When it comes to Customer Service, my opinion is first impressions count.
Recently I visited a Training company, their offices are based on a retail park that has two/three main car dealerships. Upon leaving the offices I decided to look around one of the dealerships used car sales. I parked up, put my coat on and went for a walk round. I have always thought about owning a 4×4 style vehicle (don’t ask me why….). After a couple of minutes a Salesman came out and asked if I was OK. I introduced myself and asked about the car. I was expecting an introduction back and the normal handshake. NOTHING!
So intrigued by this I made up a deal that I had been offered by another dealership and could they match it (not a big difference, match a part exchange and match the price, £500 difference on a price). The salesman shook his head and said I will have to see the manager, would you come to the office. When we entered the office the Salesman went straight to the Sales Managers Office and started to relay the (made up) offer I had been given. Again I was expecting the Sales Manager to come out, formal introductions, would you like a coffee (customer coffee machine in the office) but again NOTHING!
So at this point I had given them the biggest hint I was interested, match a price offering (not beat it) and we’ll go from there. What they had done is not introduce themselves or their company, not asked me my name or details and not even shook my hand. The manager didn’t even look up to acknowledge his salesman yet alone me…IT THIS GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER?????
The Salesman came from his managers office handed me a piece of A4 paper folded in half and said come back to us if you’re not happy with your other offer. I walked from the office in absolute amazement, no handshake, no names, no one had taken my details and no one had tried to source an alternative vehicle. I unfolded the piece of paper to find a poor quality black and white print of the wrong car??????
That first impression is critical to building rapport, working relationships, personal dialogue and ultimately how both parties will move forward together. I am quite a direct down to earth sort of guy (anyone that knows me will know this), I pride myself on being a good listener, to ascertain and understand and above all polite, courteous and respectful at all times.
Regardless that they may have seen through my made up deal (but I doubt that) they had done nothing to ensure my experience was great and I would keep them in my thoughts for a future purchase. Imagine how it could potentially affect their sales if I had named them in this article? And do you think I will ever go back?
Remember first impressions do count in Customer Service.