The Power of Listening and Responding

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
I've written before about my experiences as a Nissan customer, most of which have been positive. However, I recently had a less-than-stellar experience with Nissan that I'd also like to share, one that ultimately had a favorable outcome.

I've written before about my experiences as a Nissan customer, most of which have been positive. However, I recently had a less-than-stellar experience with Nissan that I'd also like to share, one that ultimately had a favorable outcome.A couple of months ago, I made plans to bring my Nissan Sentra to a local dealership for an oil change. When I called the service desk to make an appointment, I was told that an appointment wasn't needed. So I brought my car to the dealership 15 minutes after it opened on this particular day.

After I arrived, I was informed that there was another car ahead of mine and that my car would be serviced in about 20 minutes. That certainly seemed reasonable to me as I left for the Wi-Fi area. Twenty minutes passed. Then 40 minutes. I noticed that my car remained in the same spot where I'd parked it when I arrived. It's not as if this dealership only services one car at a time - they have multiple bays and mechanics.

The service manager came into the waiting room to apologize for the delay, insisting the car would be taken in shortly. However, the car wasn't brought in for another half hour. By the time the car was finally serviced, 2 hours had elapsed.

Normally, I wouldn't make a big deal out of this. Like most people, I've waited longer for car service in the past. Much longer. What I found aggravating is that from the time I called the service desk throughout the two hours I was at the dealership, I'd been led to believe that the car would be serviced quickly. As a customer, I would have appreciated it if someone in the service department had been candid with me from the start and informed me that it might take a while before the car could be worked on. At least this way I could set my expectations and plan accordingly.

As with previous appointments at this dealership, I received an online survey to fill out regarding my experience. I completed the survey, indicating my frustration with having to wait so long for an oil change and clicked the submit button. Fast-forward to last week.

I had to bring the car back in for the final oil change and tire rotation that's offered under the service deal included in the agreement. Once again, I showed up to the dealership a few minutes after it had opened without an appointment. And, once again, I was informed that another car was ahead of mine for service.

However, this time, my car was serviced within an hour. After the service was completed, one of the service agents came in to apologize for the "long wait" which didn't seem terribly long to me. Still, I appreciated that she said this to me. The agent then handed me a coupon for a free car wash for the inconvenience.

I'll never know this with any certainty, but it seemed as if the dealership was informed of my dissatisfaction with the previous service appointment and then acted on this information. When companies listen to their customers and then demonstrate that they've acted on these insights in some way, this helps to strengthen customer loyalty and lifetime value. A free car wash may not seem like much, but the gesture itself meant a lot to me.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION