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.


Anonymous said...

D....glad to see you're BACK!! Quite a run in with Brandon Ford. Have you considered sending the Service Manager a copy of your blog?? Maybe that would help the next poor customer that has to be told NO as well!

Susan said...

Ohhh...I think you should send them a copy, too! I'd send it to the owner of the whole dang company (Brandon Ford, that is). This is a VERY GOOD point for them to ponder.