A lesson from a car dealer

If you have been following my rant on Facebook about getting my van repaired you know that a lot happened in a short time that the dealer could have solved or at least minimized with the right words and attitude.  But after thinking about all that happened I thought that this is a good lesson from a car dealer that I could use to grow with.

A little background:

Took van in for repair, was very impressed with how fast I got in, the cost of the repair and the time I could pick-up the van.

Driving back van ran BAD and the hood was not latched so as I was driving down a major road I see hood start to lift up.

Got back to the office and called dealer, service writer was less than helpful and seemed more interested in washing hands of issue than fixing.

Was told to have van towed in to have it looked after.  Told them not my problem and they should have it towed in or send a tech to check it out.

Van towed to shop and supposedly no problem found, even after I was told by another tech what the problem was.

Van returned to me at the studio by service manager who was very rude and made a comment that “this cost us $75.00”

Well that last statement that was made about the $75.00 just before he stormed out got me thinking about what a good lesson this is.  What was the “real” cost to the dealership?

Well the incident up to that point was annoying and very frustrating for me and I was out the $300 for the repair, now had a vehicle that was not drivable, no way to get home that night and I had spent two hours dealing with this and not looking after the customers that were suppose to be coming in.  But I was still not really upset, just annoyed.  Then the dealer gets my vehicle back and 45 minutes later calls to say there is no problem, not that they could not find a problem, but there is no problem.  Well there is a problem and it is getting bigger, thanks to your comments.  That night I do some research and find out the exact issues that I had were related to something called transmission limp, a safety mode the vehicle goes in.  This is very well documented and the mechanic that I check with says it should have been the first thing that was mentioned to me to check, can have many causes including a bad repair or incomplete repair.

Next day at 12 noon I am finishing up teaching, another client walks in and behind her the service manager comes in from the dealership.  I turn to the service manager and he says that “I have your van and we need to take it for a test drive”. I inform him I am busy and rudely he again mentions a test drive. I told him I could not, he says well there is nothing wrong with it and the phrase that got me “this cost us $75 for the tow”, and out he storms.

So what was the real cost to the dealer?  Well that last phrase of “this cost us $75” cost them my business.  That would be an oil change every two or three months, repairs, annual service (one which I was due for) and the purchase of my next vehicle that I was starting to look for.  It also cost them a second client who had just bought a vehicle from them as she was the other person that was in my waiting room and she was shocked at how rude the service manager was.  AS well I will be sure to tell anyone I meet about this issue and the way it was handled, so more than likely a number of other sales they could have had.

I know 110% there was an issue, I tried several things that they suggested, took it for another drive and tried a pile more things that they suggested and it still acted up. The fact they could not find anything was not my issue. Just by changing what was said and dropping the last comment they would have kept me as a client, now that $75 is looking like a tiny drop in the bucket compared to what they will loose. This happens so many times in all different businesses, what could be solved with a kind word or no words is blown up to be a huge issue.  Before you comment the next time you are faced with a challenge check your words carefully, it may save you a lot more than you think!


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