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Responding to an Auto GM Email

derrickwoolfson

Getting Refreshed
Sep 10, 2014
77
24
8
First Name
Derrick
The BDC at our store came under fire today for having responded to a customer's inquiry. The customer inquired about a vehicle asking "What is your best sale price." The consultant, of course, never answered the question or emailed the customer. A week went by.

We have emails that go out on the 3rd & 6th day one from the GSM the other from the GM. The purpose of these auto emails is to ensure we do not let opportunities (such as this one) through the cracks.

The customer responded to the GM email saying "I have asked a simple question and neither your manager or consultant will answer me."

As the BDC, we answered the customer. Now - what I want your guys feedback on is how I responded to the customer.

I replied to the email to the GM as if I were the GM. Reason being is because I felt that introducing a 4th person to mix was confusing, and unnecessary.

As the GM I said "I am sorry that we felt short in offering excellent customer service. I expect better than that. We can match the price on the same vehicle of which we have available."

Now, before I said that I asked the GM to review this lead. Not touting the fact that neither the manager or consultant answered the lead. The GM said I could match the price. Needless to say, the customer ended up coming in this past Saturday and purchasing.

But this morning I got ripped apart. One for giving a price. Two for answering the email as the GM (bet we are not the only store to do so), and 3 for not giving the lead back to the manager that did not answer the lead or get them into the store?

Are we a terrible BDC? As of 9AM we no longer can answer leads.
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
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My personal thoughts...

This is a great learning lesson for you and soon will be for them as well! Sounds like there's alot of Politic's thats going on there at the Dealership. Always, Always, always have an email thread and copy as many ppl as necessary. The question on responding to the lead as the GM should have been brought up to the GM (not just asking for a price match) via email and you should have stated the manager's and sales rep's actions leading up to that point in the email. It needs to be brought light that they dropped the ball. Sad part is, you picked up the ball, ran with it and scored and your the one who's getting penalized simply because they failed at their job!!

My 2 cent!
 
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Reactions: John Washam

Mitch Gallant

Refresh Team
Apr 6, 2009
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Mitch
Who is it, specifically that is ripping you? When you asked the GM to review the lead did you also consult with him that you would be representing him in communications? Is that the source of the issue? Did you ignore dealership policy, because it's dated and you don't agree with it?

The question "Are we a terrible BDC?" get's answered with a YES from your store right now. Hopefully we can help you uncover a way to change that to a "we're an amazing BDC and everyone believes it!"

I get that sick feeling thinking about these situations...
 

derrickwoolfson

Getting Refreshed
Sep 10, 2014
77
24
8
First Name
Derrick
The GM knew I did it - he was in my office as I was starting to reply. And it is a common practice (been here for 5 years) to email as the person who sent the 'orig' email to keep the confusion to a minimum.
The GSM had a fit because it was said that the email made him look terrible and that he was degraded. To which I said, you did not answer the customer. Having ignored him for a week. And all that was said in the email "from the gm" was "sorry - we fell short of offering excellent customer service. I expect better than that."
We should expect better than ignoring a customer for over a week. It is a control issue. Each new manager has their own way of doing things. If I wasted all of my time playing the politics game about whose feelings would get hurt in answering and reassuring the customer - the customer would have been ignored another week!
The love/hate relationship is up and down with the BDC. One month it is awesome. The next it is terrible. Depends on the mood of management.
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
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Rick
@derrickwoolfson It sounds like your going to have to be more formal with the communications. Hind sight is always 20/20. Ask yourself, what you would do different to stay out of another situation like this one. Me personally, I've ran into similar issues before. My answer to that question and what has worked well for me is to send an email and cc everyone on the email and ask the boss how would he like you to proceed?? That way your just the messenger and heat is off of you brother!!!
 

derrickwoolfson

Getting Refreshed
Sep 10, 2014
77
24
8
First Name
Derrick
@derrickwoolfson It sounds like your going to have to be more formal with the communications. Hind sight is always 20/20. Ask yourself, what you would do different to stay out of another situation like this one. Me personally, I've ran into similar issues before. My answer to that question and what has worked well for me is to send an email and cc everyone on the email and ask the boss how would he like you to proceed?? That way your just the messenger and heat is off of you brother!!!
I could not agree more. And that was exactly what I did - if anything, one of the many reasons I love this forum is because there are so many other BDC's tucked away in closets or the service department. Dealing with the very same issues. So it is refreshing on so many levels to know that we are not the only ones fighting the fight in the trenches :) - next time, I will CC the email, and leave a printed copy on the desk ha-ha
 

Mitch Gallant

Refresh Team
Apr 6, 2009
446
107
43
First Name
Mitch
If you have enough authority within your team I'd suggest bringing together the GM, GSM and any sales managers you deal with directly for a "15 minutes together in the boardroom" and clear the air. I use this approach at work and with my wife when I'm in the dog house... usually it wins:

"we're here to execute XYZ" and right now there's a rift. We're not working together and because of _____ and we're not going to XYZ together. I just spoke with (someone they all care about) and he gave me _____ as a suggestion. You know what, he's right and furhtermore it's my fault we're not ________. I want to do X and Y and it will get us to Z. I can't do it alone and need you to ______ because ______."

If you give it a rip make sure you take a bullet as part of the story, without "its my fault" it loses.

This might not fit your situation but I hate being in that spot and know the feeling. This sort of come together has helped me out of a few jams.
 

Chris Leslie

Sr. Refresher
Oct 28, 2012
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Chris K
For me when I am dealing with a business. I dont care who I am dealing with as long as I get either my question answered or problem solved. I could be 10 people deep and it doesnt matter to me. There is no confusion because I feel like I am dealing with the business and not so much Jane.

I am a fan of repping yourself and not pretending to be anyone else. If you come in from the side and are able to help the person where their question than its you who they are going to remember. Its always going to be a slippery slope if you are acting on someone's behalf and wouldn't suggest it at all.

People aren't as easily confused as we think they are. We all adapt and work with who ever is in front of us. So I wouldn't worry to much about that part. The biggest thing is getting in there and doing the right thing even when no one else is..
 

ryan.gerardi

Jr. Refresher
Mar 17, 2011
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Ryan
@Chris Leslie I'm with you, but that approach at Derrick's dealership may work against him.

@derrickwoolfson from what you describe there are a lot of politics there. If your goal is to be a change agent and make things better then you'll need to take some chances and fight for change, and be willing to lose your job over it. If your goal is to keep your job then learn from this experience how to avoid pissing off your managers and breaking any of your dealer's policies.

As a customer, I don't think I would do business with a dealer that took a week to respond to me. That's a red flag and shows there's confusion and disorganization. The fact that you got the customer in to purchase makes me wonder if he/she is a "price buyer" because you guaranteed to match the lowest price. Statistically these turn out to be your least desired customers.