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3 Customer Service Best Practices I Learned at the Car Dealership

I can’t live without my satellite radio. So when it started acting up, I drove to my car dealership to have it checked out. Keep in mind that prior to visiting the car dealership, I had the radio provider reset the signal to confirm there was nothing wrong on their end. So after the dealership reluctantly looked into the problem, they determined there was nothing wrong with my car even though they were hearing similar complaints from other customers.

Say what?

If there isn’t anything wrong with the car, other customers are having the same issue, and the service provider found nothing wrong on their end, what are my options?

To my surprise, I was told to call the corporate office or another dealer to see if a fix has been determined.

Really? Why should I do all the legwork? Does customer service even exist anymore? This frustrating experience made me think about three simple steps the dealership should have taken to make things right:


  1. Acknowledge the problem. Blaming corporate or others isn’t the answer and it does not rectify the situation: in fact, it exacerbates it. Instead, the person should focus on what should be done to resolve the issue. Ignoring the problem isn’t going to make the problem or the customer go away.
  2. Empathize with the customer. This is the perfect opportunity to turn a potentially negative experience into a good one. For example, saying, “I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this problem, let’s see how we make this right for you” or “I know how frustrating it can be when that happens,” displays empathy and lets customers know that you understand what they’re going through and you’re going to do everything in your power to fix it.
  3. Follow through. Don’t make the customer find the solution to a problem you are responsible for fixing. Even if you do not have an answer at the moment, acknowledge there is an issue and offer to do research to rectify the problem, and then do it! Follow through on your promises.

Great customer service is paramount to success in today’s competitive business environment. Sure, companies are doing everything they can to get your business, but once they have your business, they should strive to make you feel like a valued customer in order to ensure your loyalty. What does this cost monetarily speaking? Usually nothing except the person’s time.

So did my satellite radio get fixed? No. The dealer never did anything additional to fix my problem.

No company is perfect, but the ones who strive for perfect customer service remain one step ahead of the competition. How does your business make things right with customers? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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