Don't Band-Aid It

My girlfriend just found out she needs to replace the transmission in her car. It is going to cost $6000.

This, in and of itself, is upsetting because it is a significant investment; what’s more upsetting is the fact that we brought it to the attention of the dealership last year. At that time, when I specifically asked about the transmission, we were told it was a problem with the gearbox. So, I purchased a gearbox for $750. When I returned to the dealership, again asking about the transmission, my suspicions were confirmed. Then I got angry. Why didn’t they tell me it could potentially be the transmission last year? Why did I not get a head’s up so I could plan for the expense? Why was a quick fix recommended to me? And, more importantly, why no apology?

I asked all of these things and more and the answers I received were unsatisfactory. They ranged from “the gearbox was a less expensive option” to “the transmission problem was not as severe a year ago”. What I took away from the experience was the fact that you can’t put a Band-Aid on and expect it to cure a chronic condition.

In today’s extremely cost-conscious environment, it may seem like you are doing your clients a favor by offering them the least expensive alternative, but if you are doing this at the expense of their long-term success or comprehensive planning, it is really not premium service delivery. A client or customer deserves to know the truth, see the problem through a multi-faceted lens, and be fully aware of the entire required investment. That, to me, is good service. Plus, when you pull off a Band-Aid it hurts—just a little less than discarding a $750 temporary solution with an expiration date.

What do you think?

  • Has this happened to you? Have you been talked into a less expensive product that didn't solve the problem?
  • Why do you think organizations sometimes offer Band-Aid solutions to more comprehensive problems?
  • Do you see a difference between cost and value? How do you define each?

Post your response and check back for a reply!

Topics: business, customer service, service