Careful speaking ill of this Ford dealership
Customers hope that a car manufacturer demands nothing less than the best from their product. Safety and quality should be paramount for something you risk your life using every day. Customer do not expect, however, this same “perfection” from a survey.
Ford is unfortunately unfamiliar with how a customer survey is supposed to work. Normally, you take a survey, give your honest responses, and it is supposed to help praise those doing excellent work, or help in those areas needing improvement.
Shopper “no longer welcome” at dealership
This is not the case with a survey from Ford. The Consumerist reported receiving an email from a reader stating he was “no longer welcome” at that dealership, due to his survey responses. Seriously.
The reader, Robert, stated he submitted an honest survey after a bad experience buying a Ford truck. He explained in the comments the bad rating was due to a salesman’s poor people skills. After contacting the dealership for another potential purchase a year later, he received an email stating: “Since that survey actually cost myself and the dealership money from Ford, I will have to personally pass on your offer. I’ll go brush up on my people skills and I hope you find what you’re looking for in the future.”
Granted, in this world, there are always going to be customers who are unhappy, regardless of what you do and this should not penalize the employee. However, on the other hand, when you experience poor customer service, you should be able to let (in this case) the dealership and the company know what happened. Obviously in this case, the salesman was not fired, but rather than attempt to show he had improved his skills and was ready to try and help this customer again, he sends a snarky email back.
Some things are beyond the pale
I think this is ridiculous. You have to know, especially in sales, some customers are going to be difficult, unpleasant, and not happy with anything you do for them. Rather than squash the relationship, this salesman should have forwarded the email to his manager, stating the customer couldn’t have been too unhappy if he’s willing to come back along with a message to the customer stating he’d be happy to try this again. Selling a $40,000 truck seems a lot more lucrative than a snarky email.
With all the tools on the market to improve customer retention, it seems beyond ridiculous that Ford decided to ban this customer’s business. While we do not have all the facts, perhaps a different sales associate could have handled his case, one with excellent people skills; then, if the customer was still displeased, I could understand asking them to take their business elsewhere.
I cannot imagine how you learn about where your business is falling short without reviews. Blocking malicious, profanity-ridden review, I understand, but feedback on a survey card seems a bit much. Which begs the question: would you ban a customer who left a negative review?
What does this say about customer service on the whole, though? Are people purposefully leaving poor reviews as a form of revenge? If so, what measures should be in place to ensure the employee isn’t penalized for a disgruntled customer?