Retailer customer support is needed during lockdown

My husband Dan and I have experienced this first hand. It's been very enlightening to watch a person change from a hard-core pop-in-store type of customer (my husband) to a “buy online” supporter.

Unfortunately before the lockdown, someone crashed into him on his way home from work. Thankfully no one was hurt but it left Dan’s van in a right mess (he’s in construction). Thankfully, the person who crashed into him took full responsibility and told their insurance company right away. Phew.

Did I tell you Dan is a very lucky guy, he’s married to me for a start! Not so lucky getting crashed into but his luck always seems a lot better than mine. He knew himself that the van would be classed as written off but he still hoped for the best and waited to see what the insurance people said. He was right, there was no hope for the van, so the insurance company sent a courtesy van as a replacement. 

As he found this out, the PM announced that the UK would face lockdown. The insurance company also rang and gave him a deadline to find a new van. But how could he find a van when we are in lockdown? My husband is the type of person that normally wouldn’t buy a car or van online. He likes to visit many showrooms, yes many, I’ve experienced this many times looking around 1,000,000 options then test driving at least 3 - 5 different cars or vans. Pretty thorough I know! Lockdown took this ability out of his hands, and the fact that he only had the courtesy van for a short while changed how urgently he needed a new van. 

He started looking at all his options. He needed a van that he could stand up in (he’s 6ft 3), it needed 3 seats so he could help out with lifts for our little girl Poppy and we have another baby on the way. It needed to be able to fit all of his tools etc in the back and be hard to break into. There were lots of other things it needed to include, but I stopped listening at this point. He started looking at vans from private sellers initially. He spent a few days doing this but he just didn’t trust a lot of what he was hearing. From ‘Oh I still need to pay the finance off but I will once you’ve given me the money for the van’ to ‘I’m currently sleeping in my van’ to ‘oh I forget to put in the description that I reversed into a lamp post last week but it hasn’t done much damage’. Nothing was filling Dan with confidence about buying a van through these people. Would you? 

He decided to listen to me, he should’ve from the start but he likes to do the opposite of whatever I say! He started searching for vans on local retailers sites. He could have looked nationally but he wanted to make sure if he had any issues they were local and also prevent someone having to deliver it from the other side of the country in these uncertain times or him having to travel across the country to collect it. Dan made several enquiries to different retailers about vans that he liked and all of them got back to him straight away and they were so helpful. They offered more of a consultancy as that’s what he needed and gave him confidence to buy a van without having to test drive. They made sure he knew everything he needed to know about the vans and his best options for purchasing them. Dan is very particular so he asked lots of questions, I mean alot and the retailers he spoke to were happy to be asked and gave him all the answers he needed even when it meant them having to go away and spend time finding out the answers. He has now narrowed it down to two vans and will be picking one by the end of the week from a local retailer.

Thank you, retailers, for opening up my husband's eyes that searching and buying a vehicle before you see it isn’t all that bad. I hope this shows how much you are still needed as people's situations change and whether they need a new vehicle or not is taken out of their hands. Be there for these customers, they need you to stay safe but still provide a service from home.

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