Customer Service & The Extra Mile…

You may recall I’ve mentioned in previous blogs and newsletters the fact that ‘the extra mile is rarely crowded’ and that going that extra mile can so often put you ‘miles ahead’ of the competition. Based on my experiences trying to buy a new car recently, I have two observations on that statement.

1 – going the extra 100 yards would also put you ahead of most of your competition, and

2 – some don’t even go the FIRST 100 yards.

Here is what happened:

I was seriously considering buying a new car for my daughters to use whilst visiting from New York, and for myself as a change from time to time. I had in mind a cute little Italian model and I went on to their manufacturers website to book a test drive.

It was about four days later – yes about 4 days! – when I received a telephone call from an obviously very inexperienced salesperson who asked me when I’d like to book a test drive for. I said the following Monday at 2 pm and asked him to drop me an email confirming that date and their location. I never received the email.

On the Thursday, I got a telephone call from the same person asking why I had missed the appointment that Thursday at 2 pm! Needless to say, he was told a few things about sales and customer service.

Three days later I got a telephone called from the manufacturer’s customer service department. A good call and I explained the challenge I’d had. I was promised a contact from another dealer that day. Of course I didn’t get the call.

One week later I received a letter from the customer service department of that dealer asking if I had enjoyed the visit and the test drive. I got mad and called them. Guess what? There was nobody available in customer services. I left a message with the young lady who answered the telephone and received a call the following day. Not from the head of the customer services who had written to me, but from a junior assistant in another department. She obviously assumed I had a problem because the first thing she asked was ‘what’s the problem’. Maybe problems are all they get to deal with?

I took the time and trouble to explain the bizarre series of events and was promised a call that day to rearrange the test drive.

Two hours later I did receive a call – from the commercial department of the dealership. The call started: “Mr King, I understand you want to buy a truck”. Enough!!! I hung up.

I almost certainly would have bought that car if I got to test drive it; but the whole experience of buying a new car was too stressful and I decided to keep the old one.

The point is – some companies don’t even go the first 100 yards – let alone the extra mile.

How is your customer service – really?


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