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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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sara callahan

sara callahan Owner/President

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Are You Training Customers to Blackmail You for Service?

If you hold a management position in the retail automotive industry, you’ve probably had a customer attempt to leverage something to get what they want. Whether it was an unreasonable request, or simply a last-ditch effort to get a perceived wrong made right, many of you will have run into this situation.

In the past, a customer’s leverage was typically the impact a poor survey would bring to the dealership. And, this is something customers still threaten if they feel there is no other avenue of recourse. Of course, today’s consumers are much wiser to the power of a poor CSI survey, especially when most dealerships continually reinforce the importance of “perfect” survey results.

Today, there are many other channels for consumers to vent their displeasure and leverage to get what they want. But, other than the odd customer that uses these tactics malevolently, what about those who simply seek customer service to fix a simple issue? Perhaps they had a bad experience, a promise was unfulfilled, or work was incomplete or poorly executed. Maybe they attempted to reach the dealership by calling, emailing or visited the dealership in person to get their problem solved directly, but were unsuccessful.

Well, according to an article in Forbes, businesses are inadvertently telling consumers that going directly to the business to solve customer service issues isn’t effective. Because, when they do, the business either fails to pay attention, or prioritizes their complaints lower than it should. However, when a customer threatens to trash a CSI survey, or to post bad reviews in every place possible, the company will suddenly pay attention and give the customer the attention they demand.

The perfect storm of technology which amplifies the consumer voice through social media and review sites has taught businesses to pay attention to those sites. At the same time, consumers have caught on that these venues are effective to get attention for their complaints.

What’s the solution? The best policy is to pay attention to customers through all channels and work to rectify customer complaints no matter when or where they happen.

In this age of customer experience, customer service and satisfaction are more important than ever. We can no longer afford to ignore, procrastinate over or neglect any customer’s concerns.

Consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to buying and servicing their vehicles. With profit margins shrinking and competition growing it makes sense to ensure the customer is king – to handle all customer service issues and complaints just as promptly and with as much enthusiasm as you would if they threatened a poor CSI survey or posted a negative review. A reactionary customer service strategy is probably not the best policy.

Once consumers realize that they don’t need to resort to strong-arm tactics to get you to care, they will believe that you actually do. And that’s how relationships stay strong and businesses flourish.

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