Customer Service in the Motor Industry part 2: The Ugly

By 2nd September 2019 August 18th, 2022 No Comments

So last time out I talked about what went on at the first garage I went to in the pursuit of a new car.

The second garage my son and I went to wasn’t much better I’m afraid. It wrangles with me so much because car showrooms spend so much money just to get people through the door. The showrooms alone are a massive outlay for the dealerships, along with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of vehicles on the forecourt and then there’s all the money spent on brochures, direct mail pieces and advertising. For what? For customers to walk in and be treated like aliens. I could advise some showrooms where to save their money, that’s for sure.

We arrived at the second garage. Now once again no one wanted to make an approach. In fact this time we had to ask the receptionist three times before the Sales Exec came over.

The first question he asked, “What is your budget?” Talk about cutting to the chase. I gave him an indication of the sort of vehicle I was considering. One of the aspects of any vehicle, which I mentioned, was rather large boot space. Did he ask what the car was to be used for? Not a chance. I think by this point he was more worried about catching himself in the cars’ reflection.

We just happened to then mention that it was my son’s birthday. At this point I must have been emitting buying signals as he then offered a treat for the birthday boy. How exciting, a treat. What would it be? A quick drive in a sports car? A small gift? A rendition of Happy Birthday? We will never know because absolutely nothing materialised whatsoever. Empty promises.

After asking the differences between 2 similar models I was invited to take a seat at the guy’s desk. Straight away I was given a description of all the finance options available, alongside being asked to read and sign a detailed explanation of T & Cs of finance agreements. Oh dear. He was into the sale long before I was anywhere near to buy. I informed him that he’d jumped the gun slightly. That was it. It was like I’d killed his puppy. His face sank and the relationship finished there.

He couldn’t get rid of me quick enough, so he could move onto the next unsuspecting customer. This wasn’t before he’d told me about his love of boxing, the fact his girlfriend couldn’t drive and which night club he was going to the next weekend. I knew far more about him than he ever will about me.

Whatever happened to identifying and matching customer needs?

When a customer comes to buy from you remember a significant part of this process is how you make them feel. If you can’t make someone feel special don’t expect your vehicles to.  I do wonder if

Remember it’s not just the sales you make, it’s also about the sales you lose.  I do wonder how I would have been treated after the purchase had been made, if I was treated so badly in the sales process.

What are your thoughts? Ever had that kind of customer service? How would you feel if your staff dealt with customers like that? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

In summary

Spending a whole heap of money on marketing is totally wasted if your sales people are undoing the work you spend on getting people interested in your products. Do you mystery shop your sales team? It may just shock you to see what the results are.

How are your sales people following up on those who take the time and effort to visit your showroom? In my first 2 car showroom visits neither sales person knew anything about me, not even my name … how are they going to make any further contact?

Next time I will talk about how my faith was restored in the 3rd car showroom I visited.