Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Good to Know When to Fold

It's time for yet another (and final!) truck update!

I was having kind of a long day today. All in all, it wasn't horrible, but long nonetheless. At about 4:00, my cell phone rang. It was a number that wasn't in my contact list, but I recognized it all too well.

It was the dealership.

In the two seconds or so that it took for me to recognize and subsequently answer the phone, I had several thoughts go through my mind. "Is it actually ready? Will there be another delay? If so, what will it be this time? Can I ever be patient with these people again? How many sentences are going to go through my head before I answer this dang phone?"

So, I answered. I half expected it to be the service manager or sales manager. It was neither. It was the service guy that I started dealing with from the very beginning. I did a pretty good job at not sounding irritated when I answered. I figured, it's a new day, a new week....let's see if I can cut them some slack.

Well, the guy was calling to tell me that my truck is ready. I light-heartedly asked him if he was sure. He said yes. I thanked him and told him I'd be by to pick it up this evening. I also asked him what my total was going to be (I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get charged for that airbag).

You might want to make that you're seated for the next little bit. No, seriously...sit down! Ok, I know most of you probably are sitting down, but if you happen to be reading my blog post on your phone or something while walking then sit! If you happen to be reading my blog post on a phone or laptop while you're driving, then put it away and come back to it later...THAT'S NOT SAFE!!!

Ok, anyway, so I asked him for the total.

"Well, as far as I understand...we're taking care of it for you."

HUH? That was unexpected!

I wasn't sure what to say. For a moment, I was actually speechless. I stammered for a second and then said, "Well, I didn't expect that!" and he said "Well, I'm sure this has been a frustrating experience for you, so we're just going to go ahead and cover it for you."

I was a little shocked. A lot shocked. I got off the phone and called Crystal to tell her about it. I suddenly didn't feel quite right about it. I felt like either the guy misunderstood what he was told or that I needed to at least call back and offer to pay for the brakes - since that part was my fault to begin with (at least I think it was).

For the record, let's cover what was being done and roughly the cost:
Initial reason for going in:
Wheel wouldn't turn and airbag light was on - Estimated cost of repairs $550.
Eventually, they found the front rotors needed to be replaced. Add $200
They forgot to add in the key I needed to buy (outrageous cost for a key!) $150
New airbag when the original fix for the airbag light didn't work $300

If you do the math there, that comes out $1200! So...$1200 for brakes that got screwed up (likely my fault from driving in salt water), a key I SHOULD have gotten when I bought the thing, and airbag stuff that (if you ask me) should be covered by the warranty I purchased.

Relatively speaking, I'm sure this was a small write-off for them. But it was a big deal to me.

So I called back and asked to speak to the sales manager or the service manager. Both were busy and couldn't come to the phone. I spoke with dude again to make sure he was relaying the information to me correctly. I asked him if there was some mix-up or confusion because it was only the airbag I wasn't supposed to be paying for. He assured me that the whole bill would be covered. I asked him to have the service manager call me back when he could.

So the service manager called me a short while later and I said something to the effect of "Look, I appreciate what you're doing here, and if you REALLY want to do it that way, then great, and thanks! But I'm not trying to get something from you for free. I want to make sure we're doing this fair."

He basically said, "I don't see it that way at all. We really dropped the ball on this from the very beginning and every step of the way. It's been nothing but a nightmare and a headache for you and I think that you shouldn't have to pay for it. You just bought the car from us, and already had to have service for something that shouldn't have even come up. Hopefully, we'll be able to earn the right to do business with you again in the future."

Wow. I really was stunned. For the record, I really DID feel that I shouldn't have to pay for any of this. I never would have said that to him, though (unless he directly asked me). I really wasn't trying to worm a free repair here. I had just had it with their lack of customer service. But - my opinion has changed now.

Not that he bought me off or anything like that. I mean, it may sound that way, but to me it's been all about customer service from the beginning. I have a motto about customer service and that is "Always treat your customers like you'd want someone to treat your grandmother." It works for people who don't hate their grandmother...LOL. To me, good customer service means doing EVERYTHING you can do to satisfy your customer, even if it ends up costing you money.

If you had asked me last week, there is NO WAY I would have said I was satisfied. However, the gesture they offered today was significant. The fact that they decided to do that without any prompting from me, in my opinion, is stellar. I wouldn't say I'm satisfied with their service department in general, but I would definitely say that their service manager will do what it takes to fix the situation.

So, the experience as a whole may have been nothing but an absolute nightmare, but in the end, they did what they had to do and, I have to say, have earned a chance to do business with me again in the future. Not without caution, mind you - but they have definitely earned one more shot.

I guess it pays to voice your opinion!


Jen said...

YAY!!! I am glad you got your truck back and patience pays off huh :p

Treating customers like they were your grandma lol I guess that is a good motto to go by

Dustin said...

Yeah, I guess it's kinda like that Heinz commercial "Good things come to those who wait".

You know when I came up with that customer service motto, at first I thought "Treat customers like you want people to treat your mother," but then I thought that there's just too many people out there these days that don't like their mother's. So, I thought that grandmother would be a good one because people who have issues with their mother might still love their I figure that in many cases the word "grandmother" makes people think "sweet old lady" plus, if someone wants their grandmother treated poorly, perhaps they don't belong in customer service lol.

Dustin said...

Oops, I put an apostrophe in "mothers"...what was I thinking???

The Rock Chick said...

YOWSA! I certainly didn't expect this ending to the story. wow. I am speechless and that NEVER happens!

I'm very pleased the service manager did that for you guys. I like the "treat customers the way you'd treat your grandmother" comparison. That's good!

Nicole said...


Dustin said...

Jessica - I certainly didn't expect it to end that way either. You're right, it was kind of a twilight zone moment! I came out pleased as well.

Nicole - I'm more of a Google fan...

Oh, come on...that was kinda funny!

Crystal said...

Oh, if only it had lasted...