I drove away thinking that maybe I’m just a cranky old fart who needs to lighten up. After all I got what I wanted and it was a pleasant experience with a merchant who always provides a good experience. So what if the service advisor called me “buddy” as he shook my hand and expressed wishes for a good day. So what if my new “buddy” was barely half my age and had only known me for 2 minutes and 27 seconds. So what?
Here’s what. This morning I took my car to the BMW dealership I’ve been doing business with for ten years. It’s always a great experience and today for the most part was no different. I was only there for a few minutes to take care of a minor detail – in and out in 15 minutes. Upon my arrival the service advisor, Josh, whom I had not met or seen there before, came over and greeted me. Josh is a fine-looking young man with a professional and confident demeanor. I liked him as soon as I shook his hand. Josh got the info he needed from me and told me he would be right back. He quickly took care of what I needed and as he escorted me back to my car he said, “Ok, you’re all set”. I thanked him and then he said it: “Thanks BUDDY, have a great day”.
As soon as Josh called me “Buddy” a good experience was diminished to average at best. I have come to expect, and usually receive, a great service experience at East Bay BMW. The personnel are always friendly, respectful, and courteous. They recognize me as a long time customer and make exceptions when necessary to meet my needs. I always feel valued when I arrive and when I leave. But today was different. As I drove off I did not feel valued. Being Josh’s Buddy does not make me feel valued – it had the opposite effect coming from Josh, the nice looking young man who should know better.
I actually use the word buddy often to describe one guy or another. “My buddy and I played golf last week.” or, “My buddy Marty is a great guy”. But I cannot fathom a time I would call one of my customers “Buddy” even if it were the guy I played golf with last week or if it was Marty. There’s a time and place for using certain words. “There’s a time and place…”. Now how is that for sounding like an old fart again? A time and place. Be respectful of your elders. Hold a door for a lady. Geesh… Maybe I do need to lighten up!
OK, so I will try to lighten up but you know what? The next time I see Josh and he calls me Buddy I will let him know that I better be MR. BUDDY to him.