Don’t Buddy Up Yo Your Customers

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.


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