hen it comes to our customers, we need to have more reacting and less responding. I realize this is backward of the teaching of life coaches, but customers are looking for a reaction and are getting frustrated by responses.
Let’s start with auto responders. I realize that some misguided manufacturers have forced this upon many of you, but customers can spot an auto responder. I recently purchased a vehicle for my daughter. It was a great experience from a fantastic Internet manager, but the automated responding technology was frustrating. My daughter already knew what she wanted, so I clicked on the icon next to vehicle that said, “Click here for Internet Pricing” and filled in a response form. I was pretty specific in the form including the fact that I’d be doing the legwork since she is a teacher and can’t take phone calls or mess with all the paperwork.
After completing her finance application for her online, I went back to work. Then the e-mails started coming. When an e-mail comes on my computer, a little alert pops up and needless to say, three of them came before anything directly from a human. I knew this because all the e-mails came to her name instead of mine. In fact, the Internet manager called me to say that he got the information and the loan was approved and we set up a time for her to come down and have a test drive. He warned me that I’d be getting some automated e-mails from their contact management software. That was an understatement!
Between the automated e-mails, robot calls and letters from the dealership, manufacturer, captive finance company and three different service providers, we have been contacted over 20 times in just two weeks.
The worst are the robot calls that start with, “We have an important recorded message from…” and then on comes a loud voice that tells me that they appreciate my business. The first robot call warned me that a second one would be coming in a few days from their parts and service department. I tried to ignore the second one, but the re-dialer was relentless and late at night, so I finally picked it up and listened to it.
Of course since I was the contact number for the deal, I’m getting all of these e-mails, letters and phone calls. I’m thankful because both my daughter and her children are asleep by then. My favorite e-mail was a coupon for a free gift if we would come down and test drive a new vehicle. I clicked on the opt-out link and discovered that the e-mail came from their DMS contact management system and after my daughter had agreed to buy the vehicle. When I checked the dealership’s website a few days later, the vehicle she bought was still listed and incorrectly. It didn’t include the option package that I knew was on it. In fact we thought the dealership would have to dealer trade to get the vehicle she wanted, but surprisingly they had many with that option package. The Internet manager agreed that the website was pretty messed up. We had almost traveled to the “big city” to get a better selection, but I really like to buy locally. This poor technology might be costing the dealership sales each month.
What is the difference between a response and a reaction? A reaction is when you actually do something (act) when a customer contacts you. For example, the Internet manager called me. He also sent me an e-mail addressed to me with the information that I had requested. Both of these are great reactions.
I’m not saying that you need to get rid of all of your auto responders, but someone needs to make a list of everything that is going out to your customers. This list should include everything from your dealership, manufacturer and service provider and once the list is done, listen and read the content. I have a feeling that much of this was set up and purchased long ago and nobody is paying attention…except your customers – and not in a good way.
Fortunately, we like the dealership and the Internet manager so much that we’ll do business with them again – in spite of their technology.