When Your View is From the Inside

02-2015-vw-gti-lt-1Time and time again you’ll hear a critical word from an insider. You’ll be at a party and hear a server in the food industry discussing poor service, or a nurse recounting a sad hospital experience for a loved one they didn’t serve themselves. Everyone has a story to tell, and today you get mine.

Mine isn’t a rant about how absolutely sub-standard the experience was… rather its a commentary on what opportunities were lost. The idea that I teach an entire network of Powersports service professionals, over three countries, gives me an insight many Service Managers would love. It was time for our 20,000 mile service at the local Volkswagen dealer. I made the appointment online for Tuesday at 10:30am and arrived promptly at 10:30.

This particular service drive is not very clearly marked as there are multiple doors in and out of the building, but none that clearly identify the route for service customers. As me and my son stood patiently in the entrance area – it gave me a chance to take in the other client’s confusion. Finally, a service receptionist from the Cashier Cage spotted us and asked if we had an appointment. As she was attempting to help us, people that came in after us got to the service writers first. The best strategy for service here is to paste a look of confusion on your face and pace in a slow circle.

Soon our Service Writer had written us up and asked for a signature for the service. I then asked – is this covered by VW or is this customer pay? It was then I received a $285.00 estimate but no explanation of service, or value built into the quote.

My family and I went about our day. At about 2:45PM I received a voicemail stating plainly that my GTI was ready for pick up. Here’s the sad part:

  • Absolutely no planning was put into the reception so no relationship was built
  • With no relationship and value built into the estimate, my trust is vacant
  • I know there are “issues” with my VDub… for instance:
    • I plugged the right front tire 3 times
    • The car is dirty
    • My storage may in the cargo area is crushed
    • I have no bike rack but mentioned mountain biking to my son at drop off

If I ran that shop, disclosing the work to be performed and building the value would be at the top of the list. If the writer had built a relationship, he would have had zero hesitation to recommend 4 new tires, alignment, detail service (I am in Northern California with a drought), a new cargo shelf, and recommended a bike rack to match everyone else’s Volkswagen in Santa Cruz. I figure that’s about $1200.00 in lost sales revenue for the Service Department as well as my potential future business.

If they didn’t at least recommend the tires as a safety issue, how can I be certain they did the rest of the service that I paid RETAIL for? Those that know me, know that RETAIL is a dirty word… so I expect the best of service if the price is … gulp.. retail.