You would be forgiven for making the assumption that with the scrappage scheme at an end ordering a new car within a reasonable time frame would and should not be an issue, and with a large percentage of car makers this is indeed the case. However we are learning that there are increasing cases, within certain brands, of exasperated buyers waiting up to an incredible 6 months to collect their new car.
This would not be so bad if we were talking about newly launched models with limited initial supply from which a customer orders a ‘Christmas tree’ car with all the trimmings, but when it comes to normal everyday standard cars it’s no wonder customers are getting annoyed and heaping upon their car dealer the age old stigmas of bad customer service.
Without mentioning names or brands, this is where the dealer needs to very carefully manage the customers’ expectations.
For example if a car ordered by a buyer is to be severely delayed, simply asking a sales person to keep in touch or leave a message updating the customer with no real news is not enough. The old adage of under promise and over deliver in terms of service is more relevant today than it’s ever been and being totally transparent and up front with a customer has always got to be the best policy even if it results in a lost sale.
The alternative approach, in the desperation to hang on to the deal, will mostly lead to a badly misled customer who, as you can just imagine, tells all their friends how they ordered the new car in November and it’s still not turned up by April even though it was promised for March at the absolute very latest.
Reports are reaching us daily of frustrated car buyers having waited anything up to six months for their new car. This seems to be affecting certain manufactures more than others and we are left wondering if perhaps other markets have been given priority over the UK. One particular example concerns a patient buyer who had waited nearly five months for delivery but after several promises had been broken cancelled his order, switched to a different brand and received his new car within 2 weeks.
I suppose it’s a bit like how the airlines behave when your plane is delayed, they drip feed the bad news in bite sized chunks. They know the plane won’t take off for another six hours but if they told everyone that there would probably be a riot!
As usual communication is the key and if the senior person within the dealer tasks themselves with calling every customer when a delay has occurred it might just be enough to retain their confidence, keep the sale alive and promote some positive PR by understanding the emotiveness of the situation.
It takes a long time to gain the long term confidence of customers but no time at all to lose it forever.