The other day we came across an e-mail response from a manufacturer to a customer that had an issue with his vehicle. Yes the vehicle had just run out of warranty. It was an interesting response to say the least, and we passed it along to The Colonel to get his thoughts.
Here we go....
Q: Colonel you saw the response, and the customer was concerned.
A: Yes, I saw the response, scary stuff, seemed like whoever responded was clueless....I mean totally clueless. At the same time, not surprising at all...
Q: We got the same feeling as you...what gives.
A: You get the feeling that manufacturers have compelling offers up front in the showroom/online to move metal, then they try to save money in the back with service issues.
Q: Are you implying that if a manufacturer gives X amount as an incentive, they then try to save Y on resolving issues.
A: Possible...keep in mind that in some instances the customer interface is handled by a contractor, these folks are not employed by the manufacturer.
Q: Is it possible that some issues are frivolous.
A: Sure its possible, just like some e-mails land in a black hole and never get replied.
Q: There are always 2 sides to an issue.
A: Yes...and the more channels that need to be crossed...the more the issue might be forgotten.
Q: There are many variables to deal with...do you agree.
A: Yes...and manufacturers have a higher level of expertise than the customers in dealing with various issues. They all have an extensive database.
Q: You always hear that customers are empowered.
A: Yes customers are empowered to acquire a vehicle with extensive information, but if an issue arises during the ownership experience most customers are less empowered.
Q: Perhaps customers have no desire to discover the intricacies of how manufacturers resolve issues.
A: Exactly...which customer wants to know all the various procedures, policies, decision making process, and whatever else comes along. Besides being an opaque process...
Q: What should a customer do? Have a facilitator?
A: Precisely...the facilitator is the warranty...it enables the process to resolve issues.
Q: Are you saying that its to the advantage of the customer to always have a warranty to facilitate the interface with a manufacturer.
A: Exactly...even if it implies buying an extended warranty if the customer prefers to keep the car for a longer period of time.