Two days ago i posted an incident about a request i made at a Honda
dealership that didn't go that well.
Since my overall experience was really lausy I made sure that the
survey that Honda always makes reflects just that.
I just got a call from the Manager of the facility that should have
never ocurred. The call made a bad situation... worst.
I was really inclined to forget about the incident and now i want to
get to Honda Corporate and make sure that the incident doesn't go
Now i feel like if i ever make the mistake of servicing my car at the
referred facility i'm going to have sugar on the gas tank, or that
something mob like will happen to my car.
Any of you experienced something similar? What did you do? What are the
proper channels to get to Honda Corporate?
OK, I replied to someone somewhere on this a couple days ago. It used
to be that Japan didn't want any bad juju from customers so would
raise Hell if any dealer pulled some shady shit. Have you called
Honda USA and asked if there is a customer relations dept?
There was a fellow who wrote a series of books back in the early 80's
about how to get satisfaction from slimebag businesses. I tried it
once and it worked like a charm. It was this author's contention that
every major company has someone somewhere in the organization who's
sole job it is to make the customer happy. Granted, he may be lost in
the bureaucracy, but there's usually someone. The trick is to find
him. One way is to feel out the main switchboard. Hint around you
looking for a customer or relations rep. If you get one, plead your
case. BUT!!! ...do it from a positive slant.
Here's my example. I asked a local tire chain, who's products I
trusted, to put on 4 new tires, check my wheel bearings, and look into
a disc brake squeal. Well, they put on the new tires. So, I call the
corp office and got ahold of some big wig. I told him, "Hey, I love
your products and want to continue using them, but could you recommend
a dealer who has a good service reputation". Note the lack of blame.
So, the guy asks me why I'm not satisfied with the dealer in my town.
I play it up and say I don't really want to get anyone in trouble, I'm
just looking for a more reliable dealer so I can continue to use your
great product (which was true). He presses me for details and I
reluctantly relent (wink, wink). He says, "Hang tough, I'll get back
to you". Next day the manager of my local dealer is calling up with
all kinds of sob sister excuses and begging me to bring my car in. I
had about $300 worth of work done for free. True story!
Moral ...find the customer satisfaction vp. :)
Nb, Great suggestion!
The approach - "Hey, I love your products and want to continue using
them, but could you recommend a dealer who has a good service
reputation" - seems a nice one.
The issue is that there's only so many Honda dealers in one city and
they have a lot more freedom to operate than other types of
Any other tricks on the book for this one?
Dunno if it was in that book, but sometimes if you write a letter telling the
Co. how great their product (whatever it may be) is, they'll send you coupons or
free samples of their stuff. They love unsolicited love letters.
I've found the technique to work well too. Some examples:
I bought Quart speakers for my car because I'd come to appreciate their
quality when I worked as an installer, and was impressed by their
no-questions-asked exchange policy for blown drivers. So when the set I
bought kept blowing tweeters and then replacement tweeters, to the point
that the model was discontinued and the store had to give me used
tweeters off the demo board, I wrote to the company. I basically told
them the same thing: I worked in the industry, I liked their products
because of my experience with them as an installer, and I was very
disappointed with the continual problems with the particular model I
had. They repied with an apology, and a new set of the next model up
the line. Never asked for the old ones back either (which are still
I took my wife's van to a local quick-lube joint to get an oil change
done. She gets home from work about 5:40pm. The lube place closed at
6:00. I rushed to get there, arriving about five or ten minutes to six.
The young service clown was already putting stuff away and informed me
they couldn't service my vehicle because they were closing soon and
suggested I come back tomorrow. I informed him I couldn't make it any
earlier any other day either, and he explained that they were closing
early for the next couple weeks because they had new owners and were
understaffed, but they would be staying open later in a week or two and
I could come back then. Well, I've been spoiled by other service
facilities, including a favorite tire shop whose motto is "Five minutes
to closing means still open." So I emailed their customer service to
express my displeasure with being blown off because some minimum-wage
kid didn't want to stay a few minutes after six, espcially after having
been such a happy customer with their other outlets previously. Within
a week I was contacted by the manager offering to do my oil change for free.
There's an old phrase about flies, honey, and vinegar that applies...
So you dumped on some minimum wage employee, who might very well be working
two or more jobs to make ends meet, because you didn't want to dump on your
wife or her employer.
You couldn't wait a week or so and just follow the rules.
You promote more civility and employee stress, not less.
I gotta admit, I took the employee's side on this one, too. He DID
explain the reason for the early closing and DID offer a viable,
though somewhat delayed, solution. What's the big deal about waiting
a couple of weeks? The car can't tell the difference of a few hundred
miles extra. Besides, I know what happens if you don't hold the line
on closing time. You get more latecomers bugging you to do "just one
more" and then you hafta get nasty about it. Nope, wait two weeks,
find another place, or do it yourself. If the employee was doing as
instructed and tried to accommodate, the customer has no bitch.
