rear1-150×150.jpg” alt=”Great customer service at the volvo dealership word of mouth marketing” width=”150″ height=”150″ />I cannot believe my luck, but I have another tale of some great word of mouth communications. I am now singing the praises of a Madison-based car dealership due to fact that this establishment greatly surpassed my expectations AND or provided great customer service….I must be on a roll!
Car dealerships, in my personal experience, are notorious for their high bills. I think many people probably feel like me to some degree – I know nothing about fixing a car, I don’t know how to check the work once it is completed (was it even done?? I don’t know!), and every time I pay my bill at the end of a visit I always have the lingering thought in the back of my mind, “am I getting ripped off?”
It’s not a great feeling.
So, it is no surprise that when I saw the “service needed” message on my car dashboard, I was not happy. Even though the indicator mentioned my car needed a (seemingly simple) replacement of a blub for the rear brake light, I was worried this could be an expensive proposition. I braced myself for the worst.
I thought about my options:
- I could find an auto supply store, get help from a clerk in figuring out the correct replacement bulb, and hope they had it in stock for me to buy on the spot. Then, I’d need to go to a service station and pay for the labor required by a technician to replace the bulb, since it is too complicated for me to do myself.
- OR, I could drive over to my local Volvo dealership and have them sell me the part (uh-oh, huge mark up) and do the work to get me on the road again (presumably more quickly) in my aging (but well-loved) wagon.
It was a tough choice – whether to (a) spend much time but likely less money to do the legwork myself (using multiple establishments to get the job done), or (b) presumably pay a premium for a one-stop, (hopefully) quick visit to the dealership.
With a fortuitous 30 minute open time window – a windfall for me, really – in the vacinity of a Volvo dealership one recent afternoon, my decision was made. I gritted my teeth and pulled into the service bay.
I was cheerfully welcomed (“No appointment, really, no problem!”). I was assured that my fix was simple and wouldn’t take much time (this turned out to be true). I was asked if I would like my car washed. (wow.)
All was going great, and I was feeling OK….but then that nervousness kicked in as I had to go to the cashier. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the bill was $80. It could be $60, or $40….not likely $20 – I simply had no clue how much I would be asked to pay.
So I was blown away when handed a bill for $4.24. Yes, you read that right. Four dollars and twenty-four cents. The dealership just charged me for the bulb – and threw in the labor for free. Wow.
So the only badside to this experience is that pricing wasn’t transparent. I didn’t ask what the cost would be ahead of time (yes, I am chicken!), and the service rep did not provide an estimate for the work. As a consultant, I ensure there are never surprises with my customers – pricing and deliverables are all clearly outlined in advance. I think all service providers should do the same. But in this case, since there was a very happy ending, I will make an exception.
And because I was expecing such an awful experience and thought I would leave the dealership with a high bill, but none of that happened (and in reality quite the opposite happened), I am talking excitedly to others about my experience. And I will continue to tell others my tale so that the benefits of positive word of mouth, resulting from exceeding customer expectations, continues. To everyone out there who is a touchpoint to a customer, take note.
Great things can happen when you make your customers very happy. It is as simple as that.