Problems and Opportunities
The situation went from dumb to dumber to dumber-er.
Okay, enough venting. Let's talk about the lessons to learn from incompetent car salesmen (am I being redundant?):
- Apologize when there is a problem! The first words out of your mouth need to be something like, "I am sorry for the inconvenience?" and then follow them up by saying, "What do you need in order to make this right?" It wasn't until I got to the owner that those two phrases met up.
- Listen. Angry customers want to spew. Let them. Don't interrupt.
- Communicate! When there is a screw-up, keep the customer informed and don't ever, ever, EVER tell a client that you'll call him right back and then not call him right back. Be impeccable with your word.
- Solve the freaking problem as quickly as possible.
As an epilogue, I took delivery of the car and absolutely love it. (55+ mpg and a rocketship 6-speed manual. Who wouldn't?)
A happy customer tells his wife how happy he is and that's that. An angry customer tells EVERYONE and anyone who will listen. Mistakes happen. Things hit fans. But when you make mistakes and mishandle the resolution, they seem bigger than they really are.
You need to look at a problem as if it is an opportunity to demonstrate the kind of service we all claim to provide. Make it your goal to come out better BECAUSE of the problem than if the job had gone off without a hitch. I wish the dealership would hire me to tell them what they did wrong. Instead...
The first thing I did when I accepted the car was to take the dealer's nameplate off of the back, snap it in half, and hand it back to the delivery boy, who giggled as he left (I tipped him twenty bucks. It wasn't HIS fault). I will likely keep the car. I think that is the best thing for me at this point. The best thing for the dealership is to listen to my complaints and make corrections.