One of the real tests of a brand’s reputation comes post purchase.
With cars, the service experience is a critical influencer of brand perception, customer loyalty and retention.
For many auto brands this can be extremely hard to manage. Local dealers are often franchised and somewhat disconnected from HQ. Even the premium Europeans have their challenges. Some dealers clearly get it, and others let the brand down.
A case in point is a recent experience I had with my Mercedes.
The German marque prides itself on “the best or nothing”. So very German!
It’s a big promise to live up to, and Mercedes mostly does. From products to their people and the ownership experience they set and achieve very high standards.
However, when it comes to servicing, not all of their service centres are on brand.
I recently went to my local Mercedes to fix an issue with an annoying noise coming from the dashboard. The booking was relatively easy to make, the service advisor was friendly, the chauffeur service and the coffee was great. However, after having the car for several days they didn’t fix the problem.
Instead, they hand-balled me a body a specialist body repairer. After he inspected the car, he said it was clearly something the dealer should’ve fixed. He then told me my local dealer keeps sending cars to him they can’t be bothered to fix!
The panel beater referred me another service centre, Mercedes Waverley.
Despite being across town, Mercedes Waverley were happy to help. I was swiftly booked in and they gave me a free hire car. They found and fixed the issue straight away and were shocked by the experience at my local Mercedes dealer. They also saw this as an opportunity to gain a customer. I walked away with a bag of Mercedes goodies and I’m now on their mailing list!
Mercedes Waverley not only fixed my issue, they restored my trust in Mercedes and potentially saved me from abandoning the brand.
This is just one example but an important reminder for all brands to always deliver a great service experience. You are only as good as your weakest link!
I now drive 30 minutes to service my car, past several other Mercedes dealers. I’ve also recommended Mercedes Waverley to several people not just for servicing but to buy a new car. When it comes time to upgrade, they will also be first on my list.
As for my local Mercedes dealer, I drive by them virtually every day but that’s about it!
Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences and drive your business growth. Michael has extensive experience working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.