Spring 2003 Forward to a Friend

is a company-wide, customer-focused corporate philosophy that puts the Subaru customer first in all decisions and actions. This perspective affects all of the company?s programs, including vehicle design and engineering, product quality, the improvement of the dealership environment, employee training, customer service and overall vehicle sales and service.

The Stellar Performers program is the dealer certification component of The Subaru Difference initiative. What do we mean by “certification”? It means that a Subaru dealer (each of whom is an independent businessperson operating under a Subaru franchise agreement) has voluntarily undergone a process that isolates all customer and owner “touch points” within the dealership, has developed a set of action plans for meeting customer standards, has been monitored and guided toward improvement and has been recognized for the achievement of measurable positive results in the eyes of the dealer’s customers.

Certification begins with a rigorous review of dealership operating procedures by an impartial third-party organization. The purpose of this examination is to identify strengths and weaknesses in every area of the dealership that interfaces with Subaru customers and owners.

This dealer review utilizes Subaru performance standards to judge every aspect and department of the dealership, from the Service, Sales and Parts Departments to the appearance and convenience of the dealership buildings and grounds. There are 46 individual standards in the categories, and each has a detailed checklist of attributes that must be met … more than 200 in all. After this audit is completed, the operating groups within the dealership meet to develop specific action plans needed to bring their dealership to the highest level of compliance.

Customer standards are universal, but action plans must be specific to individual dealerships, depending on their size and location, market type, customer and owner needs, and other variables. Dealers have many tools to determine and fine-tune their way of doing business to provide the best possible customer service. There is a Stellar Performers Web site for each dealer involved in the process. There is ongoing personal consultation and continuing third-party assessment. And, most importantly, there is the measurable customer feedback owners provide through Purchase Experience Surveys and Service Experience Surveys gathered through the Subaru Owner Loyalty Program.

Takao Saito (R), Subaru of America, Inc. President and CEO, congratulates a Stellar Performer Certified Subaru Dealer.
By combining owner expectations with the Stellar Performer guidelines, Subaru dealers are able to identify and address customer and owner needs for their specific marketplace. No detail is overlooked if it’s important to customer satisfaction.

When individual action plans are successfully implemented and customer standards are met, a dealership is recognized as a Stellar Performer Certified Subaru Dealer. And once that certification is achieved, the Stellar Performer process doesn’t end – certified dealers are re-evaluated regularly to maintain their certification. It’s all part of their commitment to providing Subaru owners with superior service at every level.

Stellar Performer Certified Subaru Dealers are presented
with an engraved crystal award.

“Stellar Performer certification demonstrates the commitment our dealers make to serve the Subaru customers in their community,” says Keith Tilton, Vice President of Customer Loyalty for Subaru of America, Inc. “The Stellar Performer certification program lets us work with our dealer network on an ongoing basis in an effort to improve all areas of customer care for Subaru owners. Completing and maintaining the program’s requirements is demanding work for a dealership staff, but it’s all in an effort to provide our customers with the best possible service.”

While the entire Subaru dealer network strives to provide top-notch customer service, the Stellar Performer program recognizes Subaru dealers nationwide who choose to make the investment in their business and institute the highest possible operational standards at every level. Working with their customers, these dealers take an in-depth look at the way they do business, and what they can do to better serve their customers and improve their long-term relationship.