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Old 19th February 2014, 19:47   #1
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Default Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Many of us face issues with respect to our cars that at certain points in time require escalation to have a proper resolution. You will find that some people are fairly successful at escalation while others are not that successful. The following are simple tips (you could call it Doís and Doníts) for escalations that will help you put your case forward in a manner that should help to bring about a successful resolution of your escalation.

1. The Basics:
1. Build a rapport with your ASC
2. A basic awareness of your warranty conditions so that you are aware of what you can claim and what you cannot.
3. Taking precautions as indicated in your warranty booklet to protect your warranty such as
a. Not having the car serviced outside of an authorized ASC
b. Not fixing unauthorized accessories
c. Having authorized accessories fixed by an unauthorized workshop
d. Following regular and periodic service schedules as required by
manufacturer.
2. Courtesy:
The first point to note is to be courteous always. Of course, the reason for escalating the issue is because of the frustration experienced and you are probably justified in not being courteous. But remember, the justification for not being courteous doesnít help in anyway to progress towards a successful resolution, so itís not worth it. Remember that the person you are escalating to is aware of the problem for the first time and you need to give him some time to sort out your problem and being annoyed with him isnít going to help your case.

3. Subtle Motivation
Escalation involves a subtle motivation to help resolve your case. When you escalate, you need to also motivate the people handling your case to resolve the escalation to your satisfaction. You would have had a fairly good opinion about the company / product which is why you bought the car in the first place. So mention about the good opinion that you had and the company will also try to ensure you retain that opinion and will do their best to resolve the escalation.

3. Narrate your positive experiences
When you escalate, talk about your experience with the car prior to its failure. Mention briefly about the satisfaction you have experienced so far. This motivates the company to resolve your issue. If it unfortunately fails on day one, talk about the good reviews and the reputation that the car has, which made you decide to buy the car.

4. Your loyalty as a Customer:
If you have been loyal and are a repeat customer bring it to the notice of the escalation level. Companies will always appreciate a loyal customer and will not want to lose him under most scenarios.

5. The Management
The fact that you have bought the car is because you have had some faith in the management. You would in all probability, not buy a car if you do have no confidence in the management of the company. So mention this point so that they are also motivated to help you and prove to you that they are still a good management.

6. Customer referrals
It is possible that if you are happy with your car you would recommend it to others. It is also possible that there have been quite a few of your friends who have bought the car because of your recommendation. Mention this when you escalate as companies will certainly appreciate these acts of yours.

7. Escalate only to the level that brings about a resolution:
Do not use a top down approach while escalating. For instance, donít write to the MD of the company the first time. By doing so, you lose the chance of a second / third / fourth level of escalation that would have been available to you if you used the proper levels. Usually, the fear of an escalation would prompt the junior managers to resolve your issue and you can use the higher levels if you are not satisfied.

8. Be specific about the actual issue:
Escalate issues on which it is possible for a company to take specific action to alleviate your issue. Ideally issues which will have a tangible benefit to you if there is a resolution of the escalation such as a failed component. Do not be vague about the point that you are escalating. For instance, do not escalate issues such as the sudden cancellation of your service appointment or the rude behaviour of an SA. These are not matters that would bring out a clear resolution in an escalation and is a waste of yourís and the companyís time.

9. Do not run down the company
Do not run down the company in any manner. The company needs to be of the opinion that you have faith in the company and are a loyal customer except for the reason for escalation. If you mention that you will never buy any product of the company in future you will not be motivating the company to settle your escalation in a positive manner.

10. Do not run down the management
Do not run down the management of the company. This will not help your case either. The Management needs to also feel that you have a good opinion of them except for the particular junior manager / dealer who against whom you are escalating the issue.

11. Do not use threats - imply legal steps / customer forum / press release etc:
Lastly, do not threaten the company in any manner. You have to convey the impression that you and the company are on the same side Ė you as their customer and the company working together to resolve your issue. The only extraneous point will be the dealer or the lower level manager against whom you are escalating. Legal steps, if at all, should be taken after all levels of escalation are exhausted and you do not have a satisfactory resolution of the issue. Rejection of your issue will not usually happen if you follow the tips for escalation indicated above. Check with your lawyer whether you have a water tight legal case and additionally, determine whether you have the stamina to go the long haul in a legal battle.

