The Parallels Between Communication and Service

My car turned 2 years old a few days ago, so I made an appointment to change the oil with a new service center in Midtown, Sacramento. Last year, I had the dealer pick it up to change the oil and bring it back, and they charged me about $250. The guy in Midtown charges $125, and he gives me a ride home to Land Park. The problem with changing service centers is the guy in Midtown can’t perform warranty work and get paid by the manufacturer. For that, I have to go to the dealer. Since the dealer is the only dealer around Sacramento, if something goes haywire, I’m stuck with the dealer.

My sister bought a car in Minneapolis, and the only service center for her car is in Madison, Wisconsin, 6 hours away, so I don’t know why I’m complaining about a 45-minute drive. Well, yes, I do, because I don’t have a choice. The guy in Midtown told me my transmission fluid was leaking, so that meant if I wanted it covered under warranty, it’s off to the dealership with it. Fortunately, I could call Roadside Assistance and make them tow it, so I did not have to interrupt my workday to drive to the dealer.

I had the car picked up on Friday. The dealer called me on Saturday to say, yup, it looks like my transmission fluid is leaking. The plan was to clean it up and try to figure out why it was leaking. On Monday, the dealer called and said they don’t know why it’s leaking but they suspect it’s a gasket.

Really? I thought maybe it was caused by a cosmic reaction to global warming.

In any case, since it’s a gasket, they will have to order that part, and yes, they know I expected to pick up my car on Tuesday but it will be least Thursday before it will be ready. No apologies. And my guy is going on vacation, so I can talk to his buddy if I have questions.

See, this is a perfect example of excellent communication yet poor service skills. It should take not a week to determine a gasket is needed, and to obtain and install a gasket. You don’t have to be in the automobile industry to feel this way about it. Just like a real estate client doesn’t have to completely understand how real estate works to feel like she is not a priority to her Sacramento real estate agent. I would die if a client felt that way about me. Curl up and die. Because service is everything.

I know that sellers and buyers have choices when it comes to picking a real estate agent. We are not all the same. They are not stuck with the first agent they run into, and there is not only agent working in Sacramento. Competition should breed excellence. But I don’t simply strive to provide excellent service because I’m concerned that a client might ring up an agent on the other block. I do it because I care about my performance. I take pride in my work. My goal is for my clients to be happy.

Just because I work at the largest independently owned real estate company in Sacramento doesn’t mean we sit back, kick up our feet and enjoy our monopoly like this automobile dealer. I work with a great group of people at Lyon Real Estate, and I love my team members to pieces. If you’re looking for a Sacramento real estate agent, please know that I will strive to meet your expectations.

I closed more than 150 transactions last year. Each was important. You want something done right — you ask a busy person to do it. I am never too busy to pick up my phone and talk to you.

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