Best for you, or best for me?

Dave Koshollek
Publish Date: 
Nov 1, 2013
By Dave Koshollek


IT SEEMS LIKE MANY of the poor customer service stories I’ve been exposed to lately could have gone off better if the customer service person just slowed down and asked himself, What’s best for this customer?

Let me give you two recent examples and then you decide: Was the outcome best for the customer or best for the customer service person?

EXAMPLE 1: OIL CHANGE WAIT - A man and his wife were attending a four-day major motorcycle event, and their bike needed an oil change. The dealership service department was swamped; the service advisor said they could do the oil change but the wait would be four to five hours. The couple checked in the bike and sat outside for the duration.

Best solution for the customer or for the service department?

EXAMPLE 2: TIRE CHANGE FIASCO - A friend of mine believes in buying tires from the dealership but prefers to remove the wheel himself so he can check over the bike and save a little labor.

Before heading to the closest dealer in town, he called to make sure they had the tire in stock. He reached the parts department first and asked whether they had a one-size-wider tire (a 140mm) in stock for his bike. The parts guy said, “I don’t know. I’ll transfer you to service.”

The service advisor seemed to be pretty green because after my friend repeated the entire request, he responded, “I have a 180mm. Will that work?” It took another few minutes to sort out the confusion before my friend found out that the dealership does not stock the tire.

My friend then called the next closest dealer, which understood the request and had the tire but could not mount it until the next day. That didn’t suit my friend’s travel plans. It was getting late in the day, so he frantically called a local independent shop which completely understood his desire to install a wider tire and had the tire in stock but would not stay late to mount it because it was 30 minutes to closing time. Frustrated, my friend gave up.

Best for the customer or best for the four customer service people at the three shops?

Was the handling of these customer requests truly best for the shops involved? Of course not.

You can imagine that the traveler needing the oil change told plenty of other riders not to use that dealership. And my tire change friend pretty much wrote off the independent shop, lost confidence in the inexperienced personnel working at the closest dealership and is now wondering what it will take to get a little extra accommodation from the second dealership that couldn’t squeeze in a measly 15-minute tire change.

That leads me back to the original question, Best for me or best for my customer? and a mantra I use when I need to make a decision under pressure: Treat all customers well and the dealership foremost. That means at every pressure point we must ask ourselves, “What’s best for the customer and best for the dealership?” (continued)