Customer Service is more than just a smile

Last week I had yet another bad experience with a main dealer garage in Cambridge where we have been taking our lease van for service and repair.

Every time we have taken the van in there,  there has been a problem or irritation caused generally by their incompetence.

On this occasion, I observed some behaviour that interested me. On the whole a lot of the staff seemed to be very friendly. I think they knew they had irritated me yet again and I was offered cups of tea and a nice smile.

But it made me think that customer service has to be the full package.

A friendly smile is very important and it means a lot to be made to be felt welcome and dealt with civilly. But this should be a standard anyway.

It can all quickly wear thin if the actual service behind this is poor.

This business continually let me down, the last straw being when I had made it clear that a light indicating that there was a problem with brakes had come on. I had said I was unaware with this was pads, discs or both but could they get the relevant parts in. I was told they would.

After they had undertaken the service we received a call to say both pads and discs needed replacing but they had to order discs. This lack of attention to detail infuriated me and it has now been taken elsewhere for the work.

Communication, good standards of care and general (hopefully way above average) competence as well as being friendly and polite(which should be a given anyway) are all required to meet your client needs.

If you tick all the boxes, then I can’t see too many reasons why your customers won’t keep coming back.

If any of these areas fall down then you are leaving the opportunity open for people to look elsewhere for the right experience.

We have now had the the work done at a smaller dealership, who are far more efficient and who actually listen to us.

Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to Customer Service is more than just a smile

  1. Maxine says:

    Absolutely agree! Clean toilets is always a good clue too don’t you think?

    Interested to know whether the 1st garage asked for your feedback in anyway after the appointments previously such as a card to fill in, telephone survey, anything sent in the post. These can be so valuable for teasing out bits and pieces of opportunity to improve service. Sometimes it’s not even about right or wrong but about how things are perceived.

    Businesses put so much time, effort and money into marketing at the front end only to have customers leave them later on down the line. Shame.

  2. Dave says:

    Thanks for the comments Maxine. We did get a feedback form after one visit to this garage but as my colleague who filled it in pointed out it was all about the work carried out. As we have had no problems with that and we are not motor mechanics there was no complaints on that side of things.
    There was no area to include overall experience of their service. This to me shows that they are getting their customer service policy wrong if they are not considering how the customer goes away feeling, which in our case was continually frustrated and unsatisfied.
    As you say it’s down to your perception of how you are made to feel. They ticked some of the boxes but if I feel like they wasted my time and were not switched on to our requests, I go away looking for something better.

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