Why I Will Never Buy From This Dealership

I recently went through a very unpleasant experience that really hit home just how critical it is to make certain that your employees are aware of what is expected of them and how they can achieve it.

We all know that your employees are your biggest asset, but when they drop the ball on customer service they can become your biggest liability, in fact, they can kill your business.  

A couple of weeks ago my wife came out of the grocery store to find a woman putting a note on the windshield of my wife’s car. Someone had hit and damaged her vehicle. Thanks to this Good Samaritan she got the licence plate number of the car that hit her. After a little help from the police the offender agreed to pay for the repair.

The next day I went out to get the required three estimates. I went to my favourite auto body shop and got the first estimate. Then, I thought as the car is a Toyota Matrix, I would visit the local Toyota dealer to get the second estimate. 

This is where it gets interesting. When I arrived at the body shop there was a man sitting at a desk in casual clothes reading the newspaper.  I said, “I need an estimate on some damage to my car”.  He replied, “I don’t work in the body shop”.  I responded, “Who do I see for an estimate” and he told me “The guy was out”.  I asked “When will he be back?” he said “I don’t know – maybe in a half hour.”

So I left to return an hour later only to find the same guy sitting at the desk still reading the paper.  He looked up in disgust and said the manager is not back.  I asked if he had his business card so I could call him.  With reluctance he got up and found the manager’s business card and then suggested I go in the Service desk and ask them for help. 

So I did, and while standing there being ignored, I thought, “What a way to run a dealership” After some time, I was asked if they could help. I said that I needed a body work estimate.  Their reply was they will have to take a message and have someone call me.  5 hours later there was a message on my phone from the body shop manager saying he just got the message. Needless to say my reaction was “to heck with this and them” and went to a third auto body shop. 

More fun and games awaited me. At first, the guy at the desk said he was too busy but then relented and started to write up the estimate. The whole time he was preparing the estimate he complained how busy he was, that they didn’t pay him enough and he was not going to work overtime etc. etc. etc. ….. blah, blah, blah.

The outcome of this story is a simple one. I will never buy a car or get service on my Toyota from that dealership, nor will I ever do business with the third body shop. I will be going to my favourite body shop where I got the first estimate to get the repair done.

Why? Because they made me feel as though I was important to them!

It is hard enough gaining new customers today let alone having employees sabotage any chance of retaining them.  So here are a few thoughts you may want to consider to make certain what happened to me never happens in your dealership.

  1. Make sure you provide adequate customer service training to all of your staff and conduct follow ups and refreshers on a regular basis.
  2. Make sure you and your mangers maintain a watchful eye and ear to how your staff are conducting themselves with customers and address any deficiencies immediately.
  3. Never reprimand an employee in front of a customer, or, other employees for that matter. Take them to your office and discuss the issue respectfully.
  4. Don’t be afraid to praise your employees when you see them treating your customers with respect and assistance.

These are just common sense solutions to good customer service but easily forgotten or forsaken. Consumers (your customers) want to feel that they have value, so a little TLC and a lot of the right attitude from your employees goes a long way to keeping those paying customers happy – and happy customers refer your dealership to other potential customers.

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