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Top ideas to tick off customers

Would you like to lose some customers? Perhaps I can help. If you’d like to watch a customer’s face turn red and smoke come from his ears, here are three surefire suggestions that will likely have him heading out the door at warp speed to the dealer down the street:

1. This is one of my favorites. Just tell the customer: “There’s nothing we can do for you.” This response is quite effective because the truth is there’s always something you can do for every customer regardless of the problem. Moreover, the customer comes in believing you can. So when you blow him off like this, you can be pretty certain you won’t see him again. On the other hand, all employees could be instructed to always find a way to help a customer, no matter what.

2. Here’s a gem that guarantees you’ll see the customer’s back. Tell him: “Your problem is the manufacturer’s fault.” Now, I recognize this can often be true in our industry. Sadly, I know many dealers that have had to do a lot of extra work getting a boat ready for sale because the builder clearly failed to do the job right in the first place. That said, however, remember the customer gave you his money. He has no relationship or connection to the builder. You are the only one he expects to solve his problem.

3. Ever had this happen to you? You go to a store to get a problem resolved, the employee behind the counter says they can’t change anything for you and then utters those four fighting words: “Sorry, that’s our policy.” Remember feeling challenged? Cut off? Ready to attack? To the customer, such a statement is tantamount to saying: “We don’t care about your problem, we don’t want to hear about it anymore and that’s final.” I rank these the four greatest words you could use if you want to lose a customer.

Conversely, since keeping our current customers is more important than ever to the success of our dealerships, all employees should be cautioned about ever uttering any of these three big blow-offs. In fact, these three responses should literally be banned from the vocabulary of every member of the dealership team. Failing to find a way to satisfy every customer in one way or another should be the only policy these days.


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