Surviving an Economic Downturn: Improve Customer Service

Every once in a while, you run across just exceptional customer service, above and beyond the regular call of duty. In the fast pace world we live in, we expect the cheapest service, removed from all human contact: self checkout at the grocery store, ATM’s, drive through oil changes, automated car washes. Recently, I encountered world class customer service at an Audi deal. Here is my account of the story.

The Story

Just recently, I took my wife’s Audi into the dealership for a once over, including an oil change, transmission change, and overall inspection. This was a complete 180 from my regular Chevy dealership. The scheduling was done via online form, with e-mail confirmation. I came in on a Saturday morning and waited in the waiting room. There were nice leather chairs with coffee shop-like tables, with the latest daily paper on each table. The service rep offered me a cup of coffee prepared with their Starbucks automatic coffee dispenser. They also kept in stock water bottles, and pastries.

On my second visit, to follow up on a few repairs, I experienced the same level of attention. Rather than having to stand at the desk, the service rep offered me coffee and told me to wait in the lobby area. While I sipped on my coffee, read the paper, and checked my e-mail (with free wifi), he came up with the itemized estimate, paperwork to sign, etc. He scheduled me for a shuttle to take me back to my office (and even offered to pick me up when my vehicle was done.

Later in the day, I received a call with an update on my services. He also mentioned that my “world class, German designed” car had on a Ford dealership license plate frames and the wrong screws. He offered to replace them with nice chrome ones with the appropriate hardware. I asked for his manager’s name and contact because I wanted to share my experiences with management.

My Note to Management

Customer Service

He called me later that evening to thank me and said that the manager called the team together and read my e-mail aloud to everyone. He couldn’t stop thanking me and that I have no idea how much of an impact it makes on him, and the rest of the team.

Lesson learned

Compliment people when they go out of their way to provide exceptional customer service. It’s hard to come across good service now a days. If you do, take a moment to do so, especially to raise it to management and to publish it to local papers, online reviews, etc.

Published by Daniel Hoang

Daniel Hoang is a visual leader, storyteller, and creative thinker. As an experienced management consultant, he believes in a big picture approach that includes strong project leadership, creative methods, change management, and strategic visioning. He uses a range of visual tools to communicate business challenges, solutions, and goals. His change strategy is to build "tribes" of supporters and evangelists to drive change in culture and organization. Daniel is an avid technologist and futurist and early adopter.

2 thoughts on “Surviving an Economic Downturn: Improve Customer Service

  1. As someone who has worked in retail and customer service, it's a great feeling when you get positive feedback from a customer you helped and an even better feeling when that feedback is overheard by your superior.

    With that said, I always try to make an effort to reward employees that go the extra mile when helping me. Just recently, a virus was downloaded to my PC and it had to be wiped clean in order to restore it. Long story short, I lost my most recent purchases from the iTunes store. I contacted customer support and in a matter of hours was able to retrieve my lost purchases. And like you, I emailed the representative that had helped me and thanked him for his hard work – he was very surprised and thanked me for my kind words.

    1. I can relate as well. I received an anonymous note from a customer when I worked at a school cafe. My manager called me in and read the letter to me. Sometimes we tend to get too wrapped up in our busy lives to stop and recognize and appreciate good customer service.

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