Where a Garbage Service and Dealership Meet
- As expectations rise, the margin for error is getting slimmer.
- The core problems with my recent experience that translate to automotive.
Have you had an experience as a first time customer that made you second guess doing business with that company? The customer experience is something that continues to hold firm in every aspect of our lives, and as expectations continue to increase, the margin for error for businesses is getting slimmer.
I want to share one of my recent experiences that left a lasting impression on me. After my family’s recent move, one of the many items on my to-do list was to set up our garbage service with the provider in our area.
I’m sure reading about garbage wasn’t what you had in mind when you came to work today, but stay with me; there are clear connections to make with my experience and what consumers may be experiencing at your dealership. Here’s what happened.
> I submitted my information online to get the account setup process started. I thought to myself: [That was so easy!]
> Then, I received a very unorganized and chaotic email describing prices, waste restrictions, schedules, etc. It was several paragraphs long and, quite honestly, hard to follow. But nonetheless, my account was set up with the new company. [Or so I thought.]
> The email instructed me to call a specific number – with an extension – to order my new garbage bin. [Why couldn’t I do this via email or have it added to my first bill?]
> I called the number. The gentleman who answered asked for my contact and account information. After several attempts, he found what he was looking for and finally ran through pricing with me. [Wasn’t I just given all of this information via email?]
> I agreed on a price and unit, but unfortunately, he couldn’t process the order or payment. I had to be transferred to a cashier. [Why was I instructed to call this number if it’s not really where I needed to go?]
> I was transferred to a cashier, where I waited on hold for seven minutes. [It’s 2022, that’s like waiting two hours!]
> I finally made it through to the cashier, who then informed me the pricing I received was wrong. The price in my specific area was actually more. [The man I spoke with earlier had my address in the account, so why wasn’t I quoted properly from the beginning?]
> We processed the order, and I received a confirmation email. It didn’t hit me until looking at the email, that I wasn’t charged the right amount. It was missing a garbage bin delivery fee. [If I didn’t pay for it to be delivered, will it actually be delivered? How can I take out garbage with no bin?]
I was forced to call them again to get everything squared away.
Now, I could have raised some hell, demanded the lower unit price, asked to speak to a manager if I didn’t get my way – all the things angry customers do that I’m sure you’ve seen or experienced a time or two before. But, with a long list of to-do’s that come with moving, this was not a battle I was willing to fight. I accepted the pains in the process so I could move along with my day.
Was I excited about doing business with my new provider? Absolutely not. If I have to schedule service in the future, will they be my first choice? Second? Or even third? Not likely. And this is all based on my first interaction.
What’s important about this story is how similar it sounds to the experiences I hear quite often from customers shopping at dealerships. And to be frank, your dealership will not be, and likely hasn’t been, this lucky with customers who are so forgiving and patient. There is always another dealership around the corner selling the same or similar vehicle… your customers have choices. I on the other hand, did not.
The core problems with my experience, which often translate to your world, are clear. Rekeying of information, long wait times, misquotes and inaccurate pricing, bouncing between departments who ultimately all have different information – these are bottlenecks in the process that have a lasting, negative impact on your customer’s experience. Think about it…
> Has a service advisor ever quoted one price, only to find out the technician hadn’t accounted for fluids or GOG?
> How many times do salespeople and F&I managers have to rekey and ask for the same information over and over again on the same deal?
> Have you ever called into your dealership to see what that experience is like?
Much like my experience outside of automotive, your dealership has one shot, one first impression, to really sell the customer on your experience. Not all consumers will be so quick to stick with you through the pain.