Local Dealer not real friendly

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Topper, Jun 4, 2003.

  1. Topper

    Topper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I am not usually one to complain. However, I was very disappointed with the service I received at my local dealer today. I own a small LCO and I am currently in the market for a small walkbehind.
    Due to the rain today I found myself with a few spare minutes so I made the most of it and went to Raleigh(about 20 miles from my house), to visit Wilson's Outdoor Equipment. Upon arriving I browsed the small showroom, and began looking at several walkbehinds. There were two men that appeared to be employees, and one other customer in the store at the time. Neither of the employees approached me so i went to the counter to seek assistance.
    At this time the one that appeared to be the boss walked past me to greet a couple walking in. The other continued to ignore my prescence from 2 feet away. A lady then came to the counter and asked if she could help. When I told her what i was looking for she said she couldnt help but one of the two men that were there could. The one at the counter never looked up or acknowledged my prescence even though he was only 2 feet away.
    I waited for a few more minutes and then left. Totally disgusted. I know I'm not a big time LCO, and I only need a small mower but to me it is a huge purchase. I wanted to find out if the offered demo's and a loaner should mine breakdown, but I had what appears to be a true view of their customer service.
    While I am sure that this is not the way you would like your potential or current customers treated I felt that you should know how you are being represented.
    I apologize for such a long post, and I wish that my first post could have been more positive.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to vent

    Topper
    A & C Lawncare
     
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258

    Topper,

    Thanks for the post.

    It is unfortunate that we all only get one chance to make a first impression. There have been many occasions where in hindsight I had wished I had put my best effort forward the first time I had dealings with an individual. Unfortuneatly I'm a slow learner and still make this same error in judgement.

    I wouldn't totally write the dealer off at this point. You may find that this was a one-time deal and may actually find dealing with them to be quite pleasant. I know a few people that can be difficult to deal with but when it comes to taking care of customers once they've built a relationship, they can't be beat. Hopefully the next time you visit them the experience will be more positive.

    Thanks

    Terry
     
  3. Topper

    Topper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thank you for your quick response and kind reply. You have reacted in a manner indicative to the good comments I have read about your company.
    Thanks
    Topper
     
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I was kind of disappointed in your reply to this customer. Exmark isn't alone in having some pretty horrible employees at dealers out there. I've experienced similar "service" at several places selling all makes. In fact, I was asked about problems by the president of one brand and wrote him back to tell him the details about one dealer whose employees also ignored my presence in the store. (I was in street clothes, not work clothes)

    I would have liked to know that Exmark corporate is going to be on the phone to these clowns and making sure that they get their act together.

    Exmark's brand name is greatly affected by how their dealers operate. I have received fantastic service during the purchase process, when dealers are making a tidy profit margin. I have not, however, been as pleased with service after the sale, when a warranty repair is required, or when I need to order parts. One dealer's bad attitude can turn off literally thousands of potential customers over a period of time.
     
  5. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258

    Bruce32,

    In simple terms yes we do care a great deal not only how our professional landscape customers but also our homeowner customers are treated by any authorized Exmark dealer. Our bread and butter has been, is now and will probably always be the commercial landscape contractor and most dealerships give them preferred service during the peak of the season.

    When it comes to dealer complaints there are several ways to handle them. If it's a case of a down machine we can generally offer our technical support, expedite parts and even arrange a loaner from time to time. These are pretty simple and easy to do and in fact we do them every day.

    On issues like Topper's I personally take a little bit of a different approach. In his case we did not have an equipment issue but more of a personal experience or personality issue. It can happen that you catch a guy a bad day for many different reasons. What I've found is that with one complaint on a given dealer you can kinda let it slide but you may need to begin asking questions and keeping your ears open for more complaints. If you get a second complaint you then must take it a little more seriously depending upon the severity of the complaint you may even take some type of action. By the time you get the 3rd strike some type of action should be taken. You see the first two still could be isolated incidents but a third in a relatively short period of time would probably be a good indication of the general behavior or attitude of a dealer or one of his or her employees.

    The key is not always replacing a dealer or getting after the dealer but instead helping the dealer to understand that his service or performance is not meeting his customers level of satisfaction.

    Each of these dealerships is independently owned and I've yet to find a dealer that plans to fail. Most of these guys don't do things incorrectly or to offend people on purpose. Most of the time they don't even know they have offended someone. Often I can simply call them, explain the situation, offer a few suggestions etc. and the problem goes away. After all their success is directly related to whether or not you want to continue doing business with them.

    Often we have the best dealer in a give area so we don’t get a very high number of these types of complaints each year. Generally we can resolve them to meet everyone’s satisfaction.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Thanks

    Terry
     
  6. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Thanks, I understand what you're saying. Exmark can't treat every isolated complaint like it's a crisis. You have to see a pattern developing. Makes sense.



    Anyway, Exmark corporate has always been very helpfull and professional, and that goes a long way in creating loyalty, but I have to say that I always get a little heartburn when I have to visit a mower dealer, and it isn't because of the prices. It's the attitude sometimes get, which is I'm either "bothering" them, or just dealing with an employee who has the social skills of Jody Foster in the movie "Nell". I think it might pay for Exmark to use some "secret shoppers" to go around and see how Dealers are doing. I agree the owners aren't in business to run off customers, but if they're not around themselves to supervise, they may well not know how things are.
     

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