I often visit automotive dealers during my free time and mystery shop organizations to understand their operations and to observe staff at their workplace.

Particular attention is paid to how service advisors interact with customers and manage the customer experience moments; and that the customers are getting good customer service from the staff all the time.

Claims for great customer service is often advertised by companies themselves, but a troubling trend with customers today is that many feel like companies are not committed enough to “walk the talk”. Many are hard-pressed to make it a mantra to deliver a customer service that is fun, fast and memorable. The result is only 4% of customers who trust advertising of any customer satisfaction hype or awards bestowed on them.

Honestly, if you come across a company with strong reputation for customer support and one which strives passionately to make it a strategic differentiator and I would like to put them on my list of interesting places to visit the next time.


Consumers today take to the internet and other social medium to voice out and amplify their concerns. News not only travels fast but the damage done if even slower to recover. However the other side of the coin presents opportunities for companies to build a strong service culture which is not easily duplicated and have consumers multiply their individual experience many times more.

When you consider the statistics that 40% of customers who shopped with a COMPETITOR, because they heard about the other company’s good customer service, reputation for great customer is invaluable. Enhanced revenue can be generated when you start appreciating that every “moment’ counts, especially with the trend in contribution margins reducing from the sales of new and used cars.

What it really comes down to at the end of the day is a single interaction between the service advisor and the customer at the dealership. People like Syed Eskandaryan of HZN Cars in Glenmarie, who make that difference.

Syed 33 years of age and is a Service Advisor at a Honda Dealer in Glenmarie.

When most customer contact staff would normally “bury” themselves at their work stations, seem frazzled in carrying out their daily chose and avoid meeting customers, Syed is calm and composed. When many Service Advisors would avoid making “eye-contact” with their customer, Syed seems aware of the happenings around him and scouts foropportunities to strike a conversation with visitors to his dealership.

Syed was mindful of my presence in the reception area at HZN dealership at 11 am one working day. In between serving up to 15 customers per day, he enquired if I was being served or needed any assistance. I lied that I was meeting a friend who was coming to test drive a car and our conversation slowly lingered towards the various options available on the new Accord during our brief encounter.

Not wanting to alert him of the real purpose of my visit, he even handed me his business card before I left and advised me to pass it on to my friend when he needed help after purchasing his new car.

Now, let me tell you that this was one of the rear positive experiences I had encountered in a long time and was stricken proud that the company had even printed the mobile telephone number and individual email address for each employee on the employee’s business card. I say this because surprisingly, many Service Managers themselves do not state their mobile contact numbers, nor offer their contact details for fear of being inconvenienced outside their normal working hours.


I called Syed on a Sunday to introduce myself and explain the real reason for my visit. Yes, he did answer the call. I thanked him for being genuine, engaging and a proud advocate for his company and brand. I also asked him if he could email me a copy of his photo the following week which he reluctantly agreed but was not forthcoming and I ended up making a second visit to meet and photograph him. We’ve heard the famous saying that people will forgive what you did, forget what you said but will never forget how you made them feel. Syed made me feel good and warranted me sharing this story.

So where does the problem lie with poor customer service, many have asked? The responsibility for nurturing any company-centric culture and values lies at all levels of management starting with the top echelons. The biggest single factor that de-motivates the employees is to see leaders not able to lead by example and “value-violators” not given the opportunity to improve themselves.

In that critical first moment that we meet, last impressions are made. Customers are increasingly going to enjoy doing business with people like Syed. Organizations who support such individuals will reap the most benefit.

With many losers in the game of lottery, when you are lucky enough to be attended to by an advisor like Syed, you end up a winner! Who knows what being nice may just lead you to?

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Our Principal Consultant

dev b

Devindran draws upon his vast 24 years Motor industry experience and exposure to different brands. As Managing Director and Principal Consultant of his company, Devindran has the passion and knack for turning Dealerships fixed operations into profitable, performance oriented and a sustainable business pillar through his own style and approach to life.