The Automotive Industry Crisis is a Customer Service Crisis

By | May 16, 2017

“If we are not customer driven, nor will our cars be.” Henry Ford

As you read this article, I believe you will discover the real key to true greatness. The key is to be of service to others. No matter who you are, if you are breathing you are in customer service in one way or another. The concept of service has not been understood by most people. Whether you are Madonna, or Billy Graham, you are in customer service. We are all rewarded materially based on the pleasure or service we bring to others.What do all the great ones have in common? They have an attitude of being of service instead of being self-serving. They all serve their audiences or customers with impeccable excellence which resulted in them becoming great.

THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY CRISIS
We have a crisis in this country underlying the financial crisis. I believe that it is at the root of the present financial crisis. It is called the CUSTOMER SERVICE CRISIS! The word crisis in Chinese means danger yet opportunity. We definitely have lots of opportunity to improve in our nation in the area of customer service. I think it is the real financial problem we face today. I am not an economic genius, but I am a customer service expert. I am tired of watching people put band-aids on economic cancer. So I am writing a series of articles which will get to the root of the economic problem and if heeded could help turn this crisis around.

AMERICA WAS BUILT ON SERVICE, BUT TODAY WE HAVE BECOME “SELF-SERVING!”

We have a service crisis that has caused a financial crisis in everything from banking to housing, and of course, automotive.With GM, Chrysler and others bleeding, and people losing their livelihoods and retirements you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see it. Have you had any poor customer service lately? Cold food or dirty restrooms, Late deliveries, Defective parts, Unfulfilled orders, Lazy, rude staff (this is epidemic!!!)

I started out in the auto industry in the mid 70s or what we now call the good old days. I was working for the largest GM dealership in Alaska and one of the largest in the country. This was when GM was GM! I started out washing cars (or busting suds as we use to say). I eventually moved up and became a corporate trainer for the SOUTHEAST Automotive group. One thing I noticed over the years was the deterioration of customer service in the automotive industry. My first boss was a thirty year company man that was customer driven and he constantly reminded us that without a customer we would all be unemployed!

I drank the kool-aid, I believed him. But as the years passed, I noticed that the customer started to become more of a statistic on a graph in a conference room where strategies for up-selling and getting more out of each transaction at the point of sale was the goal. At the same time we were cutting back on quality and service! “Higher profits” – less service became the mantra. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe in profit. But I believe what my good friend and mentor Dr. Ken Blanchard has said about it; “Profit is the applause we get for taking care of our customers…

“If We Are Not Customer Driven, Then Our Cars Won’t Be Either!” Henry Ford