Tips when buying a new car.

Buying a new car is generally considered to be the second biggest expense that one will make in one's personal capacity after buying a house. It must be accepted then that spending this kind of money should command extreme customer service from the selling dealer. In my 37 years of managing different franchised motor car dealerships and across different countries, it has never seized to amaze me how blasé some sales people and for that sales managers too are towards customer service when dealing with a new car customer who is about to enrich their coffers when purchasing their new car. My advice to anybody considering the purchase of a new car and where customer service should be a given, would thus be:

  • At enquiry stage, if the new car salesperson does not return your calls after you have left a message – walk away from more dealings with that new car dealership.
    The reason for this advice is simple. If a new car dealer allows this sort of neglect which is to put the customer at the centre of their business and everything else comes second, it means that directly from the top down - management do not have the customer service as their modus operandi. If you are neglected at enquiry stage, just think of the problems you will encounter after you have made your purchase and you need the dealer to assist with after sales customer service.
  • The same goes for an online enquiry that you may make. If after sending an online enquiry to a new car dealers' website, and you do not receive a response within an hour or so, it means that the dealer has set up an online system to please senior management or because he has been instructed to do so. Neglect from a new car dealer to respond means that he has not put a dedicated online enquiry staff member to handle the online enquiries which then makes the whole initiative a bit of a farce and will serve as further testament that customer service is not understood by the dealer concerned.
  • When you finally get to visit the new car showroom for a test drive, make a point to observe the sales personsbehaviour with specific attention to:
  • Is he or she asking you relevant questions about the type of car that you are enquiring about before the test drive? As a sales executive he/she should be trained to offer you professional advice with your choice of new car so that you are in a position to make the final decision before any test drive in order to avoid post sale disappointment because of something that you discover after the sale that you were not aware of and should have been brought to your attention even before the test drive
  • Is he or she pushing you towards a different new car model than what you came in to look at? You chose the new car model that attracted you to this brand for reasons of your own, so if the salesman is trying to deter you from buying that new car model without offering you a logical explanation after having qualified your needs, it means that there is some kind of bonus arranged by his employer to sell the car he/she is trying to get you to buy instead of the new car model you came in to look at. This means that he/she does not have your interests at heart, instead commission and bonuses are more important to him or her rather than advising you to buy the car that suits your needs. (Case in point – I worked at a new car Dealership and witnessed a customer, a middle aged single mother take delivery of a 2.8 litre V6 luxury sedan when it was clear that her needs were to own an economical vehicle. There was a huge bonus in store for the salesperson that sold this 'gas guzzler' and sadly where he earned that bonus, the customer was left worse off than when she entered the showroom.
  • Similarly, you will have made your choice to purchase the car that you are interested in based on your personal needs which could be performance, appearance, comfort, economy, reliability or safety. The salesman's job is to qualify your needs upfront and to point out the features and benefits that relate to your needs by emphasizing these features and benefits that enhance your motivation to buy – i.e. (performance, appearance, comfort, economy, reliability or safety) If the sales person is not doing this and prefers to talk about discounting or anything else, it means that they have missed the point of doing their job effectively as an adviser and have taken the easy route of 'order taker.'


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