I wanted to be sure to show another perspective from yesterday’s post – the dealer that we used to love – and why. Be clear – I am talking about the sales and service departments at “branded” or more accurately referred to as “franchised” auto dealers.
We bought not one, not 2 cars from the same Chrysler dealer in the next town over. That dealer was Stockburger. We also used to go there for service. Not just through warranty period, but even after the warranty expired. Why? Two reasons; there are probably more, but let’s stick with these: Customer Service and Fair Market Pricing.
So, of course Customer Service was one of them. It was the most important of the two. They were large enough to accommodate schedule requests, they were open on the weekend for service hours and they offered shuttle service. They also small enough to know who I was and they would – like Vince McGlynn* – be honest with me.
If I heard a noise in my car, they would listen to me, then listen to the car and they would FIND that noise and fix it. They didn’t fix something that wasn’t broken and they would tell me when it could wait or when it had to be done, right now. (Take the baby for a walk to Starbucks and we’ll see you in an hour.)
Fair Market Pricing was the other. They were not more expensive than the other local shops. They were a big dealer, but they didn’t act like a BIG DEAL. They didn’t charge more just because they “thought” they could. If they had, we probably wouldn’t have stayed with them. Even after they tragically lost their franchise due to the financial crisis that Chrysler went through in the latter part of the last decade, they stayed as active in the local community as they could, but a lot of their customers went to the big dealer down the road. (I just couldn’t do that. It wasn’t the same. The policies were different. The pricing – even in a more moderate community demographic – was higher. The scheduling more complicated.) While Stockburger had to become smaller they are still a big part of the local business community. Plus, they still would be a big dealer if the financial world hadn’t come crashing down on all of us.
Even keeping that in mind, because funding does play into this; there are always ways to grow and be bigger – to become “the dealer” while staying focused on the small things, like being a part of the community, treating customers with service (using common sense) and being fair in your pricing. It isn’t easy. But, it can be done. You just have to want to be the way you were, only better as you get bigger.
~ Dawn aka Hat Girl
*(Note: Vince hadn’t moved his repair shop to our little boro yet…but when he did we couldn’t avoid the even more convenient location after the dealership closed and Stockburger’s repairs moved into one of their other service locations.)