One weak link

I was reminded today of the importance of always keeping your eye on the ball and never, ever taking anything for granted. In the car business it really doesn’t take much to turn a customer (potential or otherwise) off so getting everyone in the chain of command to buy into the customer service ethic is vital, now more so than ever.

Just one person in any customer facing organization can make a really big difference – in a positive or a negative way – sadly what I am about to reveal will be the negative variety.

The wife’s car is due for a service so I call the nearest dealer (it’s a lease car so this is a distress purchase if ever there was one – so I am not looking to save as much money as I can). The first dealer I try won’t negotiate on the price at all – just tells me “that what it says on the schedule” (in other words “computer says no!”). Bear in mind that the cost is a £100 more than the previous service but 7,000 miles ago.

So feeling pretty cheesed off I try another dealer a bit further away. Wow what a difference the young lady on the service reception could not have been friendlier or more helpful. To me it seems she was really working hard on the cost for me and we managed to get it down by £70. So far so happy. Then she said she could arrange collection and delivery at no extra cost – even better.

On the morning of the pick-up I received a courtesy call to make sure everything was still OK. Yes it was – I like this dealership and I will definitely use them again I told myself.

Then 10 minutes before they promised they arrive to collect the car and, well, oh dear things took a turn for the worse. You see the person who they sent to collect the car was how I can put it, and absolute disgrace. Standing at my front door with a clipboard was an overweight spotty teenager with a disheveled appearance who looked like he had risen from his inadequate slumber just a few moments earlier. He was monosyllabic at best and just pointed at the sheet at the place I was supposed to sign. I asked him if he wanted the keys (bearing in mind he hadn’t even told me who he was – I sort of guessed) and he just nodded. And that was that , off he went.

The rest of my dealings with the dealership were as trouble free and pleasant as they had been right up to collection and when it came to returning the car – well the keys and the bill (which I had already settled over the phone) were just pushed through the letterbox.

So there you have it – one weak link in the chain ruins the whole experience and prevents me from recommending them to anyone who’ll listen. I know it shouldn’t but it does.

So the moral of the story? “do sweat the small stuff”

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