Cadillac Dealers Putting on the Ritz

You may remember back in April we posted that Cadillac was looking at sending dealers to a course put on by Ritz-Carlton to help spiff up their customer service skills. Cadillac proposed sales floorWell, the program is now on-going and we have some details as to what they are trying to accomplish and what dealers are being shown and told - courtesy of Automotive News. First of all, Cadillac has recognized that there is a perception gap that needs to be overcome with regard to product - they ranked 8th of 12 upscale brands when buyers were asked if the product was 'worth paying a premium for'. Also, Cadillac attracts a significantly older, less affluent buyer than BMW and Mercedes. On the positive side, Cadillac ranks 2nd only to Lexus in customer satisfaction. Initiatives being put in place or suggested to dealers to help push satisfaction even further include:

  • Renovation of the showrooms to provide an upscale and consistent experience across all dealers (see image above).
  • Cadillac has copied Ritz's pocket-sized “Credo” cards with a version it is handing out to all company and dealership employees. The card explains how customers should be treated. Ritz employees are required to produce it on demand, though it is unclear if Cadillac will likewise require employees and dealership employees to carry them as well.
  • Ritz employees are provided funds that they can use to 'wow' customers. Cadillac is suggesting dealers do something similar (though as independent businesses, Cadillac can not require this step).
  • Cadillac is providing flexibility to service chiefs to lower charges for upset customers and provide perks like OnStar subscription extensions.
  • Inflatable animal displays, neon window stickers, and balloons to promote sales is no longer allowed

Combined, if dealerships come on board with these plans, Cadillac will be on its way to providing the premium sales experience they need to go along with their increasingly premium products.