Happy Motoring!
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Old 19th February 2014, 20:41   #2
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Default re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Excellent points. It's important to have a 'let's solve this together' attitude, instead of a 'me vs them' one. If you see a problem, and can suggest a solution, it's usually appreciated. Here's what worked for me when it came to M&M - http://thomasnibu.blogspot.in/2013/1...-mahindra.html
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Old 19th February 2014, 23:12   #3
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Some excellent points. Ive seen some of these escalations turning into just a shouting and abuse contest.
You really need to to think it through up front what you want. Do they need to solve your issue, or do you want to get even?

If you want your problem solved adhering to a script/approach as indicated can be very effective. I specifically endorse the part about highlighting your positive experiences too. Very important, its shows you are potentially committed to the brand as it brought the value you originally wanted. Now they need to do something agai. To restore you as their brand ambassador.

Jeroen
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Old 20th February 2014, 09:48   #4
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Default re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Yes, it would work towards the advantage of the owner to suppress the knee jerk reaction of shouting at the ASC as soon as the car starts giving a problem - Refer point no:2.
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Old 20th February 2014, 10:11   #5
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Default re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

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Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
7. Escalate only to the level that brings about a resolution:
Do not use a top down approach while escalating. For instance, donít write to the MD of the company the first time. By doing so, you lose the chance of a second / third / fourth level of escalation that would have been available to you if you used the proper levels. Usually, the fear of an escalation would prompt the junior managers to resolve your issue and you can use the higher levels if you are not satisfied.
I haven't seen any standardized hierarchy in the automobile sector, like you have in, say, telecom. TRAI has a list of 4-5 levels you need to exhaust within the company before finally approaching them. Any such doc available? From SIAM maybe?

In case of the auto sector, there are practically 2 companies you are dealing with. First is your dealership, then comes the parent company. Both will have their hierarchy. Even if dealing with the dealer only, one should keep the parent company in loop since Day1.

These days, I have seen cases resolved much faster if you use a top down approach. You can be all civilized, considerate, patient etc but these guys won't help you. One tweet/fb post to the MD/CEO and the whole dealership will be there to attend you! This though largely depends on the leaders of the company - how accessible are they to the public and also the problem at hand.
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Old 20th February 2014, 10:44   #6
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Default re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Nice points. Pretty much theoritical, as per my opinion.

Sample This:

06th April 2013 - I took my car to Kropex (Dealer) Chevrolet A.S.S (Company) for a scheduled service. Things were horribly wrong. So I started with the bottom-up approach.
(Chevrolet Beat : Test Drive & Review)HERE is the entire episode.

My Level of Escalation:

- Service Advisor
- Customer Care Executive
- Service Manager of that particular A.S.S
- Chevrolet Customer Care Helpline
- General Manager A.S.S, Kropex Chevrolet (the particular A.S.S where I went)

Eventually, problem solved.

Fast Forward to 08th Feb 2014. I took my car for a scheduled service to the same place, same fellows, same attitude, same incompetency. What I first hear was the same standard response.
This time, I take the top-down approach. I throw the name of the General Manager of Kropex Chevrolet. I start dialling the number, and immediately was taken to an AC Lounge and offered tea/coffee/cold drinks.
End of the day, not only the issue gets resolved smoothly, but the service went even smoother. Bumper to bumper, everything was just perfect. No complaints at all.

So I believe that even though one has to be courteous and polite and show all traits of a loyal customer, if one knows how the operations of a particular A.S.S is, the best way is the top-down approach.

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Old 20th February 2014, 10:49   #7
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Default re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

@Dry ice,
Also, I have seen that Dealer abstracts/hides a lot of information to/from the company
The dealers never convey all information to Company's representatives.
The company doesn't convey exactly (what we say to company) to dealer. Unless we Copy Dealer.
With the amount of information abstraction being shown by the company, dealer, i don't think getting most of the jobs under warranty is an easy task.

