I recently took my car to Reliable Chevrolet to have my Corvette serviced for inoperable signal lights. This was the fourth time my car had this identical problem. Since my last visit to Reliable Chevrolet, my warranty had expired and you can pretty much guess what happened. Reliable Chevrolet became Unreliable Chevrolet! They weren’t thinking of me or my prior experiences. The Service Department was thinking only of the Service Department and the benefits they wanted to derive from this transaction. Never mind that I invested a lot of money for a luxury sportscar with them. There would be no special treatment. The Service Manager appeared annoyed to have to listen to my problem and was calloused in his response.
For Reliable Chevrolet it was just a matter of how they conduct business. There were no smiling faces in the service area. In fact a person with me asked the service representative if he was aware of the thousands of dollars being spent by customers for their service and couldn’t they at the least smile? His reply was, “It’s quite stressful here.” He obviously wasn’t thinking about the customer!
The experience as you can tell by now was far from memorable. I was not greeted by name. They did not lead me to a predictable experience. I had to call to find out when my car would be ready. There was no nurturing of the customer relationship. It was a rather forgettable experience.
The fact is Reliable Chevrolet lost a customer today. The sad reality is that they were totally oblivious to why their business will suffer. What could Reliable have done differently?
- They could make it easy for me to do business with them. This could be accomplished with systems and processes that engage me in the experience and perhaps reward me for loyalty and make me feel important.
- They could leverage the awareness of my interests. Because the relationship is not ongoing they have no way of targeting and measuring my interests. A scoring system could guide how they interact with me going forward.
- They could study my “online” behavior and look for clues based on my demonstrated levels of interest and engagement. How would they find these clues? By looking at what I’m reading, how long I stay on their site, where I am going on their site, what collateral I’m requesting, etc.
- They could align my buying process with the company’s selling process. This is critical for nurturing the relationship. It also creates processes for lead hand-offs and qualifications. A “tire kicker” today may be cultivated over time and become a buyer tomorrow.
- They could influence online opportunities. Because most people are not suddenly buyers, a well-choreographed series of relevant and timely messages, campaigns, and collateral are required in the awareness phase when a customer is searching for information and answers.