Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Striving to Finish in 6th Place???

As you probably know I arrived in Florida last week. The trip was pretty uneventful with the exception of my car starting to act a little odd. The longer I have been down here the worse it has started to act.

Yesterday I took it to the dealer to have them check it out and figure out what the problem was. I made an appointment to have it there at 7:15am and I was there with time to spare. By 2pm I had to call them to find out what was going on. At 3:10pm they found the problem but did not know if they could get it done before the guy goes home at six. I ask several questions after that, all of which the answers were “NO”.

I decide to run to the dealer after work in hopes of being able to get my car. I actually was quite pleased when I got there my service advisor tells me that it is just finished. I said great then I will be able to take it home. And he very directly says "You are not taking anything home until I receive payment from your extended warranty company and then payment for your part". Mind you, the extended warranty company has authorized payment and that they complete the work. I then ask how long will that take I am told it could take until the next day and I get the “I leave at six” answer. I guess it does not matter that they are open until 9pm if he is gone no one can help me. I then ask several more questions all of which are answered with a firm “NO”.

Then as I am waiting I decide to walk into the cashier area to check on it. I am greeted by someone talking on the phone moving papers around not even looking like she is really doing anything more than moving them from one side of the desk back to the other and being sure to do anything to avoid looking at me. I patiently stand there and wait for her to finish her phone call.

At this point I start reading the tacky signs all over the glass that is separating me from the cashier. Most of them were hand written with specific words underlined and highlighted. The theme here is on everyone of these signs the word “NO” was underlined and highlighted. There must have been 10 of these different signs taped on their glass.

Then I notice a couple signs posted for the employees. I knew this because they were turned the wrong way. Well something I can tell you, is that white paper with black writing you can read the sign either way. One of them said “DO NOT release any keys until you have received payment in full”. Now this is probably an ok rule, but do you need to have a sign in plain view of your customers that says basically they do not trust their own customers to pay if they were to put the keys in their hands? How does that make us feel as customers?

Finally this girl just asks me what I need without ever looking at me. I explain everything to her. She says that she does not receive the authorization for payment it comes in the next office I could go check over there. So I walk out one door and quickly see the door is marked: “Service Office – Customer Help Here”. I think great! I walk in the door and ask the girl if she was the one that could help me figure out if they have received the authorization of payment from my warranty company. I am quickly given a finger point at the wall behind her and an answer of “NO you can do that next door”.

How exciting to be tossed back and forth every time knowing that I am going to get an answer of “NO”.

This dealership boasts they are the 6th Largest Ford Dealer in the World. I would like to suggest that if they learned to use different words than “NO” that perhaps they could be the “Largest Ford Dealer in the World”. When I purchased my car at this dealership it was not a pleasant experience. I tried to go elsewhere but no other dealer could make me the same deal. People obviously tolerate them because they give good deals but is that how they want to be known? What great tag lines: “Brandon Ford the Tolerable Dealership Because of our Great Prices” or "Brandon Ford - People Tolerate Us".

Having worked in sales/customer service for about twelve and a half years I have always tried to work by telling people what I CAN do for them rather than what I cannot. I find customers, I like to think of them as guests, really respond better when you approach them this way. No one likes to be told “NO”. I hope this dealership will someday wake up and get it. They probably do have the potential to be much bigger than they are. I cannot believe that they wake up and say that they want to be the “6th Largest Ford Dealer in the World”. That would be like playing in some game and hoping to not win.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stopping for the Night...

So about 8pm central time, I pulled into the Fairfield Inn in Mobile, Alabama. It has been a long day. I had to finish mowing the yard this morning before I left.

I got on the road about 10am and have driven all day. It has been fairly uneventful. I have taken some pictures. I left the camera in the car so I am not going to be adding any tonight.

For now I am off to bed so I can hit the road early again. I will blog more once I reach Tampa. Goodnight All!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On the Road Again...

Ok I know I have not been great at blogging lately but I am going to be really slack as I am not even going to do a Thursday Thirteen. I am going to let everyone know that I will be heading to Florida tomorrow morning.

I was supposed to leave Saturday but decided I was going to take a couple days off work and head out early so I could get in at a decent time Friday. I am going to try to find some photo opportunities as I am traveling so maybe I can come up with something to post tomorrow night.