Now, i have run in into an issue and my car is just out of warranty (by days). . The problem was reported 4-5 times when the vehicle was in warranty. Dealer resolved the problem but it crops up again. For 3 times, i had a receipt. for the rest 1-2 times, my vehicle was attended without a job card. Now, i don't have any thing to say that i have reported it more number of times but it wasn't resolved.
Even in the receipts that i have, it was no where written that, the service was provided for ABC problem. They just write Labor charges or some other buzz word.

i am quite surprised to see that the way information is being abstracted and exchanged helping neither parties. But the information gets exchanged at least thrice a day.

At the end of the day, You are in india. All the above mentioned points are Valid. They must work under ideal conditions. The only choice you have is to "Try your luck".

What we need is a transparency from the government or ARAI or some other government body, Like TRAI/insurance Ombudsman. And some better laws to protect the consumer for any service delays.
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Old 20th February 2014, 11:31   #8
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Some really neat tips in there. Thanks for sharing.

Being firm yet polite is the best attitude. Don't accept rubbish, don't give it either.

Related excerpt from my lemon article (ARTICLE: What to do if you are stuck with a lemon (Defective car)):

Quote:
Keep the legal option as a last resort. A significant amount of time and effort go into court cases and there is a chance that the manufacturer or dealership will offer an appropriate resolution before going that far.

Try to negotiate with your dealership or manufacturer first. Speak respectfully, but firmly: yelling won’t get you anywhere. Leave a copy of your history of problems and service reports with them. Do not let them leave you waiting; always insist on a timeline for the next step and if they promise to get back to you, ask for a deadline. If they are going to send you a document, ask them when you should expect it. It is your job to keep them to their deadlines. At this stage, the dealership or manufacturer will try to gauge how serious you are about solving the problem.
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Old 20th February 2014, 11:54   #9
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Very sensible indeed!

I have experienced "situations" many times in my life, got most of them resolved and my 2 cents: this is not just about car dealers! It works well in many places where you have paid for service directly or indirectly!

My recent grievance: with HDFC ERGO insurance. I started using the normal channels and waited till each committed deadlines were over. Finally, wrote a snail mail despatched via air courier to the chief grievance officer, stationed in Mumbai.

I started out on a congratulatory and thankful note: how smoothly my claim of Rs126k was settled, how they were doing a good job, AND how it could be better IF they could KINDLY resolve a SMALL issue that I have.

The day after the letter got delivered to the Mumbai office, there was an official from HDFC ERGO, visiting me in my office requesting me for an amicable settlement. I offered him coffee and sandwich at CCD, , explained first hand all the issues, and 2 days later, the full salvage deduction, many plastic and metal parts not considered, some improper depreciation (metal vs plastic row), towing charges etc. were reimbursed! The claim, was CLOSED in January! It took me some polite mails and logic. It worked!

No threats, no lawbooks or LW101 lessons, no IRDA: but basic knowledge of my rights as per the policy docs and patience!

(Bhpian Biraj, would like to comment a lot on my patience!)

Sorry if I am grossly OT!

Last edited by lapis_lazuli : 20th February 2014 at 11:59.
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Old 20th February 2014, 12:14   #10
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Thanks for the valuable inputs. I totally agree with those. This apart, in those rare cases when you need to escalate, referring to a thread of this forum can also help.

For example, I had opened a thread regarding Ford's proactive initiative of getting petrol Fiestas inspected and owners' homes for checking for power steering hose issues. This was way back in 2008 or 2009. A couple of years later, when my car was out of its 4-year warranty, my power steering hose developed a leak. The A.S.S. did not have a record of their earlier inspection. So an email to Ford with the url of the thread came to my immediate rescue. The part was change FOC and I avoided shelling out Rs 5000 for it!
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Old 20th February 2014, 13:42   #11
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

I must admit; I am not by nature a very patient person when it comes to problems which are replicated and for which a permanent solution is not found in the first or second 'try' itself, i often lose my temper! Having said that; these tips are excellent. I hope that I would not need them ever but incase I do; I will definitely escalate my concerns keeping in mind what was discussed here.

