I wonder about institutions or the people in them. Do individual people create the ethos of an institution or is it the other way around?
I’m thinking about this in relation to the dealership where I bought my car almost 2 years ago. On the day of the sell and for about two months afterward, I felt like that institution really valued my business. When I had a question about the interworkings of this fully electric vehicle, I would send an e-mail to a specialist and he would answer my inquiry quickly and expertly.
The problems began when I started taking my car in for service. That valued customer feeling began to wane quickly. The service advisors as they call them seemed to be glued to their computers as if by their own effort they were servicing everyone’s vehicle with a mouse and the power of their concentration on the screen. After they would call me to pick up my car, it would take another hour before they could see me once I arrived. Looking around the dealership, I began to see that turnover was high. Those that took the jobs were functional yet indifferent to me as the customer.
While you wait, there is a cafe staffed by two of the sweetest women this side of Church street. Their service could almost make up for the service advisors’ nonchalance. “Can I get you a beverage and a snack?” they ask. I smile, accept, and drum my fingers while flipping through my cell phone to read an article or send a frustrated text message.
Recently, I contacted them to set up a complimentary rental. When I bought my fully electric car, my sales person told me I could rent a car from the dealership twice a year for a road trip. The receptionist promised she would have the two sales managers call me about this. I called back in an hour and was told they were looking into it and would get back with me. I know they will not call me back. I will not call back either.
The answer to my question is both. An institution sets an ethos and the people reinforce it (or not). Sometimes one person can make a difference. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will occur at this place. In short, if you are thinking about a BMW, pass Nalley BMW in Atlanta by if you want good customer service.