If a business’s professionals can’t provide the red carpet treatment – or any help at all – what is the point of spending money on technology and marketing?

I don’t’ understand.

Why does a business spend enormous sums of money to stay on the cutting edge of technology, marketing, and systems like CRMs etc., but then make it virtually impossible to do business with them?

There is a local Chevrolet dealership that has a reputation for continuously spending money to keep their facilities updated with state-of-the-art equipment, from computers and software to the solar panels on the roof. Yet it is well known that it is very difficult to buy anything from them. A friend of mine who was looking for a new truck told me that he was planning to buy from this dealership. Knowing their reputation from others who tried to work with them and having had personal experience, I told my friend what he should expect.

My friend went anyway. He arrived, parked, looked at some of the trucks on the lot, and found one he wanted to look at, but no one was around to help him. While standing next to the truck, he used his cell phone to call the dealership. Before talking to anyone, a recording informed him that “this call may be monitored for quality and training purposes.” When he reached the receptionist he asked her to send out a salesperson to help him. The receptionist told him, “We don’t do that here. You have to come into the showroom.” And then, she hung up. He called back and again asked the receptionist politely, to please send someone out so he didn’t have to walk all the way to the building and back. She hung up. He called back again, but this time, he told her what he thought about their service and the dealership, got in his truck and drove off to a different dealership where he bought a brand new truck.  Who stopped the sale? This dealership has excellent products, facilities, location, technology, and marketing, yet it’s difficult to buy a vehicle from them even when you fully intend to. Are they training their people or putting money into technology?

I don’t understand. This business has the technology to monitor calls for training purposes but it doesn’t use it. They consistently mistreat customers. Why would any dealership or business employ someone as the customers’ first point of contact who won’t do their job and find someone to help the customer?

Why do businesses invest thousands of dollars to get ahead in every aspect of technology – their infrastructure  and business systems, their website, Internet marketing, CRMs, BDCs, email and social media marketing – to drive business into their stores,  but fail to invest in educating their people on how to take care of customers. If a business’s professionals can’t provide the red carpet treatment – or any help at all – what is the point of spending money on technology and marketing? Technology doesn’t sell products; people do.

In the case of the Chevrolet dealership example, part of the problem is that customer satisfaction is measured only after a vehicle is delivered, so you have no idea how many customers are actually lost and for what reason. One of the biggest complaints from customers is the lengthy and exasperating negotiation process associated with buying a car. Yet, the majority of customers are lost long before the negotiations start, and not because they couldn’t find the right vehicle. Without an accurate traffic count – a count of every person who enters the dealership – management will never know how many potential customers they had and how many were lost because no one would help them. Most salespeople are not interested in listening to the customer, to finding out their needs, wants, and desires in a vehicle. Essentially, they tell customers, “This is how we sell cars. These are the cars we want to push today. Do it our way or leave.” Salespeople – and management – need to learn to work from the customer’s perspective. They should adopt the attitude that tells customers “we do business your way.”

Opportunities for sales present themselves every single day. Every person who comes to a business, wants a product or sits with a salesperson represents an opportunity for a sale. These customers come to the business seeking expert guidance and help to first find the right product – one that matches their needs, wants and desires – and second, to buy it at the right price. No opportunity will ever come to fruition if a business doesn’t have people who are interested in and trained to work with and help customers buy products.

Isn’t it’s time businesses start focusing on customers, first, and the bells and whistle second? After all, customers don’t just wander in randomly. They do their research and make a concerted effort to come to the store; they stand in front of a salesperson ready to buy.  While technology may help bring customers in, it’s the people that keep them, and turn them into customers.

I don’t understand why we insist on investing in all this money in technology, infrastructure, and systems, yet we do not invest in our people.

About the author

Richard F. Libin

Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…

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