Incompetence and Customer Satisfaction

Unwrapping the R.I.D.I.L. of lost trust

This is the second in five monthly articles that discuss how everyday behaviors and attitudes can wreck customer satisfaction. I use the acronym R.I.D.I.L. to describe them. Each has the potential to irritate and frustrate customers, and cost their business.

About the first of these, Rudeness, we discussed last month. It often exhibits itself when one is under pressure, under deadline, in a new environment, and in some sad cases, where feelings of superiority rule. If an F&I associate comes across as rude or superior, the deal might yet get done, but the customer’s sharing of that experience may go viral.

Incompetence, the first “I” in our acronym, is “the inability to do something successfully, due to the lack of ability, lack of skill or lack of proficiency.”

Sometimes incompetence results from the wrong person in the job. Such a situation is a hiring and/or managing failure. More often though, an F&I associate who fumbles through a menu presentation or otherwise makes a customer uncomfortable may lack training or if trained has not yet honed those skills.
Where training failure is apparent, the real reason might be due to an undiagnosed or unrevealed learning disability or a heart of an owner who thinks he or she already knows all there is to learn. (Either situation is a failure of hiring due diligence).

An article in Entrepreneur magazine notes that incompetence accounts for 73% of customer dissatisfaction. That is a huge risk to any business and it is one risk management can address. Hotel Business Review, covering an industry that is uber-customer-satisfaction sensitive, noted that competent people not only possess knowledge, skills, and ability, but they also work hard, have a service attitude, and a desire to learn and improve.

A well-trained F&I associate using modern F&I software can do much to improve customer satisfaction by helping the dealership deliver a more professional F&I experience to customers. Technology reminds of tasks, catches mistakes, and ensures compliance to a set process. It can also document the process, so if a claim is made, even if human error, the documentation documented process protects the dealership.

For instance, e-menu technology can provide just such a process structure and documentation trail. Reporting can help identify areas of incompetence that need improvement. By following such structure, F&I personnel presentation skills can improve. Because such software can streamline the entire F&I process, customers often complete this purchase phase more quickly, improving customer satisfaction.

An incompetent individual who does not respond to training may have to be dismissed (check with your HR expert before you get this far). That may not be bad news for either party.

Next month, the “D” in R.I.D.I.L., Deception.

Jim Maxim, Jr. is President of MaximTrak Technologies, Reach him at

Jim Maxim, Jr.


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