Turn a Customer Complaint into a Positive
There are times when every auto dealer must address a customer complaint. It is of utmost importance that you do not dismiss this customer as a troublemaker. While there is a small portion of the general public you’re not going to please no matter what you do for them, most people just want to believe they are being treated fairly, and any complaint should be taken seriously.
Customer Complaint Remedies
If a customer complains to you or one of your associates, the first thing to do is sincerely acknowledge their complaint – and listen to it. Did you notice we said sincerely acknowledge their customer complaint? You can quickly lose someone with a “canned” or apathetic response to their issue. It’s also important to completely hear them out. Let them finish! Sometimes, even repeating back what you’ve heard is an effective tactic.
Whether they complain in person or by e-mail (or snail mail), it’s also very important that you get back to them as quickly as possible. Sadly, many complaints go completely unanswered – and the Better Business Bureau says it is most damaging to a business when a consumer complaint is not responded to at all. To make matters even more serious, just imagine what an unsatisfied customer can do to your reputation should they decide to write about their perception of the experience online!
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer … then act accordingly. You’ll know you have succeeded when the customer feels you are on his/her side, collectively dealing with the issue; and the last thing either of you wants is to get into an argument. Think about the following questions.
How would you want a dealership to respond to you?
How quickly would you want them to respond?
From whom would you like the response to come?
How could the dealership meet and/or exceed your expectations in solving the problem?
It also bears mentioning that this is not the time to go throwing your coworkers under the proverbial bus. As long as the customer knows your concern and apology are genuine, this typically goes a long way toward diffusing a difficult situation, and you shouldn’t mention who was at fault. Reinforce your sincerity by continuing to tell them you want to help them.
Finally, if you have done all you can and still can’t solve the customer’s problem, it may be time to involve someone else who can. Just be sure the customer does not get passed around from employee to employee.
The best dealerships have the fewest complaints, but even the greatest ones still have the occasional dissatisfied customer from time to time. But when they happen, if they’re handled right these are the exact people who can become some of your most passionate advocates!
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