Imagine you’re sitting in the service department at a car dealership, waiting for a routine inspection. It should only take ‘a few minutes’. But you’ve been in this room for nearly two hours now. You’re becoming impatient…even angry. Because it’s clear the business has no process in place to see that your needs are met in a timely fashion.
According to marketing and customer service consultant Jeff Yablon, that’s exactly what happened when he visited a car dealership in Queens, NY. He was there to get a simple state inspection for his car after relocating to New York recently. But the visit turned into a long ordeal instead.
Yablon had gone to the dealership out of loyalty. It was the dealership that had sold him his car less than a year before. But he was now having second thoughts.
Writing on The Answer Guy blog representing his consulting business, Yablon explains:
“State inspection on a less-than-one-year-old vehicle is a simple matter, and I was promised that with an appointment the whole process would take only a few minutes…It’s why I’m sitting here. It’s why I’m writing this…I’m really just angry and taking an opportunity to do a bit of Search Engine Optimization reconnaissance to make the best of the bad situation…”
Good customer service requires that a business have a process in place, Yablon explains. And clearly, he says, this dealership doesn’t.
In this case, by process, Yablon doesn’t mean someone just promising to help him, putting him on a waiting list and then letting him wait around until someone gets to him. He also doesn’t mean sending someone out only after they realize they have an angry — and somewhat influential — blogger complaining about them in the lobby.
Nope. What Yablon means is having a way to ease him into the process and then check back with him regularly to be sure he really is waiting minutes instead of hours to be seen. For the dealership, the result of failing here is a lot worse than having Yablon complaining about them online. They have also lost a repeat customer. Yablon says he might buy his next car from the dealership since he feels he got a good price. But he says he’ll go back to a dealership he knows in New Jersey for service because he feels he’ll be treated better.
Then there’s also the possibility Yablon’s post will have other customers coming to similar conclusions about the dealership.
Customer service must be more than simply an intention in your business. And it must also be more than something customers see only after they’ve complained. Build customer service into your business process. Just as bad customer service can cost you business, good customer service can be among the most powerful marketing tools you have.
Customer Service Photo via Shutterstock