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True Stories: “They Treated Me As If They Didn’t Need Me”.

Article Highlights:

  • Service experiences weigh heavily on where a customer buys her next car.
  • "It was as if their busyness was my problem!"

More than half of consumers will stop buying from a retailer after a bad customer service interaction. And, nearly 40 percent will avoid a retailer two or more years after a bad customer experience, according to Zendesk.

I talked to a car owner who stopped servicing her vehicle at the dealership because of poor customer service. That negative experience is also influencing her choice of where to buy her next car. Here is Laura’s story:

 

Trusted relationships

“When I bought my new car, my plan was to take great care of it and ‘drive it ’til it dies.’

Over the years, I took my car back to the dealership for routine maintenance, and I built a good relationship with the service team.

That all changed when the brand was sunset by the manufacturer.

 

New service team disappointment

When I changed dealerships to service my vehicle at a dealership that serviced similar brands, I assumed the new service department would treat me like the previous dealership did.

That wasn’t the case. Where I had felt welcomed and appreciated by the previous service team, the new team treated me as if they had enough business. They didn’t need mine, too.

For starters, it was inconvenient to schedule an appointment. I tried their online service appointment system, but it didn’t work. If my assigned service advisor wasn’t there or busy when I called for an appointment, no other advisor could help me. I had to leave a message for my advisor to call me back. Very inconvenient.

Second, when I brought my vehicle in for service, each interaction felt cold and rushed. It was as if their busyness was my problem!

Plus, even though I stated my concerns when I made appointments over the phone, my service advisor didn’t always have a full record of my requests. I wasn’t confident the service department would address my concerns or treat my vehicle with care.

Finally, if I wanted to wait during my appointment, I had to be prepared to do just that: wait. Saturday appointments had to be booked about a month in advance. Not to mention, the average wait time on a Saturday was at least an hour – even for a basic oil change and tire rotation. Good thing the dealership added comfier chairs to its renovated customer lounge!

 

Three strikes, and you’re out

I gave this service department about three visits before I switched to an independent repair shop. At least if I visited one of the ‘mall guys,’ I could shop while I waited.

Based on my service experience, I don’t think I would buy a vehicle at this dealership. If they don’t need my service business, they probably don’t need my new car business either. Too bad because I’ll be in the market for a new vehicle soon.”

 

Conclusion

The customer experience in the service drive influences customer loyalty and whether customers keep coming back, for both service and sales.

In this case, when Laura’s service experience turned sour, so did her opinion of the dealership.

How’s the experience you’re providing in service affecting your dealership’s vehicle sales potential?

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Marketing Communications, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is a Marketing Communications Professional for Reynolds and Reynolds.

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