’re in the business of making wholesale easy, and we’re just getting started.

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