Editor’s Note: Every year we look at customer service stories – both good and bad on how companies handle issues that come up in everyday business. We received this correspondence from a reader who wanted to purchase a car from Country Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram in Oxford in Pennsylvania.
The reader whose first name is Dan provided some advice to Gordon Atkisson, the president of this particular business after the president asked for feedback. (See the chain of emails) Atkisson then shot back with an email that slammed Dan for doing research on cars and even suggested that businesses should not be open on Sunday – a suggestion Dan thought might be good for the dealership. Atkisson also said Maryland car dealerships deceive customers whereas his company does not. That’s a blanket statement on all Maryland dealerships. Is that really true?
(By the way, if companies took Atkisson’s advice on closing on Sunday, we guess that the NFL might have an issue with that as well as a countless number of service industries – not to mention all the employees who would not be able to earn money on that day.)
But you be the judge on who is right here. Is this how businesses should treat a customer? Please give us your thoughts on who is right and who is wrong.
Hello From The Manager. We Value Your Opinion
I am the Manager here at Country Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram in Oxford. By now you should have been contacted by someone in our Internet or Sales Department regarding your request for information. Hopefully my team has provided you enough information to make an informed decision on your purchase.
I’d be appreciative for any feedback you might have for me to improve your car shopping experience. What specific questions or concerns can I answer for you at this moment?
Thanks for your email follow up. I find that in today’s age of technology, more things can and should be done through the internet. I realize that a part of car sales is getting the customer to come into the dealership in an effort to push along a sale. However, with all the information available from all the dealers, the information sent to customers on pricing becomes more critical as this can either bring a customer into your dealership or drive them to another dealership to seek a deal. People do not want to waste time going in to multiple dealers to see if they can get a better price. Let alone work around the horrible or lack of weekend hours that dealerships are open. With the advance of technology, dealerships should adjust their approach to be more successful. I feel that very little effort was made to offer a deal, other than to say here is the price and you can take it or leave it. There was no work with attitude like, “let’s see what offers or discounts you qualify for so we can offer you a better deal.” It was just “hey when can you come in and test drive.” I’ve test drove enough cars and quite honestly won’t test drive a car unless I intend to purchase it, which requires me to feel like I’m getting a good deal before I even drive the car. The offer that was emailed was laughable when compared to other dealers in the area when their vehicles had more options and were 2019 vs your 2018.
Hope this helps you to improve your customer service. Let me know if I can help further.
Atkisson responds shortly afterward.
You have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to the price on that Durango. You are an example of what happens when people get too much information., they get confused and make bad decisions.
I don’t know what hours you work, but, I work from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day and from 4:30 am until 5 p.m. on Saturday. I am sorry if we are closed on Sunday, but, people do need to have some semblance of a life, even though it apparently makes your shopping for a car inconvenient. If it was up to me we would go back to having every business closed on Sunday. Maybe our society would be in a better place than it is right now. Families would be spending more time together and people could raise their children and teach them common courtesy and how to interact with each other.
Buying a car is the most transparent transaction there is. Can you find the cost of a refrigerator online? Or, a pair of Nikes for that matter? No, you can’t! For your information, most salesmen make $50 selling you a new car. The dealership margins on new vehicles are slim. On some models the mark up is less than $200 for a $50,000 vehicle.
We provide a service that is very simple. We give you a price and if you like it, fine, you buy it. I don’t need to haggle and pressure people to do business with me. I don’t care how much research you do. If you don’t like the price, then you are free to go somewhere else and buy. And, make no mistake, it is not because we don’t care, it is because we give you an excellent price out of the gate because most people don’t want to waste time haggling with a dealer over $100 or $200. You mistake openness and honesty for a lack of “want to sell” attitude! It is a shame that you cannot differentiate between the two! Every dealership pays the same price for their cars and has the same incentives. The difference is on my website, I don’t not include things like destination charge and a dealer fee of several hundred dollars. I don’t include a litany of rebates that you do not qualify for just to artificially lower the price. I hope you got your new car and are happy with it, but I know for a fact that you paid more for your vehicle than you would have for that Durango or for any car on our lot!
Most people go to an average of1.5 dealers to actually look at vehicles now. Our processes are just fine thank you, but, we will not attempt to deceive anyone, as other dealers in your Maryland area do, in an effort to lure them to the dealership under false pretenses
Thank you for the input, but, we are just fine with our customer service and we will continue to do business in this way. Perhaps this is the reason we are one of only a handful of dealerships to have earned Chryslers Customer First Award for Excellence in 2017 and 2018. Apparently, someone thinks we do a pretty damned good job. Did the dealership you purchased your car from earn this award?
And, no, you cannot offer any additional insight that would help any further.
Have a nice day!
Baltimore Post-Examiner is run by a creative cadre of dedicated journalists – some who worked at the Washington Post, Baltimore Examiner and other regional and national publications. It’s the Post-Examiner because we love the play on the word “Post” but we are also hoping to answer that question: What’s next after newspapers? We see a lot of websites come and go – and many simply are not making it for various reasons. We have been a model of success since we launched in 2012 with “a little bit of everything” and we aim to continue to break that cycle of websites coming and going.