The Stench of Hostile Indifference

the stench of hostile indifference in business

A study I recall hearing about from Jay Abraham indicated that nearly 70% of customers feel like they are treated with indifference by the businesses they interact with. 7 out of 10. That’s astonishing. You’d think a lot of businesses don’t believe their customers have alternatives.

How often do you hear people complain about their accountant, their hairdresser, their mechanic, etc. If you ask them, “Why haven’t you looked for an alternative?,” they seem perplexed by the question. They seem convinced they would be treated with the same or worse level of indifference.

I’ve discovered a new category of indifference: hostile indifference.

I recently returned a leased car to Stevens Creek Volkswagen in San Jose. I had a couple of indifferent interactions with Ray Danishwar. He sent me an email telling me about a downgraded car at a slightly lower price from the current lease with a reduced mileage allowance. This is his way of starting a relationship with an existing customer? A brief phone conversation with him that I initiated didn’t help.

Here’s what happened when I returned the leased vehicle:

  • He informed me that there was a $350 fee for dropping off the leased car–something he said I should have remembered from a conversation that happened 3 years ago in the flurry of signing all the lease paperwork.
  • He told me that this is Volkswagen America’s car, not his dealership’s, and that he doesn’t get anything for handling these returns–this was nothing more than an inconvenience for Ray.
  • I asked about a ride home. He told me I’d have to buy or lease a vehicle for that to happen.
  • No word of thanks for being a customer.

This is hostile indifference. Any wonder why I didn’t enter into a transaction for a new VW?

The stench of hostile indifference lingers far longer than mere indifference.

I will never again consider a VW. That won’t matter to the likes of Ray Danishwar who seem not to understand there probably 30 different car dealerships within a mile or so of his.

I chose Chevrolet of Stevens Creek where I receive excellent service in all departments: sales, service and finance. A person like Ray Danishwar would never be hired there and, if they did, it wouldn’t be in a customer-facing role.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Neil Piddock


Thought for the week:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou


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