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After years in the automotive industry, I have seen a rapid decline in the level of service offered by vendors. The old ways of keeping customers through quality customer service seem to be behind us in many ways.
I was out buying a suit a couple of weeks ago. The gentleman helping me was well-informed about his topic and extremely helpful. My suit was to be ready at the end of the week.
When I returned, it didn't fit properly. Despite doing measurement after measurement, the tailoring just didn't quite meet my standards. It was no problem -- they would make the adjustments as soon as possible and have the suits ready by the following week.
The second time I tried them on, they still didn't fit. He looked at the suits thoroughly and found the issue. It was in the way that I liked to have my suits fit compared to the design of the suit itself. He assured me that the next time I come, it will be perfect.
I have no doubt that it will be. Someone mentioned to me as I was telling the story that "you'll never get a suit there again." I laughed and said, "Of course I'll get another suit there. I'll probably get all of my suits there from now on." The reason: service. Despite the trouble we have had in getting this suit to fit right, the gentleman that I am working with has been patient and courteous. He did things the way he always has. When it was apparent that it wasn't going to work that way for my suits, he accomodated me and will do what it takes to make things right.
It's in the follow-through that we separate ourselves with our customers. As CEO of an automotive marketing firm, it is important to me that we get it right. If we get it right the first time, I am happy. If it takes more than one try to get it right, so be it, but in the end, we HAVE to get it right.
This is a trait that seems to be lacking in the automotive vendor world. I hear all the time from car dealers how this vendor handles a situation or that vendor handles a situation. There should always be a "go-to person" available at all times to make sure that issues are fixed when they arise.
That is what we strive for. That is what all vendors should strive for.