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The Customer Service Win

February 20, 2011

Seems today on the good old interwebs, we hear of more customer service fails by the companies whose products we consume, and then need help with.  Well, earlier this week, I had the most pleasant customer service that I have encountered in months. From a financial institution even.  So today, I am giving applause to Truliant Federal Credit Union, here in Winston Salem.  It is car purchase time for the Jones house, and we needed a loan.  I have spent the last few weeks getting things maneuvered so that debt is minimal, cash flow is good, and all that, in order that this purchase can be as painless as possible.

As an aside, I hate shopping for cars.  I love the research, and the test drives, but the haggle back and forth and negotiations and all that rot drive me up the wall.  Car buying should be like buying underwear, you know what style fits, what colors you like, and most of the times, what you want is easy to find.  Plus, you know the price.  Might get lucky and catch it on sale!  Car buying should not make a person that finds no joy in the haggling want to yank his eyebrows out 3 hairs at a time.

Anyway, after looking at different dealer financing, and other bank financing (when I got a call back that is), I did some exploratory searching on Truliant’s web site.  They had an online chat option, and so I clicked and got a wonderful chat with Mayra.  Ten minutes of online chat, I had my questions answered, her extension so I could call with the rest of the information, and within 30 minutes, all was approved, even with us having not decided on which car we might get. This was Thursday.

Friday comes, and I wanted to make a change, and left a message.  Got a call back, all was handled, and I could run by a branch on Saturday and get the things I needed.  Saturday morning, I appear at a branch, and within 15 minutes have had the entire loan package explained, papers in hand, and ready for me to go shop, guaranteed financing in hand, at a rate that I know.  Done.

I have been handled like I was the only client they had.  It was wonderful.  So Mayra and Meranda, you are my customer service heroes.  Thank you.

I do believe it is not that hard to give customer service when employees charged with delivering it are given the tools and the power to solve issues, and encourage dialogue with the customer, so that trust is there if the issue has to be escalated.

It also helps for us, the consumer, to maintain a pleasant attitude.  Yes we may be upset, but use your manners.  You might just be surprised at how much faster your issue gets resolved if you are a nice person instead of an ass.

 

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2011 10:25 am

    Paul,
    Great post. As the owner of a car dealership, it is always fascinating for me to “get inside the mind” of car shoppers. Please allow me to share a couple of observations:

    I couldn’t agree more with your statement about maintaining a pleasant attitiude. I know it’s tough for consumers to view car dealership employees as “real people”. Some of them have a terrible reputation (and for good reason). In reality though, most are decent people that spend 60
    hours per week in all types of extreme weather conditions getting verbally abused by car shoppers. Believe me when I say that it takes an emotional toll.

    A little advice that you forgot to share is to remember that honesty goes both ways. I can’t speak for other dealerships but my sales team HATES “the game” as much if not more than the car shoppers do. From my experience, the game starts with the consumer 9 times out of 10…not the salesperson. If you’ve got $1000 down, say so up front. If you’ve got nothing, say so. If you’ve got bad credit, say so. If you make an appointment over the phone, keep it. I can’t tell you how many folks make appointments, don’t keep them, show up an hour late and then curses my employees out because they have to wait. See where I’m going with this?

    In closing, I also applaud Truliant. The car loan services are incredibly efficient and the customer service is superb. I simply ask car shoppers to understand that everyone has a different financial/credit situation and possibly not to expect the “over the phone” pre-approval that you received. At my store, an 800 credit score can get pre-approved in less than 15 minutes with rates as low as 2.9%. While a 550 or less could take a couple of days. It’s all relative to the persons particular situation.

    The best to you and keep up the good work!

    • February 20, 2011 3:25 pm

      Thanks for the comment Tracy!

      I agree that it starts with proper training, of both the Customer and Company. If both are honest and straight forward, and understand limits, life is somewhat simpler!

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