My plan is to stay the night in Mobile, Alabama and then head to Tampa bright and early Friday morning. I do need a little help, I need to see if I can get my haircut on Saturday. Any takers on wanting to make a call for me? :-) Surely someone would make a call for me and get me an appointment. I will be on the road so feel free to give me a call anytime. My plan is to leave home by 10am.

Looking forward to seeing everyone real soon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mr Wilson?

Are you familiar with Dennis the Menace? If you are then you know who I am talking about.

Mr Wilson was the crabby old guy that lived next door and seemed to despise kids and them having fun. He hated when they would run through his yard or romp through his flower beds. The kids never seemed bothered by him it was almost as if they enjoyed antagonizing the "Crabby" old guy.

As I was growing up I really did not have a neighbor like this. There were a few times that I can remember them getting frustrated because we might have kicked a ball against their car or pool.

The interesting thing is I might have become Mr Wilson. I try to remember that I do not want to be a Mr Wilson but sometimes when I walk outside and find one of them riding a bike through my front yard. It is all I can do to not say a word. It does leave tracks in my front yard but I just try to look the other way trying not to be the crabby old guy.

Hmmm I wonder if I am getting old or if I am just overly concerned with the appearance of my yard.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Hot One Today....

So about 10:30am this morning my director walks by my desk and says hey lets pack up and go play golf. He said to plan on playing at 1pm. Now I do not remember if I blogged about it or not but we did this a couple weeks ago and it was HOT!!!! That was right in the middle of "Heat Wave 1". After that first round he and I both agreed from now on we would do this in the morning. But oh well, golf is golf and I wanted to play.

So of course I quickly organized my things and got myself to a point where I could leave. Naturally all my stuff was at home. I had to run all the way home (25 miles) and then back to the golf course (another 25 miles).

As I am home getting my things together I get a call from my director informing me that we have changed plans and we are going to go play a different course and we have a tee time at 1:40pm. This was ok with me, the new course was a lot closer to my house. What is next is what is really intriguing...

The course we decided to play is called Tour-18 here in Flower Mound, TX. That is really the Dallas/Fort Worth area if you are not familiar with this area. (I will explain more someday about this lovely place and all the communities and areas, I find it interesting). Now back to this golf course.

Tour-18 is a golf course that all 18 holes are replicas of what they call the "18 Greatest Holes in Golf". So today I played a combination of several of the famous golf courses and some of their most recognizable holes.

One to note in this posting is Hole 9, it is a replica of number 17 at Sawgrass Mills in Jacksonville, FL. Yes it has the island green and all. All I was worried about was getting on the green and not in the water with one stroke. The two people I played with were both successful at doing that. Of course that puts the pressure on me. Now I had been going between clubs trying to decide what to hit. This is never a good thing just before hitting. That is uncertainty and it puts lots of thoughts in your head. I get up there and confidently swing my club it is going left but it looks good. Fortunately it stayed on the island just like the other two but I definitely had my work cut out for me as it was right against the wood wall around the island. I managed to make a bogie (4) on this hole.

The other 2 to note were holes 16, 17 & 18. This was a replica of what is known as "Amen Corner" at Augusta National Golf Club where the Master's Tournament is held. This was exciting for me, I was curious to see how close they were and how I would play those holes. All 3 holes looked just like what I saw on TV and even as the announcers describe them they felt like they were very close to the real. I managed a bogie on hole 16 which was really #11 on Augusta National. On 17 (#12 Augusta National) I got a whopping triple bogie (6). A quick note here is I had a great tee shot that looked like the pros landing on the green. However this was a VERY difficult putting hole. Then on number 18 (#13 Augusta National) I managed to make a par. I hit a long nice drive to turn the corner to the left and set myself up for a an easy two strokes to the green and then two putts for a par.

How exciting it was to play those 4 holes. The others could have been any hole on any golf course for all I know. But it was still an exciting adventure to know that I was playing the same holes the pros play. If you ever had that fantasy of walking up the 18th green today definitely added to that and made you think about it a lot. It was a fun day.

As far as the heat goes. We are in the middle of "Heat Wave 2", it was HOT!!! Not quite as hot as last time, I think it was 107 that day. Today the temperature read to be 103. I am not sure that I would really know the difference between 107 and 103.

Now as exhausted as I am, I am heading to catch the movie You, Me and Dupree with a friend of mine. Had I not bought the tickets online before golf was planned I would probably save it for another day but I must press on. Perhaps I will have to write another movie review tomorrow for this movie. We shall see tonight.