There was a survey completed recently of several different car dealers in the Midwest. A college student from one of the major universities performed this research as part of her thesis for her Masters degree. It was her intention to prove her belief that people from the Midwest, if randomly surveyed would ultimately rate American car dealerships higher due to their loyalty to one of their largest local employers, the American car industry. Much to her surprise, her theory was wrong and nissan car dealers actually topped the list in overall customer satisfaction and infiniti dealerships were particularly high.
The results were shocking to the student and she was frustrated by her inaccurate assumptions, feeling as though her thesis was doomed at this point and that she would have to come up with an entirely new idea. She called her mentor to discuss the situation and seek advice about what steps to take next. Her mentor listened to the student explain the unbelievable results of nissan car dealers coming in at the top in customer satisfaction by people in the Midwest. The mentor then shared some thoughts with the student about changing the direction of her thesis, rather than scrapping the original plan all together. Customer satisfaction clearly means more to people than pure loyalty as the student hypothesized. Just because nissan car dealers were ahead of the curve in customer satisfaction did not mean that Midwesterners are disloyal people, it just means that they greatly appreciate the fine service provided by places like infiniti dealerships. The mentor then revealed that they drove a Nissan and were very pleased with the nissan car dealers they had visited before finally purchasing one.
The student decided that the mentor was right and that she should redirect the focus of her thesis to illustrate the significance of superior customer service even when loyalty issues were at stake. So she took a closer look at her data and discovered a few interesting points. There seems to be a distinct difference between many of the higher-end dealers like Infiniti dealerships and the more average priced vehicle dealers like Ford or Chevy.
Clearly there were things that the nissan car dealers were doing to put them over the top in customer satisfaction and she considered finding the underlying cause of what those things were as part of her thesis. It also occurred to the student that she had focused on specific groups without realizing the lack of diversity in her research. The surveys had gone to people in an income bracket higher than what she had intended and once she took a closer look at these mistakes she realized her results made more sense. She also realized that her hypothesis could still be true if she targeted a more diverse group for her research. Thankfully, that is what being a student is all about - learning and it is part of the process to make mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them. One lesson was learned for certain and that is that nissan car dealers provide excellent customer service and she would consider that when she was graduated with a new job and in the market for a new car.