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February 18, 2013

Customer Service at a car dealership?

by wheatr

Today’s discussion about customer service at car dealerships reminded me of an experience I had last month. Surprisingly, despite all we discussed today about dealerships not actually prioritizing the customer experience, I was actually delighted with my experience at Flow Audi. Maybe J.D. Powers was in town…

Right before returning to Charlottesville in January I realized that I needed to get my car inspected by the end of the month. I bought my car last year so I knew I could get a free inspection at my local dealership in Richmond. However, when I called them I was told they could not fit me in for a week, by which time I would already be back in Charlottesville. Bummed that I would not get the benefits I paid for in my car’s service package, I returned to Charlottesville and figured I would take care of it somewhere nearby.

I called the local dealership and had the opposite experience. Rather then being put on hold, my call was answered right away and I was told I could bring my car in literally any time, any day. Pleasantly surprised, I told her I would be in on Friday.

I showed up a bit early for my appointment but that was not problem. I handed over my key and was offered snacks and beverages in the waiting room. After about an hour I got a bit impatient and went to the desk to ask how much longer I would need to wait. Before I even reached the counter, the service manager was apologizing that my car had been held up as they topped off the fluids and washed it so he just needed to do the paperwork. Then, he asked if I needed a receipt and when I said no he said, “nevermind, you can just go then.” Kind of confused, I said I needed to pay and he just said, “don’t worry about it!”

Having been slightly annoyed at the wait, I was very pleased with the dealership’s service recovery. With a free inspection, fluid change, and car wash, I felt more than compensated for my extra wait. Despite the horror stories we discussed today, Flow Audi was successful in creating a positive customer experience and I will likely return there for future car service needs.

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