Six hours a day, five days a week, I sit at my computer listening to and transcribing car sales phone calls for dealerships across the United States of America. West coast to east coast, from Kias to Maseratis.
I have been doing this for almost two years now, and it is very rare to witness kindness or genuine care on the part of a car salesperson. Generally, customers are just a means to an end. They aren’t treated like people to be respected, but rather as a thing that will potentially provide some income.
Anyways, yesterday I listened in on a phone call to a dealership in Georgia. The customer was calling to complain about being mistreated by sales rep (not the one he was speaking to now). It seems that she was racially profiling him and heavily talking down to him, so he was calling to let them know that he would be taking his business elsewhere. Now, this is normally where a sales rep would say something hollow like “I’m sorry about that, but if you come in we’ll figure everything out and get you in a new car” and maybe ask to verify his contact information as well.
This sales rep didn’t do anything like that. He listened patiently to the caller’s complaints, he acknowledged that that was a shitty situation, and he said “You do whatever you have to do to be comfortable.” He encouraged the caller to go to the other dealership if that’s what he needed to feel comfortable, offered his services in case the caller would be willing to give him a shot, and left it at that.
By the end of the phone call, the caller had sounded much less agitated. You could practically hear him smiling.
ANYWAYS, I thought that was really cool. This sales rep might not be a good person, he could be a dick and a half for all I know, but he handled at least this one situation like a decent human being instead of as a sales rep, and made another human feel better with no regards to gaining or losing a sale. Worthy of recognition? I thought so!
So I emailed the dealership and told them to have him give me a call. (I said “to put in a good word”). Unfortunately, he called me today instead of yesterday, while I was still asleep (California time vs Georgia time), so I answered it all groggily and weird and he was clearly on the defensive, like “Who the hell is this guy and what does he want?” I sort of explained the whole thing to him, but it all came out semi-jumbled and it took a while for me to be able to explain that I just wanted him to know that in my two years of listening to crappy people treat customers like they’re only worth a sale and nothing more, the kind way that he treated this person and the piece of mind he gave him didn’t go unnoticed, however small and insignificant it might be that I noticed it.
Now, I’m slightly worried that this might cascade into me somehow getting fired due to overstepping a line of some sort, I don’t know. I’m tired, and feeling a bit paranoid right now.
In any case, I’m awaiting a call from the general manager of that store now, so that I can give the rep a good review. Maybe he’ll get a raise, or more likely a pat on the back. I don’t know.
I feel stupid right now. Was this stupid?