yes-no-maybeCar maintenance needs to happen. Much like home maintenance and boring business tasks, your car needs to be maintained unless you’d like to buy a new one once a year.

The dealership where I bought my car offers atrocious ongoing maintenance  services. Wait times are long, they charge me incorrectly and then call to ask for more money, they don’t return my calls. Their actions do not inspire confidence.

So, I take my routine car maintenance elsewhere. We go to a place I trust that has quick and efficient service at a reasonable cost. It’s fantastic. Honestly, they’re so great, my kids look forward to oil changes. If however, there’s an issue that needs to be fixed that’s covered under warranty, they get upset we have to go to the dealership. When even your kids know the customer service is poor, there’s a problem.

So imagine my surprise to get an email from them chastising me. The subject line of the email was “You’ve been missing. This will bring you back.” Included was a coupon for $20 off service.

While a discount is always great, it doesn’t compensate for the hours of my day spent sitting in the waiting room for a routine oil change nor the poor customer service of never returning my calls. An email telling me that I’m not doing things according to the company’s liking only sealed the deal that I won’t be returning any time soon.

A more effective tactic to win my business may have included a personal call or survey to find out why I wasn’t a regular customer. Understanding your customers as well as your weaknesses is the only way to improve customer retention. Additionally, letting your customers feel heard is a huge win for customer service.

If you’re missing your customers, what is your strategy for bringing them back in the door?

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