Firing the Customer

Shawn Ryder

Working with dealers and hear nightmare stories of customers that go on numerous test drives, over the course of days, only to have the customer visit to show up and bring the vehicle from another dealer that they may purchase - asking for opinion. 

At what point is okay to fire the customer? How far before it is okay to say "enough is enough" ? 

Ken Gregson

Wow Shawn, great question.

My first reaction is to think about how often this happens; if it's more than a very rare occurance then I'd look in the mirror.  Numerous sources of research indicate customers are visiting fewer and fewer dealerships (1.2 - 1.4).  I'm not likely to suggest you turn one away, even if they wnd up buying from someone else.

For customers that "go on numerous test drives" (if that's happening a lot) then I'd take a look at my listenting and questioning skills.  Am I really hearing them.  There's that old saying that still rings true "The customer will tell you how to sell them, if you just listen."

mark rask

Ken has a good often is it really happening?

Kelvin Johnson

I understand some customers are like that but test driving the car more often requires more patience and evaluation on how you should ask and answer questions to give what they really need will save time on both sides. We've been customers, too, and we sometimes have hesitations on things so it's more on understanding.

Ron Henson

I would much rather have my team going on multiple test drives, which gives them the opportunity to build value in the vehicle, the dealership, and themselves.  If, after multiple test drives, the team isn't progressing the deal, I think it then becomes a training issue rather than a "fire the customer" issue.  Customers are far too valuable to "fire" any of them.

On another note, my favorite phone calls to make were the ones where I called a competing dealer to come and pick up their car because "their" customer just bought from my store!  


Joe Henry

As a former Fixed Ops Manager, as well as a former Service Advisor of many decades, I have only 4 occasions (1- a woman tried to run me over in the service drive because she was mad at the dealership, 2- customer cursed me on the drive in front of everyone for a 2 minute rant, 3- customer continued to call me a liar because he swore that the airbag deployed then re-packed itself and he wanted it replaced at no cost under warranty, the airbag was not deployed 4- a college team full-back that was also a bouncer wanted to dispute the repair and wanted to talk to my manager … and my service manager at the time was too scared to come out of his office and told me just to get rid of the guy. )

Each time I used the statement “I am sorry we have disappointed you to this degree in your customer experience at our dealership. So with this in mind, feel free to take your vehicle to any other of (put your manufacturer’s name and how many dealerships there are). I am truly sorry ….

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