Lost customer service opportunities: Case study

How Volkswagen missed the boat and what you can learn from it.

Lets talk about opportunities, or better yet MISSED opportunities. But first some background: My husband owns a 2014 Passat TDI. After we moved to California he took it to the Volkswagen dealership to have the tires rotated and balanced after our long drive to Cali from Colorado (along with other normal maintenance). Well the dealership ended up over tightening the wheel bolts so much that it has been impossible to remove. Sadly we were in his car in 100 degree weather with our toddler (and I was pregnant) when he got a flat that could not be fixed by my husband OR roadside assistance. We had to tow the car back to our home and my very handy husband fortunately got the flat off after stripping an expensive tool he uses for work (he works on spaceships people).

At this point he knew that the dealership had messed up. He took the car back two times to have the locks for the wheels removed and the bolts loosened but the dealership was not able to do the job and kept passing it back to him. Finally he brought the car in a third time and told them not to call him until they fix the mistake they made. He also asked for a replacement car to use while they figure out how to remove these bolts. The dealership ended up renting him a Nissan Versa.

Here is a look at the cars…

The model and color of my husbands car. Very nice car with leather interior, great gas mileage and lots of power.
The base model. Pretty much the cheapest most uncomfortable car you can rent for a guy who is used to driving a passat and who has to drive 1 hour each way to work each day.

Here is where the dealership got it all wrong. First of all, the dealership is in the wrong. They caused all the issues with my husbands car and it is their responsibility to fix those issues. What they should have done was from the get go fix the problem. My husband should never have had to go back three times finally demanding they take care of the problem they caused.

Secondly they should have given him not only a replacement car that is comparative to his own but they should have given him a Volkswagen similar or better and a newer model. Why you ask? It really has less to do with it all being their fault and more to do with the idea of keeping a customer long term. If you put a customer in one of your dealership’s cars that are newer and perhaps nicer the customer will not only feel more appreciated but they will also get to see what it is like to roll in one of your newer or nicer makes and models. This will encourage a repeat customer. People like my husband like to buy new cars every couple of years. This simple fix may have got him excited about a newer model or a higher priced ticket item. But no. Instead they cheaped out on a rental that was not only the cheapest car they could find, it was not even the same company as their own.

So they missed a lot of opportunities here.

1. They caused an issue that my husband had to repeatedly ask to have fixed. They should have just fixed it from the first request.

2. They cheaped out making my husband feel frustrated and unappreciated as a customer. (Who honestly does not even have to go to the dealership to have work done as he owns the car anyway and can go anywhere to get it maintained).

3. Missed the opportunity to surprise and delight a customer that could be a repeat customer for years to come.

And lastly 4. I will be in the market for a new lease or car purchase this summer as my lease is up. I was considering a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. I am no longer interested.

Moral and something to think about: How are you taking customer service issues and turning them into opportunities? OR are you missing the boat like Volkswagen did here?

Every customer service complaint or issue is an opportunity. You can not only create happier and more loyal customers you can also create upsell opportunities and new customers. Taking the time to help a customer and perhaps spending a little bit of extra money to fix an issue (especially when you are at fault) can go a long way for your company’s bottom line.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.