Subject: AutoNation

It was a very nice Monday morning, I remember stepping outside the door and thinking: What a beautiful sky, today is going to be a great day! I have made a habit of treating Mondays as a special day, most times I feel as if the outcome of the day will the determine the outcome of that week. Three days before I had made an appointment for my car to be serviced at the dealership, the usual oil change, tire rotation, inspection, etc.

I dropped my car off at 7:15 AM and stayed at the lobby were I worked all morning on my laptop. My decision on staying was based on the tech who received the car, he told me it would be ready in 3 hours.

11:00 AM — I was so wrapped in my work that I decided to wait for the tech to call me, but after an hour had passed from my pickup time ,I walked to the service area to see if they were done. The tech informed me of a series of issues that would take more time, so I went back and continued working.

2:00 PM — After having a sandwich at the cafeteria, I headed back to the service area. They told me that the car was done, but they had found a part that needed to be changed. The cost for the part was too much of what I was willing to pay at the moment, they still charged me for a diagnostic I never ordered. “Your car will be ready soon Luis, I will let you know” the tech said, and so I head back to the lobby.

4:00 PM— After a conference meeting from work (3–4 PM) I went back, my car was nowhere to be found. Another tech had moved it so far that none of the people who knew I was there waiting could find it, I was told to go to the cashier so I could pay while they looked for my car.

4:25 PM — After a grueling 25 min standing in a line of disgruntled customers, listening to complains about service, excuses from the clerk, observing to the most minimal detail of the customer waiting area, my decision of never going back to this place had already being made. When my turn came to pay, the clerk gave me the same excuses she gave to the customers before me, even though I never complained.

4:35 PM — As I was waiting outside for my car to be brought over, I observed something which made me write this post. A customer who must have been in her 70’s with her son were also waiting. In a very polite way she was telling her son how dissatisfied she was with the service, her car was brought at 9AM and she was still waiting. When her car came, they drove away and the tech who brought the car started talking with two other techs. They were making fun of them, “Who does she think she is the f#@! Queen of England?” One of they said, I had to walk ways before saying something to them.

4:45 PM — As I drove away I was thinking on what a horrible experience it was. I tried to think of ways that the process could be smoother by using better technology, apps, whatever. But the fundamental flaw was human, human incompetence and a complete disregard for the customer experience.
In my observations I noticed a much disorganized crew, how can you lose a minivan? Lack of proper training in basic customer service skills, and last but not least, a very uncomfortable customer waiting area, for a company so big, this is unacceptable. It is as if selling is all they care about, the lobby where I stayed working (not the service area) is meant for customers who are buying, so the experience is somewhat different. The area were customers wait for the car to be serviced reminded me to an old government office, like the DMV or such.

At the end, we live in America so we can always go to another place, and as for me, next time I will. In an age of disruptive business models, car dealerships have it coming to them!