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Customer Disservice

July 22, 2009

Thinking about buying a new GM car? Good for you.  I just hope you have better luck than Vijay Ravindran – a Washington Post blogger – interested in a new Camaro.

We all know that auto industry – especially the American auto industry – is hurting right now. And while I don’t currently drive American, I’m a car guy at heart and know that there are some pretty good new American products on the lots, the Camaro included. And that, my friends, is the problem. Good cars are sitting on the lots, taking up space and creating unnecessary overhead for both the dealers and manufacturers. What’s more, it’s not the manufacturers’ faults.

I’ve actually spent some time selling cars and, one thing I learned, is that people will buy a product – good, bad or otherwise – if they believe they’re being fairly treated by the sales force. In short, this means that that nothing GM, Chrysler or Ford do to improve their products is going to matter if they don’t do something to improve the buying process for their customers.

Having been on both sides of the sales desk, I know dealers want to do everything they can to maximize their profits. Ignoring customers, wasting their time on the lot or trying to switch them to vehicles they don’t want may have worked 20 years ago, but that’s not the case today, especially in a buyer’s market. I don’t care how hot or cool the new Camaro is (and it’s both, in my opinion), the fact remains that dealers need to move product, and that requires treating their customers with a basic level of respect.

Don’t get me wrong because I’m not fool enough to think that dealers are going to stop trying to pull every last dollar they can out a customer’s wallet – that’s the nature of the game. But I do believe that the best way to get more money out of your customer is to provide them with a good experience, and that starts by returning their phone calls, having the car you promised on the lot, and letting them actually drive the machine when they arrive. If they’re not happy once they’ve tried the Camaro out, then move them to the Corvette. Not before.

That’s it. The rant is over. I’m going for a drive.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 30, 2009 10:49 pm

    I need your email addy . . .

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