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Old 10-19-2013, 03:12 PM   #1
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Your Dealer is NOT General Motors

When you mess up at work, who gets the blame? It isn't the CEO. It isn't the shareholders. It's you.

When your dealer messes up—they lie about product, they sell you something unnecessary, their mechanics don't know how to fix things—it isn't the fault of a corporate office in Detroit. It isn't some anonymous executive at the end of an email or a customer service representative on some forum or phone line. It is your idiot local dealer.

Dealers are small businesses. Each dealer is either an independently owned store or a franchise of some company. I'm going to use a prominent dealer here on Camaro5 as an example. Rodgers Chevrolet, home of our beloved BeckyD, is not GM. Their awesome customer service is not Chevrolet. It is a bunch of people coming together and having customer service as a priority. Let me give you another one, Tom Henry. This is another business here on Camaro5 that does a great job taking care of customer. GM is happy to see this, but GM isn't to thank for it. It is the small business owners and employees who take pride in their products and services who deserve your business and gratitude.

Stop rewarding bad dealers with your business. You're going to leave with a car, an oil change, or some other maintenance, and it's not going to cost you much more or less to go to a better dealership. I know that some of you live a long way from a great dealer. Take an extra day off work and travel to buy your car. It's worth it to help that one dealer in your area recognize that bad service doesn't pay. If they keep making money, why should they change their ways? GM doesn't have a compelling say in how they run.

Stop blaming GM for your bad decisions. When you know your local dealer is an idiot, why do you blame GM for your bad decision to go there? You've probably been there before. You've probably had a previous bad experience. Suddenly, it's new and amazing that you have a problem with them and you feel the need to post the following nonsense: "GM customer service has gone downhill" or "GM doesn't care about customers." It isn't GM's fault that you made a bad decision. Go out of your way to find a reliable dealer. It's worth knowing that you aren't going to have chronic problems with the quality of service you receive.

The law prohibits GM from selling cars directly. I'm confident that they would love to directly control the way sales reps behave and the quality of service that every mechanic provides. Unfortunately, that's not possible, and GM has to trust local dealers to act on their behalf. That trust is almost constantly broken by the occasional idiot dealer, and they keep getting business from lazy clients who don't bother to drive a few miles down the road to the next dealer.

I understand that some of you don't have local dealers, or you have to drive really far for that one terrible dealer. Drive even farther for your purchase, and when you do maintenance raise hell every time you go. It sucks being the victim of a monopoly, so you can help by giving them hell every time you make the trip. Demand to speak to the service manager to make sure your car is handled right. Make them pay each and every time for bad service with reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Better Business Bureau, and everywhere else that you can rate a dealer as doing a terrible job. Complain to GM, but remember that it isn't GM who failed to fix your car. They'll learn to fear you eventually, and then they'll treat you right. It isn't some guy in an office who has to listen to your call. It's an entirely different company. It's your local dealer. Let's keep the blame where it belongs.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #3

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This should be a sticky that every new member should have to read. Nice job!
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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Thank you! I agree, this should be a sticky.
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Old 10-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #5
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This is a life changing post! Good job.
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #6
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People who work underneath you represent you at all levels. That's how it works in responsible organizations.

It doesn't matter if you work in GE, Boeing, the military, McDonald's (or insert franchise), when you don that work uniform, to others, you represent that brand whether you like it or not. If issues arise, usually someone within customer service steps in and helps take care of the problem. Why should GM be any different?

I agree that a local dealer doesn't represent the whole organization, just a part (they do have the brand plastered all over it). However, when that part fails and all GM CS does is refer you back to the dealer, what is one supposed to believe of that organization? What if you don't have another dealer nearby or if the next dealer is also poorly run? Is it your fault for buying the car? What if this was your first Chevy or you bought it out-of-state from a great dealer and now you have a bad one (all C5 scenarios).

In my own case, I went to a couple of dealers, called CS and nobody wanted to recognize a mfg. issue, and more importantly, fix it. As a customer, it's amazing how difficult it is to contact your local GM representative or area manager who can usually address issues more directly. Taking care of your customers is so simple in retaining and regaining future sales that I don't understand this logic. A $400 fix on a $30K+ car is nothing. My GM exhaust was twice that.

It's not non-sense to complain here or elsewhere. It is non-sense that one has to resort to it to get anywhere while looking to regain marketshare. If a GM CS member is reading this, my problem was never taken care of. You can still change my mind as a customer.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:16 PM   #7

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While that is a decent post, I think that GM does have a play in how dealers run given the fact that they are franchisee's of GM. I would almost guarantee you that if GM said you guys suck shape up or we are yanking your franchise/agreement it would send a message.

I don't necessarily see this happening.

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Old 11-13-2013, 08:43 AM   #8
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No we are not General Motors. There are some dumb dumbs here even at my store both in service and sales. I try to help as many people from this forum as I can in the Houston area.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:51 PM   #9

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I like the way Audi does it. Your rating of the dealer translates into the compensation they receive. Whether you're buying the car or getting service you'll be asked to complete a survey and the results are read and rated by Audi directly and affect the dealer's earnings and rewards.

