The Power of a Phone Call

The Power of a Phone Call

My wife’s car broke down last week and needed to go into a main dealer for diagnostics and repair. I dropped the car off this Monday and received and update Monday afternoon to let me know the work the main dealer had carried out. I was told the car was still not running right and they needed to make some more combustion tests, would need to keep my vehicle and would get back to me the next day. All was good up to this point.

Tuesday I received no update so in the afternoon I phoned up to be told that my car needed more diagnostic tests and would I authorise them. Now to say I was not happy is an understatement. I had assumed they would just get on with the tests and update me. However, the reality was that the car had been sat there from 8 am until 2.30pm with nothing having been done.  Just before the end of their working day I phoned up for an update regarding the diagnostics I had authorised to be told the service manager was with a customer and he would phone me back. Suffice to say no phone call. Customer service 0/10!.  MY tense levels 8/10.

Today I phone up at 9 am for an update. I was updated about the work I was already aware they had completed. However, I was also told that they were struggling to identify the problem and had made contact with their technical department.  When they had an update they would get back to me. How did this make me feel?

Actually, I was pleased. It was not what I was hoping to hear but it was honest and demonstrated they were getting on with it. It showed honesty and integrity. Yesterday, I had gleaned that all was not well which had meant the absence of the phone call from the service manager played upon my mind regarding the worse case cost scenarios for the car.

This afternoon I received a detailed update which identified the problem and the cost to date assuming no other faults were found. The news was not particularly great from a wallet point of view but the phone call gave me the information and answers I needed and a proposed timescale for the job. We agreed that if the work was not done the technician I was speaking with would contact me Thursday at 4 pm.

So what is my point?

The point is keep your customers updated. Even ‘bad’ news is better than no news. Open and honest conversations can help to maintain business relationships even when the news is not great. Providing no updates or expecting customers to keep phoning up to chase for information only creates tension. If you don’t know say you do not know. Share what you do know and agree what you can do and when.

Providing honest and timely updates keeps everyone in the loop and can prevent mole hills turning into mountains.