We all know, that “things happen”… or in many cases “shit happens”. My question for today, is how do we handle these things when they do happen?? Perfect example. I’m in the automotive retail market. Our website is not controlled by me, but a third party that we pay to do numerous things for us online. For about the last three weeks, ALL of my internet prices have been horribly WRONG. And when I say wrong, I mean that I have a #nissan #titan priced on our site, and a true $8,650 loser! So, I call the company and talk to support. Then I talk to our corporate IT dept, as well as our corporate person that handles all of these multiple sites for us. I mean…. we have 43 stores. I’m sure that he has a very full plate, HOWEVER… It’s kinda a big deal to me.
Just today, I’ve had two customers that have left my showroom extremely mad, because of this issue. I go and explain, and even showed them the email where I was trying to get the problem rectified. Their response was, “Well.. That’s false advertisement and you’re gonna sell it to me for that!!”. When I reiterate the simple fact that it’s impossible for me to do that, they stand up and walk out. The real reason it bothers me, is two fold. #1, the customer feels as though I am the one lying to them or steal money from them. And #2, it’s something that I am unable to fix and is 100% out of my control. It’s rather aggravating to me to say the least. So, the question remains… How do you handle this. Can you get mad at the customer and simply say, “Well Boss, them people was just idiots that don’t understand nothing”? Do you call the company that does this part of the process for you and complain even more, only to be told that it’s a “known issue”? It’s a difficult place to be in. Part of me want’s to drive to the doorsteps of the third party company and kick the door down, and another part simply wants to quit and go home for the day. It feels as though I was defeated before the process could ever even begin.
*** THE CAR SALESMAN HAS CHANGED ***
I’ve only been doing this for about 15 years, but I can tell you that our business has changed. One of the most disturbing parts for me to realize, is that more and more people think that every person working at a car lot is simply there to “screw them”. The sad reality of all of this, is now is probably the point and time in my career that I have to 100% make certain that I am open and honest with my customers. You see, when I first started… No one had Car Fax, NADA, KBB, Black Book, and all of the other tools to use easily. NOW… every single customer has it in the palm of their hand! Even my own father (78 years old), has a smart phone that he carries in his chest pocket of his freshly pressed white short sleeved dress shirt. Each and every customer has probably spent on average a minimum of 45 minutes online studying and doing research. Our customers ARE educated… So, why on earth would a dealer choose to try and NOT be honest. However…. the more honest we are, the more the customers think we are trying to “pull the wool over their eyes”. I’ve literally opened up my invoice book, taken the original factory invoice out to a customer, showed them that as well as how the holdback money is figured, AND the final pay from the manufacturers as well. I’ve offered them ALL of those things, and they still get the rebates….. This point the dealer makes NO MONEY except for the $499 DOC fee, and the customer looks at me and says, “oh yeah… you all have two invoices. The real one, and the one you show customers”. I mean, Really??
I know this has been rather long, and more of a rant about my day today… but even at the end…. the question remains. What to do…. How to act, and/or react…. And how to keep pressing the reset button on yourself every morning, getting up at 5:30am after going to bed at 11:30pm, looking in the mirror and sayin, “Today’s gonna be a good day”. So PLEASE… I wanna know. What do YOU do, when “shit happens”???