A few years ago, I purchased a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have absolutely loved driving the car ever since. In fact, the car has exceeded my expectations in terms of reliability and performance.
That said, I doubt I’ll buy another one.
The customer service at the local Jeep dealer is abysmal.
I was reminded of this recently when I sat for 3.5 hours waiting for two recalls to be fixed. I think Sarah delivered our third child in less time than it took this dealership to fix two recalls! The time sitting there was one thing, the T.V. —and noise accompanying it—was so loud I could hardly think. Worse, the programming was so depressing that it is no wonder Americans are mad at just about everything anymore. Why a dealership would want to encourage such negative animosity while customers are waiting hours for fixes to their high-priced vehicles is beyond me (I’d play something soothing in attempts to keep everyone chill to distract them from the ridiculous wait times!).
My first-world problems aside, what bothered me the most was the lack of communication. As much as I asked for clarity about when the car might be done, none was given: “I don’t know, man, it depends on how long the software takes to download.”
As my judgmental thoughts continued to fester, I asked myself a sobering question in an attempt to snap out my own negativity: What kind of after-sales experience do our customers have?
Is the information that we share clear?
If there is a delay, is it clear why?
Is it clear when the parts will be delivered?
How often are we in touch with customers after they place the P.O.?
As I sat there—and as I tried to tune out the latest celebrity nonsense that was blaring on the T.V.—I reminded myself of two important realities:
First, much of the customer’s experience happens POST sale. These experiences, as I am learning with my beloved car dealer, can shape the customer’s opinions about the brand.
Second, while I cannot control what the Jeep dealer does, I can influence what we do at Hoffer Plastics. More specifically, I can re-emphasize with our team how vital post-sale customer interaction is.
Creating clarity might not solve every issue, but it is a great starting point! Customers want to know all the answers to the questions they will be asked by their teams, and they want to know with complete certainty that those answers are trustworthy.
Then, it is up to us to deliver and prove our trustworthiness.
It is not rocket science.
Had I been told that the recall would take 3.5 hours up front, I would have probably been annoyed, maybe even upset.
But, my trust would have grown when the car was done on time.
Instead, I remain annoyed a few days later.
Worse, I continue to dream about a sports car (much to my wife’s delight!).
The after-sales experience matters immensely.