CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
“Hey, did you see that review?” The question moved about he showroom and through offices and even leaped over different departments and surely must have slipped and slithered itself through the rafters and cooling ducts to the owners office. It wasn’t finished until every last person heard it and read the review. Once the review was read it seemed to make everyone feel compelled to provide their idea of what should be done about it. Managers, Finance Guys, Salesman, and a guy who supposed to be a Porter came up to me with deep concern and heavy tones as if speaking softer about the event would somehow make it go away. The questions and statements revolved around asking me to have the review removed. Asking me to respond to the reviewer. Asking me to petition Yelp for removal. And to somehow inform the internet of all the things we did right on this deal. As if the internet were waiting with the great anticipation for the truth to finally come out on this deal. I don’t know how aside from me being the internet guy I got dragged into this mess. There had been plenty of reviews before this one and even a few bad ones but I don’t know what it was that made everyone so upset about this particular review. Was it because she named names? Was it because she was some Yelp Elite Squad User? Was it because she had pointed out some weaknesses? Was it because she had dragged the size of our water machine cups into it? Of all things to drag into the mud why our poor little plastic drinking cups? Maybe the drinking cups were taking cost savings a little too far. Maybe she had a point. Maybe she had a point about a few things.
I don’t remember much about her except seeing this angry faced person walking back and forth past my office window a few times. She looked more like a prison guard pacing back and forth in front of my cell. Even worse was this prison guard seemed to be having a really bad day and you could tell by her tight lips, red face, and icy stare that someone laid the hammer down on her and she was gonna lay it back down on someone else. This was not the look of a happy or thoughtful person. If I had a cell mate I certainly would not rape him in front of this guard today for fear she would catch me and rape two times as bad and cut me off from food for a week and then inflict some strange torture technique from the dark ages on me. I stayed low in my office as I usually do responding to leads, making calls, wondering how many more days I must go on tucking in my shirt, looking for missing keys, and begging for weekend bonuses.
In regards to what had transpired so far I’ve gathered the following. The car was priced very well online but wasn’t ready for the front line yet as it required a dent removal and detail. The customer called about this car and was misinformed by the salesman regarding if it still had some manufacturers warranty on it. The customer asked questions regarding the Carfax and the salesman responded with incorrect information having not read the Carfax before answering the question(s). In retrospect surely this salesperson would admit he should have told the customer he’d call her back after getting the details together for her but her review cleaned his clock as if he were personally responsible for buying the car at auction, every owner that ever driven it, every mile it was ever driven, and why service hadn’t yet made it front line ready, why his manager doesn’t give him the password to our Carfax account, why the owner hadn’t upgraded our facilities, why our Finance manager is slow to fax or according to the customer couldn’t figure out how to fax, or why he hadn’t personally beat down the service manager for allowing it to be in the sales lot before it was ready so that we wouldn’t have caused her any unnecessary trips to look at it and of course we already know he was linked to the size of our drinking cups but it didn’t end there as he had somehow even managed to get himself implicated in setting humanity and woman's rights in particular back a good 50-years.
Basically the customer came in under the premise that the car was perfect and was still under warranty which was not the case. The deal should have ended there but it kept going on and the piecing together it from that point forward was a downward spiral of multiple customer visits involving multiple salespersons and managers and a customer who wanted this car to be everything she envisioned it to be when in reality the car that was everything she wanted it to be was overlooked by her because of its price and is probably still sitting on AutoTrader or Craigslist or crashed by a salesman with a Vicodin addiction who took it to get lunch.
In the end nothing much has changed. Sure the salesperson always calls back the customer if they ask details, the service department created a line and duct taped a piece of cardboard to the ground that has an arrow indicting sales and service to help clear up any lot confusion. The drinking cups got an upgrade and are 1 size larger now. But sooner or later a person in the business office will again order the cheaper cups, the cardboard sign duct taped to the ground will wash out in the rain, this salesperson or another salesperson will cut a corner. Customers will come to look and re-look at a car multiple times and deal with multiple salespersons and managers all of which will try to say things to make the deal and this customer will pass and bring them all up to an entirely different salesperson and manager on a different day. We will receive more reviews. We will pat ourselves on the back when they are good and take our due credit in meetings or print copies complete with yellow highlights where it talks about our own name leave them on the GM’s desk. And when they’re bad or there’s an angry faced person pacing the showroom (or service drive) we hide and then point fingers and talk about the mistakes other people made.