Customer Service Car Dealership

  • February 05, 2019

  • The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center


A car dealership customer service experience can go one of many ways. A lady had reached the end of her vehicle lease agreement and she was instructed to make an appointment with the car dealership to return the vehicle.

When the lady called the car dealership, the receptionist did not know where to direct her call. She asked the lady if she knew which salesperson had helped her three years ago. She connected the lady to the service department who then transferred the lady back to the receptionist. The lady was then transferred to a salesperson who represented a different car brand. The salesperson asked the lady to call back, and he hung up on her.

The lady looked through her records to find the salesperson’s name and then called back. She asked the receptionist to connect her with the salesperson, and the receptionist responded, “Are you sure?”

The lady was put on a hold for several minutes, and then the receptionist picked up the line and said, “May I ask who you’re holding for?” The lady repeated the salesperson’s name, and the receptionist said, “Oh, boy. All right.”

A few minutes later the receptionist got back on the phone and told the lady, “I’m sorry. He’s gone for the day. Would you like to speak to someone else?”


  • A receptionist is a little like an air traffic controller for your customers. The receptionist needs to direct customers safely to their final destination. If your receptionist does not have basic phone etiquette and does not know how to direct phone calls, your customer’s experience will be turbulent and frustrating.
  • This cannot be the first time the dealership had a leased vehicle returned, and yet, it seemed no one knew what to do. In order to best serve customers, your organization should have clear processes in place.
  • Even though the customer is turning in her vehicle, she may need a car in the future, or she could recommend the dealership to a friend. The dealership should still be focused on cultivating a relationship—rather than completing a transaction. 

Explore our experience with Automotive & Transportation clients around the globe to see how we’ve transformed the service experience.

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