Meeting expectations

Your have probably read about the delays in processing the checks back to the auto dealers in the cash for clunkers program. The dealers pay out the rebate money to the consumer when the consumer buys the new car under the program. Then the dealer borrows that money from their credit line until they receive it from the government. Many dealers have become highly frustrated at how long it is taking to get reimbursed. Their credit lines are being used (and credit is tough these days), and they are paying interest on the money they borrow.

We can all relate to the frustration of delays in getting what was promised. Great companies realize that the most important aspect of fixing a problem with a customer is to fix it fast. Apparently Ray Lahood, Secretary of Transportation missed that class. His response to the current delays is that all dealers will be paid. His second response, also a major faux paux when dealing with customers, is to blame the customer. He indicated that part of the problem was that the dealers had not completed the paperwork properly.

Nobody (well mostly nobody) thinks the government won’t make good on the program. That is not the issue. Tying up limited credit lines makes it tough on the dealers. Not responding promptly to the customer’s problem and blaming the customer does not help and Secretary Lahood should know better. Remember when dealing with your customers, its about fixing it fast and not blaming the customer along the way.

And then there is the surprise (at least to me). General Motors announced they would cover the rebate money for their dealers until the government came through. Since GM is going to do it with their government money anyway it seems like a way around the problem … at least for GM dealers.


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