Car Dealer Customer Service – Part 2 of 3

So to continue yesterday’s post about my car buying experience, here is how it went with Dealer C. As promised, I will also recap what each company did right and wrong. Then, on Thursday I’m going to write about what the car dealerships can be better. Sometime within the next couple of weeks, I will likely post an interview as well.

Dealer C
So Dealer C was the final dealer. The experience was anything but pleasant. First of all, Dealer C was not a Toyota dealership. They were a Dodge dealership that happened to get one of the cars I wanted in on a trade. I found them online and called to verify the car was in stock. Like most of the companies, they were unable to tell me if the car was in stock and had to call me back. I did get a call back and the car was in stock.

As I got closer to the dealership, I called the lady I had been working with (calling her Betty). She told me that she had to leave for an hour to pick her daughter up and that I should look for Dave. We walked into the dealership and asked for Dave. About 10 minutes passed and someone who appeared to be a manager came out and asked if we had been helped. I told this guy I was looking for Dave. He picked up his phone and then saw Dave walking towards us. The manager briefly yelled at Dave, who then introduced himself. He then disappeared for another 5 minutes. Dave came back with another guy (Bob).

Bob introduced himself and I said I’d like to see the car. We walked out to the car (not close, but not far) and then he remembered he had to get the keys. Bob disappeared while we stood outside and looked at the car. He came back fairly quickly and I looked at the car. Except for a few minor exterior scratches, it was fine.

We got in the car and took it for a test drive. The dealership had a gate and their “advanced” system for opening it involved honking the horn and then someone inside would open the gate. Many more honks than I would have liked to hear later, the gate was opened and we were on the road. The test drive was fairly uneventful. There was no bragging about the car or its features – more just turn here, turn here type experience. That was fine. We took it back to the dealership and parked the car.

At this point, we were ready to talk numbers. The process was fairly drawn out and here’s how it went (in brief):

  • We sat in Dave’s little office thing. He came out with a price.
  • I counter-offered.
  • He went to his manager and came back with another offer.
  • I wanted lower.
  • He went to his manager again and came back with another number.
  • We agreed on a price.

The whole process took like 45 minutes. He started filling out the paperwork and that was time consuming. Then, the initial lady (Betty) came in and started filling out more paperwork. I gave the same information over and over again. While I was doing this, the sun was pounding in the little room and it was not too comfortable. We moved to the front of the dealership and started filling out paperwork there. No sun, but there was a gigantic (and very loud) television that was playing infomercials for a golf resort in Maryland.

More paperwork, more spelling my street name, and so on. We finished and Betty disappeared for a while. I walked around the dealership and was subjected to loud music on one side and the television on the other side. I asked a guy for a soda and he told me the snack stand was closed (it was not complicated to get one – I would have gotten it myself if I was allowed). There was no quiet place to sit. I actually spent most of the time in the cars (it was the quietest and most comfortable).

About 45 minutes passed and Betty finally came back. She introduced me to another person (Ivan) with a thick Russian accent. He gave me a whole bunch of paperwork to sign. I asked what a sheet was for and he said something along the lines of “We don’t know that your money is good.” It was the quickest part of the process (which I was thankful for) since he was prepared and actually knew what he was doing.

Once they verify the wire transfer, the car should be delivered tomorrow. They also promised to get the car detailed. I’m not too hopeful, but we’ll see.

So, what did these dealerships do right (and wrong)? Let’s see. A (+) indicates that it was positive, a (-) indicates that it was negative. Feel free to add things that I may have left off.

Dealer A:

  • Call backed promptly with stock (+)
  • Said they would provide us with a good deal and were generally welcoming (+)
  • Somewhat obnoxious sales guy (-)
  • Little to no waiting time (+)
  • Car was in relatively poor shape and sales guy couldn’t provide service records (-)

Dealer B:

  • Really obnoxious sales guy (–)
  • Lots of waiting time (-)
  • Mini argument in front of customer (-)
  • Car was in better shape and was clean. (+)
  • Sales guy could provide some sort of service record and information (+)

Dealer C:

  • Had to wait to talk to right person, and was then given to someone else (-)
  • Loud music and television (-)
  • No pushy sales reps (+)
  • No soda or drinks offered (-)
  • Slow (-)
  • No comfortable place to sit (-)

As you can see, the experiences were bad all around. It’s really unfortunate that the buying of a car should be such a miserable experience. You would think it would be fun, but it is certainly anything but fun. More on this Thursday.

3 Responses to “Car Dealer Customer Service – Part 2 of 3”

  1. Service Untitled » Verizon Customer Service Does Well! - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Apr 04, 07 at 2:48 pm

    […] I’m going to stop talking about car dealer customer service for a little while and talk about two recent Verizon experiences. […]

  2. Service Untitled » Interview with Jack Hightower - VP of Sales at CarMax - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Apr 26, 07 at 10:12 am

    […] I’ve talked more than a little bit about car dealers and customer service (post 1, 2, and 3). After having my miserable experience shopping for cars with some other companies, I decided to contact CarMax and see if they were interested in an interview. I got an interview with Jack Hightower, who is CarMax’s VP of Sales. […]

  3. Service Untitled » A Positive Experience with Toyota? - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Oct 01, 07 at 4:18 pm

    […] I have talked about how I hate car dealers before. My hate of car dealers was the subject of several of my posts around April 2007. The time also included an interview with the somewhat anti-car dealer CarMax. […]