One of the biggest challenges in business, is to ensure that we are doing what we say we do. CabForward℠ works within our leadership team to make sure our processes and practices are in line with our marketing efforts; that we actually deliver on our claims and promises. Even though we discuss this topic constantly within our team, the reality of just how important this is really became clear to me when I saw another company, an automobile dealership, fall completely on their face this past week. I was actually embarrassed for them.
I had scheduled service for my late model sedan, using the Service Scheduling feature on their website. As a previous customer, I had already set up an account and entered information the dealership could use to expedite my visit. I selected an appointment time and date, selected my Service Adviser, who had worked with me during a previous visit, and submitted information on the problem I was experiencing. Then the site gave me a Appointment Confirmation Number, and a page to print out with details of the appointment. Pretty nice!
I thought the online experience was very good. I was pleased. I knew what to expect when I arrived, and knew that I had provided the information they needed to schedule my service, and for the system to pull up service history and other appropriate detail. When a business goes out of their way to make your experience as pleasant as possible, you tend to want to reciprocate. So, I headed to the dealership a little early on the day of my appointment, just to ensure that I wouldn’t get there late and mess up their scheduling.
I arrived about fifteen minutes early, entered the Service Entrance, and took my place in line. A greeter welcomed me, and asked how he could help. I told him that I had an appointment at the top of the hour, and who my Service Adviser is. He radioed the Adviser and said, “Your nine o’clock is here.” I noticed that the greeter didn’t seem to have a list of appointments, but didn’t think much about it at the time. After a short wait, my Service Adviser came out of the building carrying a clipboard. This is where the online scheduling really pays off. They have all the information they need from my input into their system, and had plenty of time to look up additional service history, warranties, and other details of our relationship. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
He was carrying a clipboard with empty Service Request Forms on which he entered information. He asked my name, if I had a warranty, how many miles were on the vehicle, and what problem I was experiencing . . . all information I had input into the system! He said, based on my description, that they would need to have the car for a couple of days, that he would have to go request and print out a warranty rental voucher, and excused himself to go back inside. What a let down! That should all have been done before my arrival, and shows there is an absolute disconnect between the expectations set up by their website and the way they really do business.
I had just experienced how quickly and deeply a company’s reputation can be damaged by failing to deliver on promises, whether inferred or direct. It freshened my resolve to make sure that we do what we say we do. We will revisit our customer-facing materials, documents, forms, marketing materials and website to ensure that our processes and procedures are factually what we say they are. We need to verify that we are doing what we say we do; giving our customer-partners visibility and control of their project, and that we are doing it as efficiently and transparently as possible. We don’t ever want one of our customer-partners to experience that deep disappointment of disconnection between what we claim and what we actually do.
More about CabForward℠: