Quite some time ago, I bought my first nice car. It was used, but it was German, and I thought I was living the life of Riley. It was in immaculate condition and just barely still under warranty. I checked the owners-manual and the maintenance records and realized that there was some service overdue. Given the car was new to me, and still under warranty I took it to the dealer to have the service performed and a general once over.
I explained to the dealer my situation and they took it away. I patiently waited in the service area and finally wandered into the new car area for a look see at the new models. Very soon I was approached by an eager salesperson. I explained that I was not a buyer but just there for service. He regaled me with all the features of the new models and showed me some truly exceptional cars.
Heading back to the service department after what seemed quite long enough, I was told that my car would be ready soon and was currently in the wash bay. They handed me my invoice for zero dollars and directed me to my car. It was clean, it was dry, and the inside had been vacuumed. It smelled almost new.
I headed back home thinking this was an awesome customer experience. Then I noticed the package on the passenger seat. It was a brown cardboard box with silver ribbon and a note attached saying ‘thanks for your business’. Awkwardly, I opened it while driving to find a cookie with the car maker’s logo in icing.
That was cool! I immediately conspired to give the cookie to my wife once home. I proudly told her about my clean car and presented her the cookie. She thought I was crazy for buying the car in the first place, but the cookie helped.
The next time the car was due for service it was out of warranty, I knew it was going to cost me some money. I figured it was part of the cost of having a car like this. But, I looked forward to having a clean car and another cookie.
Service went as planned, I got the invoice, and was directed to my car. This time my car wasn’t washed, it wasn’t vacuumed, and I had just parted with hard earned cash. I got in and started back home wondering, ‘what in the world just happened?’. I soon realized there wasn’t a box, and there certainly wasn’t a cookie in my car. And that sucked because my wife was expecting one.
I had expected much more than what I received. I really didn’t feel like a customer, rather a transaction, and it didn’t have to be that way. I don’t drive performance sedans today, I’m more of a dirty truck/minivan person now, but I sure don’t do business with people that only give me a cookie the first time.
What is your customer service expectation? Are you a customer or a transaction? Would you like a cookie?