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Old 11-30-2013, 12:50 AM   #10
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While most of your post is great advice on how to get dealerships to treat you, I see things a shade different in some of the points you made, Mr. Blur. While it's true that GM dealers are franchisees of the GM brand, they still represent the face of GM that the customer first sees. And first impressions as they say...

So I submit to you that anyone "ranting" about crappy GM service should be evaluated on a case by case basis. Sure, there's troll-ish people that complain about EVERYTHING, but I've also read a lot of stories of escalation above the dealer level that seemingly fell on deaf ears, if what was described was accurate.

Just like all these other franchises, such as Wendy's, Verizon Wireless stores, etc., they are, for all intents and purposes, part of the entire corporation and are one and the same from most customer's point of view. If there's a problem, customers DO NOT CARE (let me repeat, DO NOT CARE) if the franchise is independent or a corporate-run store or if you're bound by law to interface through a dealership. They come to you to solve their issue in a reasonable manner, and if you do not, it will not be good for the franchise or the company.

They remember, for better or worse, the big sign with the brand logo at the front of the franchise. Is GM proud to allow bad dealerships to fly their colors? Why does quality service need to be a crapshoot? Unfortunately, MOST of the time it's the bad actors that get the most attention and are remembered the most.

Not saying GM does this, but any company who tries to deflect issues by saying "but they're independently owned businesses and we have no control over them" is akin to throwing up your hands and saying that "Sure, my kid threw a rock through your window, but hey, he's an independent thinker. What can I do?" No need to explain that further.

They may not have legal control, but they CAN influence dealers to improve. That's why I fill out surveys HONESTLY. This bunk of asking customers to check the completely satisfied crap is just that. If you do what you're supposed to the first time, there's never a need to ask. It actually makes me feel like the dealerships think I'm too dumb to fill out a survey on my own. And that sure doesn't make points with me. You'll get your completely satisfied check marks if you've earned them. And I'm pretty sure the dealerships know the questions on the exam already. Would you expect any teacher in high school or college to just give you an "A" because you asked for one after turning in sub-standard work? If you have to ask, then you probably didn't earn it.

On the flip side, I also think GM should be able to take part of the accolades for those dealerships that are doing it right. While the lion's share DOES belong to the dealership, GM provides training and marketing materials, protocols, and other tools for dealerships to do a good job. And those are the dealerships that GM and the customer love to deal with.

By your accounts, to get a dealer with great service every time, you'd be down to about 12 dealers in the country. Sometimes you get a crappy experience, but some customers may think it's a one-time occurrence and believe in second chances. Now, if you've got hosed twice in a row from the same dealer and you go back again, then you may just like being treated like dirt and you may have to start questioning yourself as to why you would want to put up with that treatment. I don't know. But if GM knows about the franchisee's lackluster customer service from customer feedback and does nothing, then they condone it, and are complicit by proxy, and therefore own it. I don't think GM or any other company worth their salt would just let bad service slide if they're aware.

Unfair as it may seem, the dealership is the customer face of GM. Many of us here get the real story and know how it works, and don't blame GM directly for crappy dealership service. But there's some that believe it as one company from their salesman all the way up to the GM boardroom.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #11
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I had more problems with "GM" than I did with the dealership that did the shoddy work. GM as a corp needs to take a proactive role in a rewarding experience. Your dealer is the beginning of everyones GM interaction. If a dealer is deemed not good enough to do warranty repairs then take them off the list. GM customer shouldn't be on their own when there is a problem. This whole idea just makes me feel the corp as a whole is passing the buck. GM should pull the franchise of any dealership that puts GM in a bad light. Not just the ones that sell the most cars.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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To those of you concerned with the way GM handles customer affairs, I assure you that they are listening. It takes time to fix rough dealer relations. I'm sure GM has contracts and policies that need to change in order to weed out bad business partners. As customers, it is our responsibility to buy from people and businesses we trust. If we do not trust a business, we should not do business with them.

Dealers are the face of GM, but dealers are not GM.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:09 PM   #13
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I think they (GM) know what they are doing, they've only been doing it for about a century. Just like any other relationship, if there is a lack of communication, it will result in failure.

In that regard and to what el ess A has said, look at the leaps and bound in quality since the 70's and more so in the last decade since the Asian invasion. I think that GM is #1 in quality for a reason, because it's all about bringing 'em back.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #14
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The corporate GM resolution was completely the worst experience I have have had. The facts are if you go in to have a warranty repair and it is botched 4 times then GM should figure the mess out and make it right. I should not have had to resort the a small claims suit to get the problem solved. GM has ZERO customer service. I love my camaro but, if I had not put 13k in mods on my car I would have lemon law my car over a paint issue. These are the facts not in question. GM told me its between me and the dealer that did the repair. The rep then hung up on me. So as much as I want a C7 vette my next car will be a used 997 911 turbo or a new alfa 4c. Even verizon treats its customers better and that is very sad.
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