Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another satisfied customer


I was taking a shower this morning and scrubbing down with one of those scrunchy sponge things on the end of a stick when the stick snapped in half. Seriously, how hard do you have to be scrubbing your own ass to break the stick in half?
But that's not what I want to talk about.
I'm in the process of buying a new car. I decided to buy a Ford Expedition because it's time for me and my family to join the ranks of people driving vehicles that are just way to big. Listen, I spent about three weeks researching every mid sized vehicle I could find and the bottom line is none of them have a third row seat that will hold a person taller than a midget. And it would have to be a short midget. In the world of midgets this guy would have to be Danny DeVito. So I'm buying the family truckster and the next time I buy a Christmas tree it's going inside the car instead of on the roof. We don't buy Christmas trees anymore, we have a very nice artificial tree, but that's not the point. If I wanted to, I could stuff the sucker inside the car.
Before you start preaching about wasting gas, I think I have made my feelings known on that subject before. If the government won't get off it's ass and mandate higher gas mileage standards or make high mileage cars tax-deductible then don't expect me to carry the torch. Also, don't give me a hard time for driving a high mileage vehicle when you drive 30 minutes to work every day. Everybody I know uses more gas than I do no matter what the gas mileage of the car I drive, so suck it.
Anyway, I'm buying my car from the Internet sales guy at the Ford dealership. I actually went into the store and had a salesman take me for a test drive but I refuse to let him make a commission off of my purchase. My rule is this: if you don't know how to make the seats fold, you don't get to sell me a car. I am so sick of talking to salesmen who know less about the car than I do because I have taken the extraordinary step of reading about the car for 10 minutes on the Internet.
I actually had to order my car from Ford because they couldn't find one in dealer inventory that specifically matched what I want. After I ordered the car, the salesman said it would take six to eight weeks for it to arrive and that he would call me every Monday to check in. Two Monday's passed before I finally called the dealership. My salesman wasn't available, but a very nice woman was and she apologized for the fact that he had not called me and gave me some excuses about being sick and bad peanut butter affecting the staff.
The next day I called again and got his voicemail which was confusing because the outgoing message said that it was someone else's voice mail. So I called back and asked if they had sent me to the right person and was told "Yes, he probably just hasn't changed the outgoing message yet." Now, it had been 10 days since he had ordered my car so I know that he's worked there at least 11 days.
A few hours later I called again. I was finally able to get him on the phone and he asked if I had received the fax that he sent me.
"No, the fax number you have is for my wife's office," I said.
"Oh... Do you have e-mail?"
"Yes I do."
"I'll e-mail it to you again."
30 minutes later I called him again.
"I haven't received an e-mail," I said.
"Oh, we're having some problems with that computer, I'll send it from a different computer."
Finally, I received it. It contained information on a car he had found that he hoped would satisfy me. This would enable me to get my car sooner. I called him back.
'I can't believe you wasted my time with this," I said, "This car has options that I don't want."
"Oh, that's right, you don't want the navigation system."
"No I don't."
"But you're flexible on the liftgate, right?"
"No, I'm not flexible on anything. As I told you when we were sitting in your office I want everything in this car that I asked for and I don't want anything in his car that I haven't asked for. The only thing I am flexible on is the moon roof. If you can find this exact car with a moon roof, I'll buy it even though I could care less about the moon roof."
"Let me write that down."
"Why do you have to write it down? Can't you just look at the computer printout of the car that you ordered for me? I'm looking at it right now."
"Well, I don't have it in front of me."
He then proceeded to ask me about what options I wanted on the car despite the fact that I had already given him all of this information and he had in fact already ordered the car from Ford.
"I'm just curious," I said, "When will you have some idea of when my car will arrive?"
"Well, I have already received the build order and usually we get a car about three weeks after we get the build order." We chatted for a view more minutes and I hung up the phone.
Now, if you've managed to read this far I'm going to tell you how things should be:
The salesman at your car dealership should know how to fold down the seats in the back of the car. He should know what options come with the DVD navigation system. He should know that there is a cool little rack device in the back of the car that can be moved into three different positions making the car more useful.
You should avoid sending a customer to voicemail at all costs but if it is necessary, make sure that the outgoing message on the voicemail is from the person they are trying to contact.
If you tell someone you're going to call them every Monday, call them every Monday.
If you are having trouble with the email on a computer, don't use that computer for email until you have fixed the problem.
If a customer special orders a vehicle because he wants it a certain way do not waste his time by trying to sell him cars that do not match the order he put in.
If you tell a customer that his car will take six weeks to arrive and then you discover that it will actually be arriving few weeks early, that's the sort of information that he would like to hear. It will make him happy. Perhaps you could tell him that during one of the quick weekly phone calls you promised to make. In fact, lead with that: "Hello Booray, this is Jerry at the Ford dealership. The bad news is that I haven't been able to locate a car that matchs the one you ordered but the good news is that your car is going to be here earlier than expected. I'll check in again next week. Bye!" Actually, you don't have to call, you could just send an email. After all, you are in Internet sales.
I just wanted to get that off my chest.

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