Nonaligned Expectations At The Lexus Dealership

Highland Park Lexus

So I’m at the Lexus dealership in Highland Park on Saturday afternoon deciding which magazine contains the most compelling articles to help me pass the time. As I’m getting comfortable waiting for my wife’s car to be serviced, I see an argument ensue at the service counter. I immediately realize this misunderstanding and argument is more interesting than who the Oakland Raiders or Buffalo Bills will draft in the 2014 NFL draft.

Yelp.com

Yelp.com

From what I can gather, a woman has brought her Lexus into the dealer in the hopes of washing away all the grit and salt accumulated from the winter driving conditions. You see, the dealer promises free car washes to anyone who purchases a car from them. She’s promised a car wash but it may take 45 to 60 minutes. What she apparently didn’t realize is the dealer with their current capacity and older service department is only equipped to wash one car at a time and this is done manually. I’m sure the dealer is counting the days when they can move into the new office and service department in July and where the automated car wash can clean 45 cars per hour. In the meantime, customers will have to wait a few more months with the current system.

There’s certainly a difference with expectations here. The Lexus service department clearly states that Saturday car washes on their busiest service day means those who want their car cleaned may need to wait up to an hour as they are competing with other vehicles being serviced. Of course, car washes are available most evenings with little wait time because the service department is closed. The customer’s expectation apparently does not factor in the current configuration of the service department or the service technician’s working model. She may simply think what she heard when she bought her vehicle — she can get her car wash within a few minutes as soon as she feels obliged to do so.

When we purchased our car there, I do remember the salesman say there are free car washes although I don’t remember if he said you might have to wait up to an hour to be services. Who really knows what she was told when she purchased her Lexus – I’m sure she was not aware of the service area’s limited capacity or car washes on Saturday are not a priority. If I were her, I would have called ahead of time to inquire on the wait time – not only the busiest day but the busiest time period of the week.

I’m sure in July, she’ll receive much better service from the service department whether she’s compelled to get her car washed on Saturday afternoon or Wednesday evening.

Needless to say, she did not leave happy or content with the service department’s explanation. Perhaps they could have tried to appease her to a certain extent — a few Starbuck’s gift cards or set up an appointment time so she would not have to wait more than 15-20 minutes. Even though she may not be completely right in her assertion, nonaligned expectations may require the dealer smoothing things out as much as possible.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.