What Buying a New Car Taught Me About Customer Service

In my list of top things I hate doing is getting a new car. It ranks right up there with going to the dentist to get a root canal.

My lease was coming due and I looked on the internet at options and customer satisfaction results and had narrowed it down to two models. I filled out the forms on the site, picked a dealer and waited for a response.

One dealer never got back to me, but I got a survey form the next day from corporate asking me if the local dealer contacted me and how my experience was with the local dealer. I told them I’d not been contacted. The next day, corporate called me to follow-up, but by then I’d driven the other car and was signing the papers when I got the call (told them I bought a competitor).

Great follow-up from corporate, but there was a missing link with the dealer I chose. Life Lesson—the sales cycle is only as good as the weakest link. Ironically, I never did hear from that dealer and they were supposed to be one of the best in the area.

The other dealer got back to me within hours, gave me availability of what he had and asked if I wanted to test drive one. I did and the sales process went smoother than I expected. I made an appointment to pick up the car and a check for the last three payments on my old lease.

I arrived at the appointed hour and my guy was too busy selling someone else a car, so he pushed me off on someone else who half-heartedly explained the features of the car and the how to’s, and of course, this new guy didn’t know anything about the check he was supposed to get to me.

I guess the original salesman thought the sale ended when I signed on the bottom line, not when I drove off the lot. I wonder if he’ll ask me for referrals? What do you think I’ll do?

So an experience that started off well didn’t end that way. Life Lesson—under promise and over deliver. The last thing that happens often is what you remember. I’m sure I’ll like the car, but my opinion of car buying hasn’t changed.

If you or I treated our customers like that, we wouldn’t be in business! Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.

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