Two similar things happened today that have led me to write this post. This morning, about 9:40 am, I found a car I wanted to inquire about at the Carmax site. They have a handy, giant, green button that says “Send Us an Email”, so I did. I got a response back that said “Carmax is closed, but we will contact you on our next business day. Our business hours are 9-9 Mon-Sat, and 11-7 Sun. During these hours, we will respond within 60 minutes.”
Hmm… that’s a head-scratcher. It’s after 9:00 am, yet I got this message. About 30 minutes later, a salesperson called. Since the email said they opened at 9:00, I had decided to test drive a car after attending the Social Media Club KC breakfast Friday morning, so the timing was just perfect. However, the salesman said they don’t open till 11:00, that they only open at 9:00 on Saturday. Huh? Essentially, the auto-response email couldn’t be more wrong! Fortunately for Carmax, I’m already a fan. I have purchased several cars there over the years, and have faith that I’m getting both a good deal and a good car there, so this little snafu didn’t exactly turn me off, but what if I were a first-time customer??? Quite a different story, and not a good one, because now Carmax looks totally inept, when I know them to be quite solid as a business (at least in my dealings so far.) They just need to fix the message in this email and eliminate any inconsistency.
Then I discovered this most excellent web video program, called “Help! My Business Sucks!” In Episode #24, Andrew Lock describes a similar problem with 24-Hour Fitness. He wanted to become a member at a strange hour, and assumed their company name stood for round-the-clock service and access. Listen to his tale…
Isn’t that a fun program? I intend to tune in again, because I learned stuff beyond the customer experience story that will come in handy. I can’t wait to watch some more episodes.
Bottom line, these tiny infractions, errors, inconsistencies or whatever can add up to one big cold shoulder in a prospective customer. Don’t take the risk. Make sure your promises, marketing materials, company tagline, business name, motto, slogan, posted hours, etc. are 100% accurate and complete, and that you stand by them rain or shine. Err on the side of truth in advertising and customer service, and you will stand apart from your competitors and other businesses. Ultimately this will result in more buyers and profits, and more happy fans spreading the word about you and your awesome business!