Last week, I had the privilege of being a part of AGCO Corporation’s annual dealer meeting in Denver, Colorado. I had the chance to make presentations on the new customer service survey process we are implementing for AGCO and to talk more broadly about why customer service matters more than ever. At one point in the presentation, I asked participants to share recent personal service experiences, both positive and negative.
There were several that stood out and I want to share these with you:
- One audience member talked about the tremendously pleasant car buying experience he and his wife had at CarMax. No pressure, none of the traditional sales tactics, sales reps giving you “space” to just look, and no up-sell packages on maintenance and extended warranty. He said he has told many people and would go back again. I tend to second this gentleman’s experience as I recently experienced something similar at CarMax.
- Another man spoke about an experience his local Ford truck dealer. He lives in a very remote area and the nearest dealer is 200 miles away. His company had purchased a new truck and there was something not quite right with the front suspension. He called to make an appointment, which was successful. About 30 minutes later he received a call from their sales rep. saying he was going to be in their area on personal business. He would bring a driver with him and have him drive the truck to the dealership. His last comment to the group was “I will never buy a truck from another dealership than this one. I probably won’t be a hard price negotiator either.”
- The last example is interesting. One of the participants had just walked across the street to the Hyatt Hotel where he was staying. He decided to pick up a snack at the hotel. He was getting a cookie and a soft drink. What was interesting was the person waiting on him saw his conference tag and asked him how the conference was going. She then asked him where he was from. They engaged in a brief conversation and he left. The comment was that it was a simple interaction (buying a cookie and a soft drink). He did not expect the conversation. The conversation made what was normally a routine transaction and positively memorable experience.
I selected these three experiences to illustrate a couple of points. The CarMax service experience illustrates how a company reinvented the car buying process and made it something to be excited about as opposed to something you dread. In the second example, the salesman took the initiative to help the customer. Yes, there is some cost to pay the extra driver. It says something about the type of culture in this Ford dealership. The last example illustrates that in even what seems to be an inconsequential transaction can create a positively memorable customer service experience. Even the smallest point of contact matters in creating a great customer service experience.