Driving home from work last night, I glanced down at the dashboard and realized I had less than 24 miles until empty after my gas light came on earlier in the day. But, knowing I live less than five miles from campus, I ignored it, assuming I had plenty of gas to get home. Then, as luck would have it, waiting in line at a green light, I watched the miles drop from 24 to 3 and then to 0. What?! (I quickly pulled into the next gas station and dropped a $5 in the tank, which gave me 68 miles…but who’s counting?)
I’m about over this car. I’ve had it less than two years but I’m ready to drive something big and safe again, especially after the accident. Oh, and last week, the air conditioning stopped working…if I wasn’t already thinking about trading it in. So, I called the dealership to inquire about having my car serviced, told them I own a 2011 Ford Focus that I purchased from their dealership less than two years ago, and all the man on the phone wanted to know was the mileage on my car. I told him, “Around 41,000 miles,” and he scoffed: “Well, you’re out of warranty so it’s $95 to look at it.” What?! “Wow,” I told him. “It’s $95 just to look at it? No, thanks.” Then I hung up more frustrated than ever at this dealership and their lack of customer service.
The customer who seeks out your help isn’t often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down.
The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.
Now, I understand they are trying to make money, but my family has been a loyal customer since the early 80s when my grandfather purchased his first (of many) cars there with cash. So, as a result of not feeling any better after calling the dealership and actually feeling worse about the situation, I’m definitely not giving them any more of my business and would rather leave my car on the road dead than return to a place where I am treated most begrudging.