Customer Service is Important!


Treat Customers Kindly - The Alternative Will Not Benefit Anyone


I recently had a bad customer service experience that really angered me.  I'm going to share it here to show an example of WHAT NOT TO DO for any of my readers who might have a job that works with the public.

Trust me, it is in your best interests as an employee or business owner to treat customers with respect.  It has been suggested that for every poor customer experience, that customer will go and tell 10 people about his experiences... compare that to the 2 people he will tell if he has a good experience, and you can see how poor customer service can negatively impact your business. 

Bad Customer Service

It was time for my routine oil change and tire rotation.  I took my car to a chain establishment that I have used in the past (we'll call them MM - email me directly if you want the name of the company).  The man I spoke with - we'll call him "Mike" - told me my car needed a higher grade of oil.  He then proceeded to tell me that my car required extra oil, above what was advertised in their regular price.  I have had my car nearly five years and have never been told either of these things, so I was a bit skeptical.  I asked how much it would cost (Customer Tip - always ask the price up front before agreeing to any work) and he told me that instead of $21.99 I would have to pay over $85!  I have never been charged so much for an oil change so I wasn't about to start now. 

I told Mike to just give me the standard oil and I would do some research on my end as to what kind of oil I should be using and perhaps go with the higher end in the future.  This is where he went into a high pressure sales pitch on me.  I do not respond well to those.  Our conversation went something like this:

ME: "Just give me the standard service."
MIKE: "I can do that, but you really should have the high end oil."
ME: "Just give me the standard oil, please."
MIKE: "I would feel better if you would buy the premium oil.  I can do either but the premium grade is better."
ME: "Just give me the standard oil."
MIKE: "Okay, but... well... are you SURE you don't want the better oil?"
ME: "No.  Just give me the standard.  I will check with my dealer and see what they recommend I use in the future."


(This is where things got really strange.)


MIKE: (Turns mean and nasty....) "You don't have to check with your dealer.  We can check your owner's book.  It will say you need higher end oil and that is what you should buy today."
ME: I don't appreciate your tone.  Just give me the standard service.  If you don't want to do it, I can leave."
 MIKE: "No, no... but I have a question for you.  Do you use premium gasoline?"
ME: "No." (My dealer told me I didn't have to.  I trust my dealer since he deals exclusively with my brand of car.)
MIKE: "Oh, so you are just someone who doesn't take good car of your car.  Okay, I see."

At this point I asked for me key back and I left.  I do not appreciate being talked to that way.  I firmly believe Mike was trying to intimidate me because I was a woman.  Additionally, I believe he was inflating the costs in order to improve his bottom line.

The Rest Of The Story - Good Customer Service

Two doors down from the first place is one of their competitors - Midas.  I am giving them free publicity and a free link since they impressed me... it pays to be nice to bloggers!  :) Anyway, I stopped in at Midas and asked about their oil change/tire rotation specials.  I explained the situation I had just had with "MM" and how I was spoken to.  The salesman at Midas pulled some information up on the computer and explained to me that I could use several kinds of oil in my car.  While the higher end was better for it, I would not do any damage with the lower grade due to other factors (my car's age, mileage, etc.).  He explained the pros and cons so well that I decided to ask the price of the higher end service with high-end oil.  Imagine my surprise when he said it was less than $45!  Oh, and he also said my car did NOT take extra oil, as Mike had been claiming it would.  I went with that service and thanked he salesperson for having great customer service! 

I will be back to Midas.  I will never step a foot in "MM" again.  I have written to "MM's" headquarters to let them know how I was treated by one of their employees.  In addition, I am telling anyone who will listen about my shabby treatment at "MM" and my excellent treatment at Midas.  I have already had two coworkers say they, too, will be avoiding "MM" for future service and will give Midas a try when it comes time for their next service. 

The moral of the story is to be nice to your customers.  A bad attitude will get you no where in life.  In addition, it might put your job or livelihood at risk.  

Readers, what would you have done in my situation?  Should I have high tailed it out of "MM" the minute Mike started using the high pressure sales pitch?  At what point in the conversation would you have left?  Or am I over-reacting?  Would you have stayed and trusted Mike's expertise?

Speaking of cars, tune in next Wednesday for an exciting announcement!

7 comments:

Julie@Freedom48 said...

Wow.

Not only does he pressure you in trying to upsell - but he INSULTS you in saying that you don't take care of your car?!?!

Not only would I be taking my business elsewhere, but I'd also provide some (not so positive) feedback to the owner. I'm sure they'd love to hear about the crappy service their employee is providing!

Emily @ evolvingPF said...

Wow, that you went with the higher-grade oil at Midas anyway really shows how far respecting your customers and taking the time to explain your expertise (not just force it on them) goes! I think I would have stuck with the conversation with Mike as long as you did but made the same decision in the end. Way to not give in to the pressure!

krantcents said...

I think you did the right thing by voting with your feet. Most people will not do that.

Dave @ Gen Y Finances said...

That is some really bad customer service.

I had a bad customer service experience this week too! Some friends (6 of us) went to lunch. We had a waitress that was terrible. She called one my friends a "loser". Also, we told her we would like separate checks before we ordered and she sarcastically said "awesome." Needless to say, she didn't get a very good tip from anyone!

WorkSaveLive said...

Wow is right!

I despise salesmen and their attempts to upsell. It's extremely frustrating and you only walk away feeling like you got sold.

I realize they have a job to do but it doesn't do anybody any good...sure they may make a few extra sales here-and-there but is it really worth losing a customer?

I love great service and that's where I go. It's so important to have a mechanic you can trust and you feel isn't "selling" you on what really doesn't need to be repaired. We've battled this recently: I used to go to a family-friend that was a mechanic and I NEVER had problems with him. he was simply amazing. Unfortunately I moved and his shop is now 45 minutes away from my house.

Considering the distance I've looked for the past 2 years to find somebody I can trust and I've never been able to find a mechanic that does a good job and also tells me what I really NEED to fix and what I don't. Needless to say, I've come to the conclusion that I'll be driving the 45 minutes to get my car fixed. .
.
Trust and great service wins every single time.

MyCanadianFinances said...

Wow, I cannot believe that an employee, especially at a place that upsells would become this way with a client. Normally they will be nice, even though they are trying to cheat you.

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