When we think of creating processes within our business we tend to think in terms of cost and efficiency, but have you ever stopped to consider the effect your processes may have on your customers?
Not too long ago my son’s electronic car key broke; I thought the quickest way to fix or replace it was to go directly to the car dealer. Yes, I knew it would be more expensive, but I was thinking more from the convenience and timeliness at this point.
In we went to the nearest dealer and I can honestly say I will not be going back there. Their process was not only inefficient to them, but to us as well.
We walk in and naturally a salesperson quickly approaches. We tell him why we’re there and he says “I’m not sure about what to do; you should go to the parts department.” I look around and lo and behold no signs or direction as to where the parts department is so I ask him. He says “take the elevator or stairs down.” Again, no signs or direction clearly visible. “And that might be where?” He responds, “Oh, go down that way and turn right, take the elevator down and turn left to the parts department.”
We follow his directions and finally get to the parts department where we explain the situation. The employee says “well did you try to drive with it? Does it still fit in the ignition?” To this we respond “We don’t know; the key is bent we didn’t want to take a chance of it getting stuck in the ignition and make things worse.” He proceeds to try and “unbend or fix it” and in the process makes it worse. His response “well, I guess I know why you didn’t want to attempt it.” Really?
“Well I guess the only thing we can do is order a new one for you.” “Okay, how much will that cost?” He looks up the cost based on the make and model; I ask him “don’t you need any specific number or that off the car or anything?” “No” and he proceeds to give us the cost. As we’re about to tell him to go ahead and order it he says “that’s just the cost for the key; you’ll also have to pay to have it programmed to your car.” “Okay, how much do you estimate for that?” “I have no idea you have to ask the service department.” “Where’s that?” “Go out this door, turn left, and go through the other door; then you can come back and let me know if you want me to order it.”
Do you see the first flaw in this process? 1) Why don’t they have estimated costs and fees for parts and services in their system for all service related and customer support personnel to look up? 2) Not having this information in the system, why couldn’t he pick up the phone or intercom and ask the service department directly without having a customer run around to different departments to get a TOTAL estimate for what she/he wanted done?
Hang with me because there’s a moral to this story!
The service department gives me their estimate to which I ask if I will need to set up an appointment to have it programmed. The guy told me I could just pull up to the service entry and say here’s the key I just got from parts; it needs programming.
I now go back to the parts department and tell them to order the key. Wait for it….. He starts entering the order in the system and asks “do you have the car here or an insurance card? I need the vpin off of it to make sure I order the right key. REMEMBER WHEN I asked him if there was any information he would need off of the car and he said no.
We did order the key because, of course, we didn’t want to risk having only one key – the backup, right?
The guy calls a couple days later to tell me the key is in; he asks if I want him to transfer me to the service department to set up an appointment. I explain the service representative said that wasn’t necessary I should just bring it in when the key was here. (Don’t you think he would have checked on this with the service department before calling me?) I told him we’d be right over.
We head over, park the car by the service area and go to the parts department. The parts guy says “Oh, we still need to cut it so you can drop your car off at service and tell them we have the key so they should just come and get it from us.” (Why did they call to say the key was ready when they didn’t cut it yet?) So yet another, back and forth; this process couldn’t be explained over the phone as opposed to telling me to come and get the key; it’s ready!
The service department was an equally frustrating experience because they ask why you’re there and then they start walking around not informing you should you stay out there with the car, come back in when the car is in line, looked like chaos.
Possibly POOR TRAINING!!!
Now to some this might seem like a small hit to the business because we were only there to get a key; that’s peanuts when you consider that they’re there to really sell much bigger ticket items such as cars.
Here’s the thing: the poor service received for just buying a key and having it programmed leads to any chance of a future car purchase by myself or family which leads to a much bigger cost to the car dealer. Not only that, but this experience will be shared and now they risk the loss of more car purchases and/or service contracts.
They had the opportunity for future increased revenues, less costs, visible teamwork and customer satisfaction if only they created a more efficient system and encouraged communication between team members, and with customers!
Don’t misconstrue the effect of initial small purchases, small customers, and lack of processes have on your company and bottom line.