Update: I just got a phone call from the general manager Rob Satter. Rob and I talked about the events of last night and he assured me that the way I was treated (and the processes) are not what he wants for his dealership. The practices will not be tolerated. I was very much put at ease by this manager. Also, I finally got the answers I needed on the car and was invited to drive whatever I want. Whenever I want with no interaction with sales staff. That's a win folks.
As a dealership employee at a local, small town dealer, I take pride in treating our customers with respect. Not just respect for their purchase but also for their needs, wants and time. Time. That's a big one. No one wants to sit for hours upon hours at a dealership. Under any circumstances. Yesterday, I went online and connected with a woman at a local (but city located) Ford dealership. We built up a rapport over a few emails and a couple of phone calls. I felt welcomed. I felt like maybe, just maybe, I had found another dealership like mine.
Then came the switch. See, apparently, they are so large, they have a BDC (Business Development Center) which is fine. I understand the concept. Get people in the door. However, it was never disclosed to me that the "sales person" I was dealing with was, in fact, not even a sales person at all. Just a robot with a script. I asked, pointedly, if this sales person would be there when I arrived around 6:45 in the evening. I was told that yes, she would be there until 8. Fantastic.
When I called to let them know I was on the way, she was on her dinner break. No big deal. When I got there, however, I was told that she had gone home for the day (at 6) and oh by the way here's Mr. NewSalesGuy and he will take care of you! I wouldn't have minded if the person I had been dealing with (comfortably) had disclosed this prior to my arrival but I was a little miffed at the switch. Still, I pressed on. I wanted to see the ST. Drive it. Feel it in my soul.
I know all dealerships are different. All of them have their own processes. To be honest, without set guiding processes, a business like this would fail. Miserably. However, where I work, we multitask because we know the customer's time is important. We're not here to play games and we expect the same courtesy of our customers. That was not the case at this local Ford dealer. The shear number of questions they asked about my trade was staggering.
"How much did you pay for your car?"
"How much did you put down when you bought it?"
"Length of loan term?"
"Lien holder information? Account number?"
"How much do you currently owe?"
That last one I can understand. If you have a car that is worth 5K and you owe 20K, it is just not worth wasting time over. For either party. But all of these very intrusive (and unnecessary at the time) questions came before I had even seen the car I came to look at! Fine.
At that point, Mr. NewSalesGuy said that as part of the process, I had to step outside, into the cold and rain, to "sell" my car to him. Wait, what? You mean to tell me that you can't pull a VIN, look at Manheim, CARFAX and all that crap without me holding your hand? Isn't my time (and theirs) worth more than that? I could have been sitting in the car I came to look at. Checking out the technology, seats, overall look and feel while they were appraising my car. Two birds. One stone.
Once Mr. NewSalesGuy gets his information together, he then has to spend another 10-15 minutes entering it into the system in order for them to appraise my car. Again, I'm just sitting there. Doing nothing. At this point, I've been there for over an hour and haven't even seen the vehicle I inquired about. I'm out.
I approach Mr. NewSalesGuy and point out my displeasure with their "process" and that I want to leave. He no longer has my keys. No, those are in the Mr. SalesManager's possession. Mr. SalesManager comes over, keys in hand and starts explaining the "process." I, as kindly as I can at this point, explain that I no longer care about his "process" and simply want to leave. Was that enough? Nope. I had to stand there and basically be beat over the head with the "process." He went into detail about how much they gross and how big they are and how much money they rake in. Nothing about customer service scores. I can understand why. The more he spoke the more I thought "this process is simply here to wear me down."
Finally, I demand my keys. I walk out with my friend who I brought with me. She said "you didn't even get to see the car!" Yeah, I know. At that point, after being very quiet for this entire "process" she went back into the dealership. Her distaste for the fact that we came to look at a product and after over an hour, hadn't even seen it was evident. I'm sitting in the car at this point. Fuming. She comes out, I politely open the door for her (I'm a gentleman like that) and she says "they're bringing the car around." Yeah, I don't care anymore.
I had come to this dealership with a no nonsense attitude and it had seemed, at first, that they had the same attitude. Until I walked through the door. Then the games started. I don't like games. I don't like playing them. Either as the dealership personnel or the customer. No one wins. I left the dealership and will never return. After that experience, I am unlikely to ever darken the door of another Ford dealership. This make two bad experiences at two different stores. Thanks for reading.