It’s quite a relief for us motor trade professionals to see another industry in the firing line lately, namely those complete bankers who have bought the world to financial meltdown. To know that estate agents and car sales people have been knocked off their “most despised” perch is a little comforting in all the doom. The difference is that at least the motor trade is making great strides in trying to improve the customer service they offer and indeed the industry as a whole is collectively responsible for policing its quality standards.
For instance what bank do you know withholds funds from its branches if it discovers instances of poor customer service? When was the last time you tried to contact your local showroom to find that there was an automated list of options none of which were relevant to you and there was no manager on site to hear your complaint? Answer? Almost never, yet the banks have been getting away with appalling bad practice and shoddy customer service for years without seemingly being held accountable. I can’t remember the last time a senior executive or CEO of a large vehicle retailing PLC was ever given a massive pay off for the poor performance of a company under his stewardship.
Hang on though before we get carried away and start feeling all self righteous it’s not all sugar and spice in the car business as you know, and we at MTI will always be the first to say, but the consumer at least has some recourse for poor customer service and indeed many car sharks have been taken to court and occasionally imprisoned for their misdemeanours.
The point is now that the arrogance of the banking industry is being highlighted and all sorts of newspaper articles will pick up on how they need to improve, it got me thinking on what we might reasonably expect from our local car dealer (if he is still trading by the time you read this, of course)
A warm welcome
A smiling face and pleasing attitude from someone who actually looks like they welcome you in their premises.
A salesperson that has learned about the product he or she is demonstrating and understands how to qualify a customer’s needs.
Sales staff that treat you with respect and don’t insult your intelligence by telling lies and giving misleading information.
Be a service provider
Sales staff who acknowledge the importance and cost of this emotional purchase and who understand the concept of ‘under promising and over delivering’
Repair a vehicle without strings
Staff who make sure that your safety and well being are at the forefront of any advice given when carrying out a repair but also to ensure that only necessary work is carried out.
To have a mission to deliver outstanding customer care, whilst understanding a need and desire to deal with customer issues in a caring manor with no agendas. Offer only products that customers need or want.
Create an ambience
Ensure that customers not only enjoy being there but will want to return and tell their friends to visit
Make sure that a fair price is offered for a fair service and encourage customers to be pleased that a dealer needs to make a reasonable profit,
(Ok that last one may be tough to make a reality but you get the gist.)
Although you don’t visit every day the next time you do find yourself in your local car dealership try and consider whether the service they offer is better or worse than your bank, you may be surprised!