It's Sarcastic Saturday and while you'll identify my sarcasm, this week's events, courtesy of Buick provide some solid lessons in how NOT to treat a customer. In fact, I'd have to say; they're second only to Comcast on my list of companies I'd prefer not to do business with in the future.
Here's the scenario: In January I made the decision to finally give up my eight year old Solara convertible. I loved that car, but Toyota decided to stop making it. I liked the look of the new Buicks and decided to go American for the first time in at least fifteen years.
On Monday I took the car in for an oil leak. It was small, but nonetheless, not something you'd expect out of a new car. The dealership gave me a loaner. On Friday morning I was told because it's a new model, they didn't have the part. The part was on back-order with no confirmation of when it might be in.
The dealership is terrific, and this is NOT their fault. However, I called Buick's 800 line, which was answered in the Philippines by a customer service rep who was no help. I wanted to know when the part would be available and wanted to hear there was somebody who could expedite its delivery. I also wanted to speak to somebody in Detroit not another country. He didn't sound familiar with my Buick model either!
He kept me on hold an unusually long time, claiming to establish a case number for me, then he switched me to 'Detroit" - only it was a customer service center in Texas. I asked one simple question - how can I speak with somebody in Detroit at headquarters? I was told there wasn't a way. I asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me all supervisors were on other calls, but somebody would call me back in 24-48 hours. I refused to give up and said I'd wait for the next one to get off the phone.
I finally got to a supervisor and was told there was no number for headquarters. I gave up on the phone and went after @Buick on Twitter. After two hours I got a response through a DM. I gave them my phone number and asked to please call me since the problem couldn't be explained in 140 characters. I also sent an email to their Facebook page.
They took the rest of the day and evening to answer, but last night before going to bed I got the same message from both @Buick and Buick on Facebook:
From Twitter: As our team works primarily through GM’s social media channels, I kindly advise you to call 1-800-521-7300 if you would prefer to speak with someone. I hope this information proves to be helpful. Thanks again for reaching out, and for being a Buick customer.
From Facebook: If this is an urgent matter, please call us at 1-800-521-7300. Customer Relationship Specialists are available Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 9 pm Eastern Time.
Both of them sent me right back to the team in the Philippines. "CJ" on Twitter obviously doesn't have the authority to actually talk to a customer.
So, I love finding lessons from companies we all know and using them as examples of how not to run a business.
"Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it, but what the customer gets out of it!"
And to the team at Buick - there's very little that matters if you can't service the product! You can farm out where the phone rings, but you can't farm out your responsibility to empathize with customers and resolve issues - including allowing them to talk to the right staff!
Photo Credit: © BlueSkyImages
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