An article from our Cultural Intelligence newsletter…
In the article below, Steve writes about his latest experiences across multiple car dealerships – and what he learned!
I’ve recently purchased a new car – and learned lots in the process about aspects to culture and service that I hadn’t expected to learn!
When I first began looking for a car, I thought I’d be better off purchasing a demonstrator model. My rationale was that these were pretty much new, but were discounted price-wise because they are not defined as ‘new’. I was also favouring a lighter coloured car thinking this was less likely to show dirt.
I settled on purchasing a Mercedes and visited most dealerships in and around Melbourne in Australia. One Saturday morning I visited a dealership where they had a model with everything I was after, other than the fact it wasn’t a light colour – it was dark blue. I had booked a time to meet with the salesman named Luke to view the demonstrator. Luke seemed to me to be a really nice young man who had a gentle and quiet demeanour.
After we’d exchanged pleasantries, Luke let me know the car was on the lot outside. As I approached the car, I immediately noticed the car was dirty. As I wiped the dirt off the bonnet with my finger, I said to Luke that maybe he’d done me a favour in helping convince me that dark blue was NOT the colour I should go for – as this was the very reason I was reluctant to choose this colour.
Later that day, I received a text from Luke. It read (literally) as follows:
Hi Steve, Thank you for your time today, apologise if the vehicle wasn’t up to your standard of cleanliness, our detailers don’t work on Saturday, I am happy to have it cleaned up for a second presentation if need be, Any questions or queries please do not hesitate.
Now this text teaches us a two key things about the culture and service commitment of this enterprise.
First, Luke apologises for the vehicle not being up to MY standard of cleanliness. He doesn’t reference the dealerships standards but rather focuses on mine (this reminds me of a vehicle purchase of a new Lexus I made a number of years back. When I picked the car up, there was visible dust on the dashboard AND the petrol tank was only half full. When I gave feedback to the dealership, the salesman apologised and said ‘I’m really sorry Steve – you came across as a really relaxed sort of guy’. Wow!)
Second, and this is what I found more surprising – which day would you guess is the busiest for a car dealership? I don’t know the facts, but I’d guess that Saturdays would be up there. So on the day this dealership has probably more people through its doors than any other day, they choose NOT to have their detailers in to clean their cars. This is a real insight into the leadership at this dealership.
And the footnote? I didn’t purchase that vehicle! But I now have a brand new (not a demonstrator) car in the garage 🙂
Steve Simpson is an international speaker, author and consultant who works with companies across the globe to help them understand and strategically improve their corporate culture www.steve-simpson.com. Professional Speakers Australia recently bestowed the Australian Educator of the Year Award to Steve