The biggest gripe that customers have is being fobbed off or ignored when they have a legitimate complaint. Customers understand and know that things can go wrong but how it is handled makes all the difference. By fobbing customers off with legalese jargon or ignoring a legitimate complaint, people like me will swallow up as much time, money and resources as it takes to resolve it. Bad experiences travel much faster and further than good experiences as well via forums such as TrustPilot, Google Reviews, Glassdoor, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. This is what happens when you ignore a complaint.
I sold my scooter after riding them for about 21 years and covering hundreds of thousands of miles taking in places like the Shetland Isles, Whitby and all over the North of England.
One of the reasons I sold it is because I simply lost faith and trust in the brand after a long running dispute with the local dealership that continually ignored me regarding legitimate concerns that I raised and escalated.
This began over a £53 panel that I believe (and the law of probabilities supports) was damaged whilst it was in for a service a few months earlier. Any reputable and decent outfit would see it as an opportunity to ‘raise their game’ rather than treat a long-standing customer with contempt. However, the worst thing you can do is to ignore a customer and one who is as militant as me and runs a consumer blog on these topics.
ESCALATING A COMPLAINT
While I was killing time waiting for the buyer to collect my scooter, I chose to e-mail the manufacturer once again to summarise my experience for the benefit of the Area Manager with links to blogs for ease of reference.
This is what I wrote and it took me less than 20 minutes;
Thank you for your e-mail below, although I do not appear to have received a reply from (dealership) to date.
I have sold the scooter due to a change in circumstances, although a big part of my decision to cut my losses and draw a line under owning (manufacturer) scooters for the best part of 20 years can be attributed to my experience with Mr W alone at the (name) franchise.
By way of a brief background for the benefit of your Area Manager, the scooter was serviced in April of this year and I spotted a hairline crack on a £50 centre panel. My experience of this is summarised on my consumer blog for ease of reference;
I was forced to write a letter to resolve this (attached) that I sent by e-mail, which Mr W chose to ignore despite me requesting a response and his co-Director and Shareholder was left to deal with this and apologise twice on his behalf when I hand delivered a copy the following day.
The centre panel was duly replaced and my experience with Mr W at that time is summarised on another blog on my consumer website;
(Dealership) has 3 co-Directors and Shareholders and I received a promotional e-mail from a co-Director and Shareholder (who was not aware of my problems) soon after inviting me to test ride new scooters at the end of June. My response to this is summarised on another blog;
I had the scooter MOT’d recently and it was pointed out to me that the brakes had not been greased when it was serviced. I was recommended to get it serviced 4 months and 1,000 miles after it had been serviced by (dealership) and to have the chain and sprocket replaced. Mr W has chosen to ignore all e-mails from me from start to finish and he is the Service Manager, co-Director and Shareholder of this franchise, which is why I contacted you to escalate my concerns.
The rest is history and you know where we picked up and where we are now with Mr W being economical with the truth when explaining his version -v- my recollection of events that I have documented on my website.
What astounds me is the cavalier, ignorant and arrogant attitude displayed by Mr W who clearly does not value or appreciate lifetime customers and that it is easier to retain an existing customer than to obtain new customers for the sake of a £50 panel. My experience has cost the franchise and (manufacturer) money since the panel was replaced and I have ensured that no repeat custom follows now that I have sold the scooter and cut all ties.
I believe that (manufacturer) ought to know how customers are treated by this franchise and I am not alone in having a bad experience with Mr W, and reviews on their Facebook page is testiment to that.
(Manufacturer) will offer a variety of courses to their franchises and technicians, and perhaps you may wish to offer Mr W some suggestions on customer care courses for him to attend to improve on what is a limited and unique skills set that he has. He alone is damaging this franchise and your brand and he clearly has no regard for goodwill, loyalty, customer retention, reputational damage and the costs incurred by his cavalier and arrogant attitude and behaviour.
Bad experiences travel faster than good experiences by word of mouth and this will be reflected long term in sales and revenue.
I am happy to speak to your Area Manager direct although I work office hours (8 – 4pm).
I welcome any thoughts you may have and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
I never heard from this dealership or the Area Manager ever again. It’s fair to say that they would have avoided this dialogue which swallowed up a lot of time, money and resources if only they had done the right thing from the outset. Not only that, but they have lost a lifetime customer, repeat custom from me and from the buyer that far outweighs the cost of the panel that triggered this course of events.
If they had taken the time to engage with me, I would have happily elaborated on where they went wrong and what they can do to improve sales, profits, customer retention and loyalty. My own personal experience is not unique based on other reviews left online and it is hardly a shining example of great customer service and how to encourage customer loyalty.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore a complaint from me because I will escalate it and blow the most trivial of matters in to a nuclear event with repercussions that spread far and wide.
What are your experiences with dealerships? Do you have any bad experiences to share?