Customer disservice

Who said customer care doesn’t exist anymore? In these recessionist days (is that a word? – no, editor) we constantly bang on about the need to be better than ever and that, in order that we can at the very least keep our jobs and make sure business can keep happening, we have to provide ever greater customer service. Some take heed of that advice and reap the corresponding benefits, while some however, well they just don’t seem to get it.

There are, I am sure, employees in every organisation but especially retailing, who just should be doing a different job. I say this because it seems that to these people saying no, being obstructive or even winning an argument with a customer are far higher on their list of priorities than actually finding a sensible solution to a customer’s problem.

I recently heard a tale from a friend who, by his own admission, is a grumpy bloke, a veteran of the motor trade who just ran out of patience and became completely disillusioned with the direction the business was taking, but that’s another story. He told of a colleague who had had a minor prang in his car, and arranged through his insurer to have it fixed and take a loan car for the short period of time that his car would be in the bodyshop.

This guy is quite fastidious and of impeccable morals, so when the rental company rang to say that they needed to collect the loan car, he agreed and having covered a paltry 20 miles he was actually a little embarrassed that he took up the offer of a car when in reality he didn’t really need it. To cut a medium sized story short the rental company driver turned up at the allotted time to collect the car, with his clip board at the ready. He started to record the information required to take the car to its next destination, a formality you would assume, but no, apparently on inspecting the car the drivers foot well had some leaves in it and there was a half drunk water container in the armrest.

Hardly the crime of the century, but our service prevention officer had other ideas and promptly stated that he could not take the car because of the bad condition it was in, our hapless rental car returnee, being ever so nice and not in the slightest bit confrontational, offered to go and have the car vacuumed which would take no more than 15 minutes, which again our customer service repellent declined.

At this point, unfortunately for the petty jobsworth who had apparently just wanted to make his company’s customer squirm a little, my friend, the motor trade veteran, came out of the building to find out what was happening. Having established the facts he promptly sent the idiotic rental company driver on his way.

“If the car is not acceptable to you then you can’t take it back, it’s obviously not ready so please leave my premises and get your boss to send someone else to collect it.”

This pedant, now carless and with no means of ongoing transport, having already stated that he had a long onward journey in front of him, was left feeling pretty foolish that his petty pig headedness had cost him his Friday night and his company a customer. All because of a pedantic mentality which seems all to prevalent today in which certain people, given a little power and responsibility, feel like they own the company and wrote the rule book.


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