On a seperate note; When the Stablizer Bar Bushes of my Bolero failed 3 times within a span of 2 months, I was irritated, angry and very very frustrated. My SA (who thankfully knew about Team Bhp and was a fan of this community as he visited it often to read the breaking news) personally stood besides my Bolero as the bushes were changed the 3rd time. He knew that the roots of this community spread far and wide and any adverse reviews from the users of this community would cause a potentially big problem for the dealership in question as well as the Car Manufacturer's Brand; and ultimately the 'trickle down' effect would have him in a spotlight he would not want to be in!

Not wanting brickbats and having to answer to the top management; he promptly fixed the problem for me in a way that it has never occured again. My point: If you SA is well read, aware of Team Bhp and knows about the strengths of this forum- you definitely get personal attention to ensure that your problem is solved and does not reoccur

Last edited by rahul4321 : 20th February 2014 at 13:49. Reason: typo
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Old 20th February 2014, 14:28   #12
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Very valid and reasonable points there! Those sure will help many of us change the attitude towards problem resolution.

Being 'valued' customers(till purchase) we may have to go for escalations in some cases because of the customer 'care' in our country. And from personal experiences, being patient and thoughtful with correct methods has always proved to be more effective than simply making noise.
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Old 21st February 2014, 10:34   #13
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

Anybody remembers Vishal Gondal's Audi Q7 case? Had he gone through the above process can you imagine how long it would have taken for him to get the issue resolved, not sure even if it would have got resolved (we all know the high handedness of these premium European car makers). Imagine the time he would have wasted going through all that for no fault of his. And also, if resolved, the resolution would definitely not have been a replacement for his Q7. That's the power of social influence.

1. If you have social influence use it to your advantage (like in the above case).
2. If you are not socially influential but know a celebrity quite well, get him/ her to post, tweet, blog etc. on your behalf. (somebody with a reach of 10,000 people might also suffice in some cases).
3. If you have local media contacts get them publish a article in the local editions of their newspapers.

I am sure if you can do one of them you will have the service center or the showroom guys running behind you to do a satisfactory resolution.

These steps might look small but can have considerable negative publicity to the brand, nobody from their side would want to have. However, use them only in really genuine cases and when basic steps to address the issue fail.

I might be naive but, my 2 cents.

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Old 23rd February 2014, 20:09   #14
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

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Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
These days, I have seen cases resolved much faster if you use a top down approach. You can be all civilized, considerate, patient etc but these guys won't help you. One tweet/fb post to the MD/CEO and the whole dealership will be there to attend you! This though largely depends on the leaders of the company - how accessible are they to the public and also the problem at hand.
It's true that the top-down approach simply fastens up everything for you, and many feel proud of that. I ,for one, though would hesitate to do that unless and until something terribly goes wrong, or the guy/dealer I am dealing with starts to sound unreasonable or fishy. Until then, why should you?

It's like running to the school headmaster every time you're poked by a fellow mate! You could have asked your senior for help, or your teacher or your warden for the same, but you chose to run to the headmaster instead. This of course solves the issue a bit quicker than usual, but doing this means you distrust all of those who you have skipped and cared not to discuss; inadvertently making them believe that they're not worth it. In the long run, when you would need help for smaller things, trust me it won't help that much!

And do remember whether you escalate or not, the car is going to be repaired in the same workshop by the same people, and not by the country-head or his special-op forces. Nothing interesting is going to happen. If your concerns are reasonable enough I can guarantee that you would find at-least one guy from the dealership who'd fight for you and escalate it to concerned department without even needing your nod on it.

PS: Speaking from my 7 months work experience with a premium car dealership.
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Old 23rd February 2014, 21:47   #15
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Default Re: Problem Escalation (Dealers, Manufacturers): How to make it work for you

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... unless and until something terribly goes wrong, or the guy/dealer I am dealing with starts to sound unreasonable or fishy. Until then, why should you? ...
Exactly. And hence I said, it largely depends on the problem at hand. One should obviously not take this route to report a shoddy washing job. But if the problem is big and if you feel the company and dealership is not doing enough, no harm in taking it up through social media.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shivank View Post
... And do remember whether you escalate or not, the car is going to be repaired in the same workshop by the same people, ...
Not necessarily. You can take your car to any other dealership if you feel the current one is not upto the mark, can you not?
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