Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Customer Service, Are You Getting It?

Last week I had to take my vehicle to the dealer for some warranty work. It’s been a while since I have been to a dealership as a customer and I was eager to see how I would be treated. I have to report that I was sorely disappointed.

I thought with all the talk about how important it is to treat the customer right, they would be on top of their game. Here’s what happened. I drove into the enclosed service area and pulled all the way to the end, since I was the only customer at that time. I got out of my vehicle and looked down the row of about 10 service advisors and wondered what to do next.

I started walking down the lane and no one even acknowledged me. I remember thinking how amazing that they could find their computers more important than an actual customer right in front of them. That’s when I spotted a female advisor. I stopped in front of her desk and waited. She finally looked up and said she’d be right with me.

I gave her my name and she wrote up the repair order. There were no other pleasantries or small talk. After she finished I had to remind her that she needed paperwork from me about my last repair and she just nodded. What if I hadn’t known to leave this paperwork….I guess I would have had to make another trip. I left with the promise that she would call later.

I have to say that I was surprised and saddened by this experience. How does a huge dealership maintain customer satisfaction this way? Later in the day I was out and decided to call to see if my vehicle was ready. She informed me that it would be ready in a half hour and I could pick it up but that they needed to order another part, so I’d have to come back.

When I got there I had to wait for her to finish paperwork, so I sat in their state of the art waiting room. It was huge. They had Wifi, coffee and you could even borrow an ipad. I was surprised that on a Friday at 4pm there were only 3 of us waiting and not much else was going on. I remember when I worked at a dealership this was one of our busiest times.

This building was obviously new and I remember thinking, they must own this so they don’t have to worry about their customers. I later found out that they do own it and that means that we as customers don’t have higher repair bills because of it. Obviously it also means they don’t have to worry about how many customers they have either by the way they were treating them.

I finally got my paperwork and left with the promise they would call me when the part came in. Three days later I called to see if they had the part…which they did. Were they going to call me? I went to pick up the part, since it was something I could do myself I went straight to the parts department.

Because I knew what the part looked like I noticed right away that part of it was missing. To make a long story short, the technician had the missing piece. What was even more amazing is that the service writer tried to tell me that everything was there and even how it should be connected. They obviously did not know what they were talking about, yet insisted I was wrong.

Needless to say they will not be getting good feedback from me. How do places like this keep customers, do they even care? If this happens to you I encourage you to ask questions, ask to speak to a manager and if you don’t feel like you’re getting treated right, go someplace else.

Service can cost a lot of money and you deserve to be treated right. If you’re a dealership or shop and think you’re treating your customers right, sit in your waiting room and listen to what people are saying. Watch what’s going on at the counter, you may be surprised. 

This whole experience made me glad that I can do my own work, but I know that most of you rely on the service department so you need to trust them. Again I emphasize, ask questions and if you can’t get a good answer from the management, at least at a dealership you can then pursue your issue with the manufacturer. Ask your friends and family where they take their vehicle. I have found that people are happy to talk about businesses that treat them right, you deserve better.

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