Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Do you want my business?

Posted by Becky Carroll on May 29, 2007

car-keys.jpgSome people will tell you that half the battle is getting the customer into the store.  Once the customer is there, it is the salesman’s chance to shine.

We are in the market for a new vehicle (a truck to be exact).  While buying a car is one of my least favorite activities, the best part of it is the test drive.  One would think the car dealer would make that a very positive experience.   It wasn’t.

We walked around the lot looking at the clean, shiny new trucks.  We were interested in a long bed truck, but there weren’t any apparently available on the lot.  The salesman offered to have us drive a short bed truck just to see how it performed.   He mentioned the cars might not start, as some of them hadn’t been run in a while.  He finally found a truck that started up, and we quickly hopped in.  Gosh, were our kids excited!

The first thing my husband noticed was the lack of gasoline in the truck.  The salesman noticed it, too, and suggested we don’t drive more than a few blocks.  We couldn’t take it on the freeway as we would have liked to do.  Strike one.

Once back on the lot, we asked if there was a long bed truck we could try out.  After being kept waiting for quite some time, the salesman said they found a few in the back lot and would bring one around for us to test drive.  Twenty minutes later, still no truck, so the salesman walked us over to the back lot.  There were several long beds there, and we were anxious to drive one as by this time, it was nearly dark and we were getting chilly (and hungry).  The salesman didn’t have the key to any of the trucks and disappeared again, leaving us on our own in the back lot.  Strike two.

A key was brought out for a truck, which wouldn’t start.  They started charging the battery and went to get a key for a different truck.  Turns out that truck was out of gas (just off the delivery truck and not yet fueled up).  We discovered that all the trucks were out of gas, including the truck which was finally charged enough to try and start.  Strike three.

Needless to say, we will not be purchasing our new truck at that dealer.

Lessons For Business

An organization can have all the great marketing in the world to bring the customers into the store, but if the product isn’t available, no sale can be made.  Do you really want your customer’s business?  This dealership did not.  The showroom floor was polished.  The salesman was professional.  There was even free popcorn!  However, no trucks were able to be driven.

Crafting an ideal buying experience for customers needs to be consistently executed across all touchpoints.  Every employee plays a vital role in that experience, even the technician responsible for fueling the vehicles. 

What are the details in your customer’s experience?  Where can it go wrong?  Where is there an opportunity to “wow” the customer? 

Take your own customer’s experience for a test drive.  Map the experience from touchpoint to touchpoint and see where the journey takes you.  Don’t forget to bring your customer along for the ride!

(Photo: vladacanon)


8 Responses to “Do you want my business?”

  1. We once bought a minivan at a local dealer. It was late and they asked if they could have until the next day to clean it up. We agreed. When we went to pick it up it would not start! Since we had not left the lot I refused to take the vehicle. The poor salesman had to drive 40 minutes away to get a replacement. We had purchased a car from him before but I was not going to let that relationship get in the way of me getting a new car that worked right on day one.
    Since that time we have purchased 2 more cars from that same guy, but never have we had any troubles. He knows we will walk away. They make extra certain we are happy with the car immediately.

    My point, you can’t build a bridge if you don’t give them a chance. You can’t have a strong bridge if only one side is contributing.
    So what kind of truck did you end up with?

  2. It’s almost as if folks like this think that the customer’s time has no value. Very perplexing – even if you ended up buying the truck there, how many sincere recommendations would you be able to give?

    – Steve Woodruff

  3. Roger, thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes there are conditions that are outside of the control of the salesman. I am sure the salesman we dealt with was nearly as frustrated as we were! However, this was not the first negative experience at this dealership. This was us giving them another chance when we could not drive any of the vehicles we were truly interested in. One car not starting/no gas, OK. All of them?

    The point I hope to get across here is that if a business truly wants to care for its customers, it has to ensure that it attends to all the details that could be potential problems. The salesman, knowing the cars often don’t start or are out of gas, could have checked them all first while we sat in the comfort of the showroom. Making us stand on the back lot was not a great experience.

    As to which truck did we buy? We are finalizing that, and I can report back later today (I hope!).

  4. Steve,

    Thanks for weighing in on this one. As I wrote this post, I was thinking of your post awhile back where you couldn’t get businesses to return your phone calls, and you and I both wondered if these folks really wanted our business. Yes, our time is valuable, and businesses that don’t respect their customer’s time leave a sour taste. It is when a business really thinks through the entire experience, from their customer’s perspective, that they can see opportunities to improve the interactions. This type of business planning will lead to an improved outcome for the customer (who is taken care of) as well as the organization (who will get repeat business).

  5. Becky,

    I would have left the dealership after he told me that some of the vehicles might not start. Excuse me! Every automobile on a lot should be started, maintained, and have at least three gallons of gas in it. I fear that dealership is not only managed poorly and also doesn’t seem to care that they suck.

  6. Hi Lewis,

    Thank you for your view; I agree with it. We were actually hoping we could find what we were looking for! We really wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing.

    Apparently, this is not an unusual problem at dealerships!! I agree that their main product, cars/trucks, should be maintained and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Confidence is fleeting for a car shopper. Besides, it was Memorial Day weekend, which is supposed to be a big weekend for car sales; they should have been ready.

  7. Driving foot traffic

    In an age replete with digital strategies, The Container Store looks for results terra firma
    By: Samar Farah
    They sell empty spice vials, wall-to-wall closet shelving and every imaginable household repository in between. Their image is trendy but affor…

  8. Very well said, Becky. A lot of businesses out there are like that. They offer many promises but are not able to give it in return. So, in the end, the business still lose in that factor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: