Monday, July 17, 2006

Baby you can drive my car ... if you wait long enough

Once again I have to bring up the subject of customer service and common courtesy. Today I went to a local Chrysler dealership for a test drive for work. I suppose you could say that I wasn’t technically a customer. But, I feel that I represent the customer and common courtesy dictates that I should be treated with some respect.

I got to the dealership a few minutes early and expected to wait because the man I was meeting had a phone call. After 15 minutes he came out and apologized for running late. I don’t have a problem with that. We had an appointment at 9:30 a.m. but I understand that things come up at the last minute. He told me they were getting the car ready for me – cleaning and gassing it up – and they’d bring it around. Silly me, I assumed he meant they’d bring it around shortly.

After 20 minutes, I started feeling a little put out. I would feel different if I just showed up out of the blue but I always phone ahead. I didn’t say I’d been in around 10 a.m. or between 10 and 11 a.m. I said I’d be there at 9:30 a.m. and I was early. While we were waiting for the car I was to drive, someone could have been showing me the features on the car sitting in the show room. There were salespeople standing around. I’m sure one of them could have taken five minutes out of their busy day to tell me about a car they’d really like someone to buy.

At 10 a.m., I began writing the time in my notebook. I had been waiting over 35 minutes with only about 30 seconds of face time at that point. At 10:10 a.m. I saw a guy drive up with the car only to leave a minute later for 20 more minutes – I assumed he was going to get gas in the car. The whole time I felt there was no point in leaving as this was a work assignment and I would have to come back some time. But I was fuming with no outlet for my anger.

At 10:30 a.m., the first guy came to me with the key. The car was ready to go. A salesman went over the features with me and sent me on my way. About five minutes down the road it occurs to me to look at the fuel gauge – there was less than a quarter tank of gas! The car only gets 14 mpg in the city. I normally drive a car about 2 hours and now I have less than a quarter tank of gas to drive this gas guzzler. What were they doing with the car all that time? It looked great but it could have looked great an hour earlier – they knew I was coming.

I took a shortened drive and actually really enjoyed the car but the whole experience was a pain. I won’t be buying a vehicle from that dealership any time soon. I’m sure they don’t think that far ahead at the dealership. They know I won’t be buying that particular car so why waste their time? How about my time is just as valuable as their or anyone else’s time? How about common courtesy? How about word of mouth?

1 comment:

Monkey said...

How about you're writing a piece to help them promote their business? That's an awful way to conduct business in general.

But then car salesmen are a special breed. Their eye is always on the ball, and that's the dollar.

As an aside... I once used the word "caveat" in a conversation with a car sales manager and he looked at me like I was from mars.