Get results at a dealership
People have short fuses when it comes to problems at a car dealership. Honest mistakes happen at car dealerships, just like every other business, but nobody believes that when it happens at a dealership.
When I had my dealerships, I had an open-door policy with employees and customers. Many times I had customers storming into my office and stating: “I’ll never buy another car here again” or words to that degree. I would just calmly say “I am sorry to hear that, but you just took away any incentive I have to help you”. Without fail, they would retract their statement and we could resolve the issue.
When problems occur at a dealership, yelling and screaming will seldom get the desired results. Like any other business, employees just want the yelling customer to leave and that doesn’t solve anything.
Understand that there are managers for each department in a dealership and going through the chain of command is a good idea. If it is a service issue, talk to the service manager. There is usually a Parts and Service Director, that is a good second stop.
For sales issues, talk to the new or used sales manager, depending on what you purchased. If need be, the general sales manager is over all sales operations, including financing. If the problem persists, speak to the general manager, and ultimately the owner.
In larger dealerships, you might get sent to a customer service representative, which is OK. Often their job is to fix the problem.
Don’t let emotions get the better of you. Have your facts written, and don’t make threats. Have your documents organized. Most dealership employees are reasonable people when someone has a compelling case.
If you have a warranty issue, remember your dealer has to work through the manufacturer since the automaker is paying the bill. Dealers have procedures they must go through, and remember the dealer did not build the car. Their job is to service vehicles within the confines of your warranty.
Face-to-face is best
If possible, talk with the dealership personnel face-to-face. Telephone calls are OK, but you don’t really know if you have their full attention.
My biggest fear as a dealership owner was the silent customer: Those who had a problem just took their business elsewhere. Give your dealer an opportunity to solve the issue. The last thing they want is to lose your business. Let them know how to keep it.
Jerry Reynolds is an auto industry expert and the host of nationally syndicated Car Pro Show heard Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on News Radio KTRH 740 AM, and Sports/Radio 610 KILT AM, Saturday 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and online at www.CarProUSA.com.