I have a SEAT Ateca.
It’s not the most fashionable car in the world, but I’ve had it for a few years, and it’s served me well.
SEATs come with a three-year warranty, which I’ve been keen to keep it alive, so I’ve headed to the local dealer each year for the service.
And I’d have kept going indefinitely, but the events of the last couple of months have changed all that.
I turned up for my service, waited in the queue and started observing the goings on at the front desk.
What was clear straight away was the distinction between the sales staff and the service staff – there were several sales guys standing around doing nothing and one harassed looking service staff member, running around like a headless chicken.
One of the serene looking salesmen make the mistake of approaching me and asking if he could help.
I explained what I was there for, and he responded:
“Oh sorry, I can’t help – I’m sales”
After uttering those words, he moved onto the next person, also in the service queue, asking the same question and giving the same response.
That was when I lost it:
“Why are you asking if you can help? It is quite obvious we are waiting for the service desk. You obviously can’t help in any meaningful way and are just trying to look “helpful”. Why aren’t there more people on the service desk?”
Rather than apologising for the wait, offering a free coffee or turning on the TV to distract me, his reply was,
“Well, you have to understand, it’s a Saturday…”
Things escalated a tad from there, and I got a little louder, so much so that the dealership manager took over, proving himself no more useful, and again appealing that I must understand that it’s a Saturday.
And that’s the error, right there: I don’t have to understand it.
I don’t have to understand your staffing issues, your rota problems, your unwillingness to pay another hourly wage to shorten the customer line rather than increasing your profits.
Since that incident I have had to – unfortunately – replace the cambelt and water pump, get two new tyres, and have an MOT. About £1000. Not a penny of which the local SEAT dealer has seen enter their coffers.
Are you trying to make your customers to see things from your perspective, or are you looking at your business through their eyes?