Over the years I have probably bought, sold and driven literally thousands of cars, and during the ups and downs one thing has never left me is the desire for a happy ending.
Admittedly they haven’t all ended happily and indeed some have ended in abject tears, but I like to think that my inbuilt mechanism to look at the bigger picture has stood me in good stead when problems have occurred.
I look around to today at how customer service is thrust to the forefront of most dealers vision statement and realise how far the industry has come in the time I have been involved in it.
I wonder if all those years ago, when customers were just instruments of profit generation to be disrespected and discarded at will, the staff operating at the time could ever believe that honesty, transparency and a desire to deliver a great experience would ever replace the ‘let’s make a fast buck’ and get the hell out of here attitude.
Today we try to nurture the relationship with our existing customers because we know the cost of creating new ones.
In the good old days, selling cars was really a way for many people to make a good living without it necessarily being a solid career choice. Now many companies invest heavily in their people and training, and with cars and their associated products becoming ever more technical and complicated – not to mention costly – car buyers need to have the confidence that the sales exec they are dealing with has more than a vague clue about the products they are demonstrating.
Today I believe a career in the motor trade carries little of the stigma it perhaps once did and with the brand strength of certain cars these days it makes it, in some cases, an aspirational vocation.
There is clearly a way to go in terms of how we deliver value for money in the car industry yet the fact that customers can now visit one showroom and organise the purchase of the car, have it insured, have the service and maintenance costs taken care of from day one, organise the funding and protect the bodywork, resale value, tyres and alloys etc. tells me that customers get a far better deal in today’s car world than they have at any time in the past.