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Car Dealership Customer Service Tips

Jul 19, 2008
Maybe you're dissatisfied with your new car, or maybe with the dealership that sold it to you. Whatever it is, you're left unhappy with your recent experience buying a car, and feel like the customer service you received was below par. Yet despite your efforts, you can't seem to make your voice heard and get your problems resolved. Here's how to get the best service possible from your local car dealership.

Even if you left previously with a negative experience, your local dealer is still the best person to work with to resolve your complaint. Local dealerships are interested in creating loyal lifetime customers, and they know the best way to do that is by making you happy. A dealership can spend a fortune on advertising trying to attract customers, but statistics show that good customer service is by far the best way to keep them.

Make your dealer want to help you by showing them you're a good customer. Dealerships are a business just like any other, and they want to know that the benefits of helping you solve your problem outweigh the costs to them - especially if the costs are financial. The main benefit your dealer is looking for is your business again in the future. The best way to get your local dealer to cooperate with you is to show you're a good current customer who is likely to be a good customer again later.

The best way to show you're a good customer is to be nice. Restrain the urge to shout or swear - a smile might not feel as satisfying now, but it will get you further. Staff that resent you probably aren't going to be too helpful towards you. Make an effort to get along with the dealership employees - they're probably as frustrated with the problem and eager to get it resolved as you are. Get what you want by giving the staff a reason to want to help you!

While being pleasant will help you get what you want from your local dealer, working with the dealership's General Manager (GM) will help you just as much. GM's have the full backing of the manufacturer and they have the power to do just about anything to solve a customer service complaint. Keep in mind that many dealership general managers are powerful enough to get senior manufacturer sales executives on the phone at any time - they're absolutely capable of getting the manufacturer to do something for you. They are also usually experienced professionals that know how to help. Make sure you ask to speak with the GM when you have a customer service problem.

In the (rare but possible) event that the GM is unable to resolve your problem, call the manufacturer's customer service hotline. The number will be in your owner's manual. You may also want to call the manufacturer's local regional office. They will likely simply send you back to the national hotline, but may give you a chance to speak with a regional executive. Perseverance is vital in getting yourself heard.

So, to summarize, if you have a new car customer service problem, your local dealer is your starting point. Make sure to ask to speak with the general manager, and to be nice to everyone you speak with. If the local dealer doesn't get it done, try working with the manufacturer's national hotline. Finally, call your manufacturer's regional office. As long as you're persistent and pleasant, you'll get the best possible customer service.
About the Author
Author Jason Lancaster, a car industry veteran, developed AccurateAutoAdvice.com. You'll find accurate auto advice and car buying tips.
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