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Old 21st October 2008, 17:28   #1
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Default Root Cause Analysis - Why Customers Have Bad Service Experiences With Indian Dealers

Dear all - In this thread, I have read a lot of actual cases of your bad experiences (and some good) when you visit dealers as customers for getting anything done to your cars. This makes me to start this thread on - WHY DO WE HAVE BAD EXPERIENCES WHEN WE GO FOR GETTING OUR CARS ATTENDED TO AT DEALERSHIPS? WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE AT ALL? I think a healthy debate on this will do good to everybody. The intention is to get to the ROOT CAUSE so that something good will come out of it. Also, what is it that you as a customer would want out of a dealership from the time you drive in to the time you drive out? Please feel free to post. Let's begin.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

Dear moderators - my suggestion to you is to let this thread grow by placing it in the "parked" section on page 1 of this sub-section so that everybody can see it all the time. Of course, your decision would be final and I will respect it.
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Old 21st October 2008, 17:47   #2
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A few reasons:( in my opinion and at times what I end up practising ( unfortunately ))
1. Such service providers have not yet felt the heat from the Customer. "Customer is King" - yes, but NOT yet in our country, many or most of us have this mentality of - 'just let go, what can I do about this thing that already has happened'.
How, - ever- will the service provider learn his/her lesson unless we all are able to react in unison or have a redressal system?
Their doom will come when they themselves decide to sink, not by any concerted action from the customers.

2. No one is accountable. You escalate to the manager about a bad experience, all he says is 'Sorry' - that too IF he is well mannered. You escalate to the manufacturer - how many of us have got concrete action from them?

More thoughts to come...
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:16   #3
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I think the reason for poor Customer Service is that most of the businesses still have a mentality of "Just make a Sale and get the money". They just want to make a sale and get the money out of the customer's pocket. Once that is done, they think that they have the upper hand as the customer would now come to them in case of any problem and it is upto their discretion whether to entertain that problem or not.

They take After Sales Service (***) literally as its abbreviated form.

Basically Customer Service is still in a nascent stage in India. Companies need to give their staff (Especially Sales and Management) training in the importance of Excellent CS and how the level of CS affects a current/potential customer's psyche.

Why is this training not given?
I guess even the senior managers themselves have a Chalta Hai attitude - As in as long as we are doing well, who cares about Good CS!

Behram Dikra thanks for starting this thread. I do feel it would help if its in the Parked Section.

Last edited by Brabus E V12 : 21st October 2008 at 18:35.
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:23   #4
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My observation with various service stations of Maruti, Ford and Tata is as follows.
1. The *** is generally overbooked with more vehicles than they can presumably attend to. In addition they have vehicles pending spill over from previous days. Time span they can devote to each vehicle is limited.
2. There is heavy turnover of service advisors and technicians. Invariably you have a new advisor every time you visit the ***. There is always a back up of service history on the computer but the human element diminishes.
3. The dealer makes very little at the time of Sale of the vehicle but the *** is where he rakes it in.The dealer divides the service personnel into teams shift wise and they are given special incentives if they cross certain given targets. I have always found the teams to be aggressively trying to increase their respective billing at the expense of the helpless customer.
4. The service advisor will be more eager to push on things like teflon coating, oil additives, music systems, electronic theft warnings etc as they get special incentives on the same.
However we as a customer have to more aware and try to extract the best possible service from them. Certain things help.
1. Give all your complaints and observations in writing and see that they are entered in the service job card.
2. On delivery insist on complete verification of all points noted take a test drive if required and sign the job card only on complete satisfaction.
3. If any specific task incomplete please bring to the notice of some seniors or the Workshop manager politely so that the problem is effectively resolved.
4. Even at the time of service please check if certain addons are actually required at that stage. My TASS had me going for special Engine flush and Oil additives at the 1st 1500 km service which I learnt from other Team BHP members that it was unwarranted. Please verify on the vehicle manufacturer helpline on this for further confirmation.
5. After service take time to reply to the vehicle manufacturer's call enquiring on your satisfaction of the service highlighting the problem areas if any.
6. Finally be polite, courteous but firm with all the service staff. It helps...

These findings are based on my experiences. Other friends will definitely have more to share.

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Old 21st October 2008, 18:30   #5
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I dont think we can generalise indian A.S.S as poor.

While some people have had nightmares with certain dealership, i don't rem facing any issues when we give our cars for service/repairs, be it Suzuki, Toyota or Honda.

Infact, Hubli didn't have a Honda dealership until March 2008 and all services were done either in Blore or service camps held in Hubli.


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Old 21st October 2008, 18:30   #6
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Good comments from you both but you are still not hitting the nail on the head. WHAT ARE THE ROOT CAUSES FOR THE DEALER TO FLAUNT A "CHALTA HAI" ATTITUDE?. Also dear Brabus E V12, please don't call me "uncle" you make me feel old. I am only 23, you know and I will never ever exceed 25. Let more posts come, then we will compile it into an effective "customer need database" which will be priceless information for all concerned. This should become the best thread in the history of TeamBHP. Let's see.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:49   #7
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Sorry Behram. I got you confused with another Mr Behram on TBHP. I have changed the "Uncle" to something more younger!

