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Can the teacher learn from the pupil?

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If you’re like me, you’ve attended your share of seminars on good customer service. And if I asked you what auto company is most often credited with “raising the bar” for customer service expectations you’d probably answer – Lexus. “Learn from the Lexus example” we’ve been told many times. 

Well, times have apparently changed and, perhaps, the teacher could learn from the pupil these days. I’m referring to a case in Tampa where a lady recently purchased a new Lexus 470 SUV loaded with everything, including a pull-down DVD player for passengers in the back seats to watch. It’s an attractive option for buyers with young kids. 

Alas, one day her 3-year-old decided the DVD slot should also be good for coins, so he tried one. It didn’t play. It didn’t come back out, either. In fact, now the DVD no longer plays disk or coin! So, off to the Lexus dealer where she’d purchased the car less than a year ago to get that “raise the bar” service she expected. What she got was anything but!

After trying to peer into the DVD player but unable to see the coin, and after a lot of probing into the player without success, the service manager told her there was nothing they could do for her. “That’s a factory installed special option and we don’t service those things,” she was told. “What do you mean you don’t service these,” she asked? “We just don’t deal with them,” was the reply.

“OK. How about replacing the unit? What would that cost,” she asked. The answer was $5,000! “Wait a minute,” she said, “the DVD player was only a $1,500 option. Now you’re telling me the cost to replace it is $5,000?” The reply was short and the conversation ended with: “That’s right and that’s all I can do for you!”

I suppose you know where this is going, class.

Did that service manager handle the customer’s problem well? Even if he couldn’t repair it, should he have blown off the customer as he did? Was there anything more he could have done to help the situation?

In fairness, the service manager said “maybe we can find an after-market outlet that could do something.” To date, no one has called the customer (in over a week) with a recommendation or even an update. So much for “raising the bar” of service.

I’d like to believe that most good boat dealers would respond to a similar service situation with a lot more effort than a distasteful answer and a failed promise to call.

Could the service manager have called the manufacturer and discussed the situation to see if the factory was willing to help a good customer (her second Lexus in 4 years?) Failing that, could the factory have directed the service manager to someone who could have offered some assitance? Should the service manager have called the customer? Should not the Service Manager be taking time to see if he could locate a local source of service? Should the Service Manager take it upon himself to do everything possible to take care of the customer?

I know one thing – don’t give me any of this Lexus raises the bar stuff again.

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