If only they sold cars…

The various challenges facing dealers this year are well documented but the customer experience is seen by many as the key to keeping ahead of the competition. Many dealer groups are investing heavily in training for sales personnel and a good number are meeting the aftersales challenge by acknowledging the need for more sales oriented staff in their service departments.

The continuing drive towards retaining and capturing more happy customers means staff at car showrooms cannot afford to drop the ball when it comes to how they treat their precious customers.

The big retailers have been doing it for years; the no quibble exchange on goods, the 5 year warranty offered by John Lewis for example is a great advert for this kind of approach.

I guarantee that anyone reading this article will only have good things to say about this company because the people are great, the products desirable and the experience is always positive, not to mention the never knowingly undersold strap line. Because of the great staff and big choice of goods the stores are always busy and the company’s profits represent this.

Without turning this into a promotional puff piece for John Lewis it seems to me that all we want is consumers is to get a fairer deal and know we won’t have any aggravation should the product we buy malfunction or fail to live up to our expectations. We want the peace of mind that there is someone there to catch us when we fall and that we don’t have to prepare for war just to get some satisfaction.

By providing an excellent all round service there is no reason why car dealers cannot enjoy the same sort of success in retaining customers more profitably. If we show customers that we can be trusted to look after them and provide them with great cars and a professional experience, getting every last penny off the price will cease to be as important as it has been for so many years.
Many people will say you only get what you pay for and to a certain extent that’s true but where would you rather shop given the choice, Waitrose or Lidl?

I’ll let you make up your own mind


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2 Responses to If only they sold cars…

  1. Steve Boucher February 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    My experience of a large electrical retailer is somewhat different to the image proposed in your article. Having spent almost £1000 on a fridge freezer, I was somewhat disappointed when it stopped working on New Years eve. With only an answerphone to talk to for four days we soldiered on, watching our food slowly defrost to. When we finally spoke to someone, we were told an engineer would be dispatched to investigate the problem. A week later,afer inspecting the fridge, the engineer said parts were needed, would be ordered and then an appointment arranged to fit them. A week late, he returned with the parts, although they were incorrect and the replacement door had been sent minus the handle. He said more parts ould be ordered and then an appointment arranged to fit them. A week later, he returned with the correct parts, but this did not cure the fault. We had now been without a fridge freezer for 5 weeks, and after calling the customer service line, a very snotty manager didn’t even have the decency to admith that a failurre like this was unacceptable. After quoting the European consumer regulations to her regarding the durability of electrical goods, we finally got a replacement fridge freezer. A week later, it turned up. How does this experience compare with a car dealership? No courtesy fridge was offered, no compensation for lost food, no compensation for time taken off work to wait for an engineer to arrive. While the motor trade has room to improve, we are not alone!

  2. howard dennis February 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    agreed but the tone of the article certainly rings true with how, many dealers are recognising that in order to drive repeat profitable business there has to be a compelling reason to keep coming back,and for me no one beats john lewis,i had a firdge freezer which was 4yrs old and kept defrosting they changed it withou quibbling,that was enough to get them a customer for life.i think car dealers have made great strides in recent years to improve the customer experience but old stigmas and some rotten apples take a long to time to change!

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