Sorry to be repetative - Root cause for a dealer to give bad service: They beleive once a sale is made, job done. Plus no training in Customer Service..because of which they do not understand how good/bad service affects the psyche of a customer.
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Old 21st October 2008, 18:50   #8
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Behram dude (since youre 23 )

In short :

- Itemized checklists for standard procedures (brake change, oil change, interior cleaning)
- A single person who holds the accountability for each item / item group on the list.

Ofcourse, something similar probably exists in every dealership today, but
- The lists need to be exhaustive and detailed (down to cleaning the inside of the windshield)
- It needs to be enforced!

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Old 21st October 2008, 19:00   #9
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Thanks Rehaan for mentioning my "correct" age so smilies for you - and . Your points are correct but I want to probe to ACTUAL ROOT CAUSE. Why does it happen? Let the debate continue.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 21st October 2008, 19:18   #10
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What timing for such a title. I have my GB certification test tomorrow and today, someone talks of RCA, in T-BHP of all places! lol

Ok so lets try and use the "5 whys" technique to arrive at the root cause

The Problem - Why do we have bad experiences when we are getting our cars attended at dealership?

1) Why (do we get bad service?) – Because the dealer has not emphasized the importance of customer service with his employees.

2) Why (has the dealer not emphasized the importance?) – Because the car manufacturer has not emphasized enough on the importance of Good service with his dealers.

3) Why (hasn’t the manufacturer not emphasized the importance?) – Because the Car manufacturer feels the Indian consumer is not placing any emphasis on customer service.

4) Why (do they feel so?) – Because the Indian consumer has always asked – Average kitna hai? Kitna discount milega?

5) Why (do Indian consumers ask about mileage and discounts) – Because we are cost conscious.

So did we arrive at the root cause? I think not but there is certainly a big reason why we don’t get good service. Because as a nation (and I am generalizing, so please done come back and say that you are different) we have always felt the need to go the – sasta, sundar aur tikau way. Good service always comes with a price.

That said things are changing for sure. My uncle talks of the days when Bajaj Chetak was launched decades ago. There was huge waiting period for it then. Whenever he went to the dealer and asked them when the scooter will be delivered, the lady at the front desk, scratches her hair in pure disregard, and points to a board outside the dealership, implying (still not saying a word) that the waiting list number is provided there.

Same was the case with Maruti and even something as basic as telephone.

But today, I can call a Bajaj dealer from the comforts of my home and tell them to deliver a bike to my house, without visiting the dealership even once. We have come a long way and things will change as we move on.

I however understand the above “5 whys” technique could be way off mark, cos it is usually done with a bunch of experts on the topic sitting across a table and discussing every minute point before arriving at a cause. But the above is just my opinion.

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Old 21st October 2008, 19:24   #11
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Dint someone think of the Consumer Laws in this country ? I think that's one of the main reasons as to why dealers take it so easy on themselves when someone has a problem with the dealership itself.

Bring in stringent laws into this country and see how the attitude changes. My 2 cents.
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Old 21st October 2008, 19:38   #12
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here there are various reasons for a dealer not to give a proper service(both at the showroom level and service centre level)
1.if the dealer is old/established,generally the staff knows that they will get customers because of their name/location,both at service centre and showroom.
2.Incase the dealership is new then it is not organised,they want customers,but customers are afraid/generally avoid them.a newly opened service centre may give a good service but then the staff is again new and hence may not have the knowledge of the problems.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:12   #13
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If you consider your job / dealership / business just as a means to earn money, then you will only want to close the deal. Customer Satisfaction be damned.

If you enjoy your job and your business and want to do a good job of whatever you do, then service / customer satisfaction levels will improve dramatically.

This is true for almost every sector in this country. The primary difference between our present culture and some other cultures is that people are not encouraged to do what they like and to do it well, right from school. They are taught to do things that will get them money, respect (often wrongly placed) etc etc. Most people lack a passion for their work. Even if they have it, its not respected at the workplace.

Since the starter of this thread wanted the Root Cause, I decided to do the digging right down to the basics. Sorry if you think its OT.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:24   #14
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IMO, the real reason for the dealer attitude is the monopoly situation. Think about it, You buy a car of any brand, and the maximum number of dealers in a big city is 3 or 4. Now in a city as big as Bombay, 3 or 4 dealers is way too little, considering the geographical spread. Smaller cities have only 1 or 2 dealers. So, where are the options?

Speaking from personal experience, I bought a Hyundai car from one dealer who subsequently closed down. Now, to go to the nearest alternative Hyundai dealer, I need to drive for 40 mins either way. So, whether I like the service or not, I'm stuck with the dealer cos I dont have any options. And the policy of most car cos is that they dont sell spares alone. So, I dont have the option of going to any ordinary garage if it involves changing any parts.

This monopoly situation brings about complacency at the dealers end. So, they have a pool of folks who've bought the cars, and who will keep returning now and then to get it repaired, so who cares about the quality of service?

Only way to change the situation is to make it mandatory to sell these spares to any dealer, and to increase the number of service centers in each city. Maruti needs to be applauded for their steps in this matter. Thats the only way to increase competition amongst service centers and thus prompt them to pull up their socks and delight customers.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:27   #15
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Behram, its good to see you so committed to start this thread and see it through.
Infact some months back Tata Motors invited agencies to find this cause. They were not sure of the reason too.

Fortunately I was a part of this exercise. It confirms things that are obvious & some dealer woes.
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