Earlier this month, my husband and I bought a new car. This was a pretty big deal for us, because it was the first time in ten years we were purchasing a new car. So, we decided to trade in my faithful mid-size SUV with more than 125,000 miles on it, and go for a new one. The car buying process is grueling – and one of my least favorite things to do (which is probably why I can only endure it once every ten years).
After weeks of research and test drives, we settled on a new car. We spent hours at the car dealer, haggling over options, rebates and the bottom line. Not only was it exhausting, we had to pay a babysitter because we couldn’t imagine how much more difficult the process would be with our two children in tow.
Fast-forward one week and I receive a phone call from the car dealer. When I saw the caller ID, I assumed it was the car salesman touching base to see how we were liking the car or if we had any questions, or maybe just to thank us for our business. It was none of those things.
Instead, I received an automated, pre-recorded message telling me what a special customer I was and to look for emails from the service department in the coming weeks. Needless to say, this did not make me feel like a special customer at all. In fact, I was offended by the lack of personal attention. It’s not like I just bought a three-dollar Hot Wheel for my son – my husband and I made a significant financial investment with this car dealer that deserved to be recognized.
While I am sure the car dealer thought this was an efficient form of outreach (which it was), it neglected to consider the feelings of their customers. How much effort does it really take for a salesman (or manager) to pick up the phone or send a note personally thanking someone for purchasing a new car?
Yes, follow-up is important, but remember, it’s customer CARE, not customer outreach. I didn’t feel the car dealership cared about my purchase. I felt like the dealership merely checked a box on their list.
When dealing with your customers, remember to consider their time, effort and commitment to purchasing your product or service. Send a personal note, pick up the phone – take the time to demonstrate customer CARE. It will improve the likelihood of your customer becoming a repeat customer.
On a brighter note, I really do like my new car.