Rules generally are not made up, on whim, just to torture others.
Plus, just my opinion, but a shop that has to deal with customers milking
them for every free minute is going to get plenty overstressed plenty fast.
So customers who pull this garbage hurt other customers.
At our shop I am the "closer" Now this means 10 to 15 minutes extra at no
pay to pull the tires in, turn out the lights, lock up the shop, change and
go home. Usually we have the last minute Oil rush job at 5:50 (we close at
6:00) Seldom do I leave at 6:30. Seldom do I wipe off my tools and put them
away. The Corporation thinks that the last minute customer is valuable, but
reality is they waste time.
Tonight it was a rebalance check on the front tires of a Volvo. He
complained of a vibration at 58 MPH after we did a rotate and front tire
rebalance a week ago. So car in, on the rack. Right tore .25 oz out, left
rim bent. Put it on the Right rear and pulled the car out. Told the
customer. He thought I was lying to cover up a defective tire. Car back in
Bent rim on the balancer to prove to him it was bent. Well He wishes the
tire back on the front to maintain his rotation pattern. So swapped two
tires. Now he wants us to "throw in a bulb" for the brake light (a service
we do charge for) I did it anyway for:the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT; the
squeaky wheel etc. but it didn't fix the light anyway.
So he drives out of the shop at about 6:30 Didn't have to pay a penny and
the shop paid me about 20 minutes of time for what took an hour. But he was
in before 6:00....
We love last minute customers, they keep our stock going up....
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
And chances are, they'll remember the good service you gave them and
come back again, when they ARE paying for it. And will send other
business your way.
With competition the way it is in business, sometimes you have to go the
extra mile. When there are a half-dozen quick-lube places within a
small town, the one that goes the distance is the one that steals the
customers from the ones that don't.
No, seldom they do. Last minute customers seem to be of the type that don't
care to spend extra money. Our shop looses money on oil changes.
Corporations want every penny from every consumer. Consumers are thinking
it's ok to do things at all hours. That's why Grocery stores are open 24
hours now; 30 years ago only convenience stores were open past 8 pm. Our
store wants to open until 9:00 pm... just in case there is SOMEONE who wants
to spend money. IF the market supports it, then others will follow. Some
large Cities have dealerships open two shifts now.. But in the mean time we
get to be open obscene hours to take care of the late customers. This week I
put in 56 hours at the shop for which I will get paid for 32 of them hours.
So I really care less how these last minute customers feel when they arrive
at 5 minutes to 6 and think that me working late is best for all.
Ask my wife how often I get home at 6:30
Steve, as a voter and consumer interested in optimal society functioning
blah blah blah, I'd be interested to know a bit more:
How many years have you worked as a technician? How many more years do you
think you will do so?
Do you feel you are risking your physical health? One thing I've noticed
with my amateur efforts is that if I had to, say, change timing belts half
of an 8-hour workday and do oil changes the other half, I would be a
physical wreck. Back aches from bending over the engine (even with the car
on an easily adjusted lift) and lifting things, feet aches (like a waitress
being on her feet all day), etc. These aren't even major jobs, it seems to
me. Yet here I am, an extraordinary female athlete with pretty good
endurance compared to many men (but definitely not as much upper body
strength), and I am exhausted after a, say, day long timing belt job. (Plus
of course a good technician is expected to do maybe about as many as four
timing belt a day. One day, never mind week after week, of this routine
would kill me.)
Two shifts is not exactly going to help make more sane the hours of the
average technician, since when a car arrives at 7:30 AM and is promised by 5
PM, if it's not done right at 5 PM, many a time a technician will be asked
to stay over, because the job cannot be turned over to a new technician,
Do technicians tend to gravitate to becoming service managers over time
because the labor of being a technician is so physically burdensome?
Steve H wrote:
>>And chances are, they'll remember the good service you gave them
>>and come back again, when they ARE paying for it. And will send
>>other business your way.
Well, see... I would have. I've received good customer service from
some companies, and I've appreciated that and been loyal to them - like
the aforementioned Kal Tire store, to whom I've brought my business for
a dozen years now, and sent everyone I know to them. And I have no time
or sympathy for those who deliver crappy service.
Umm, no. My problem was not with them closing earlier than "normal".
My problem was with them closing TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE POSTED CLOSING
TIME. The sign said clearly that they closed at 6. Buddy didn't want
to start a job at ten-to because it might have kept him 3 or 4 minutes late.
By contrast, the first time I visited the aforementioned tire shop,
before I even had my flat unloaded, the store owner was right there
asking how he could help... at TEN MINUTES AFTER CLOSING. He proceeded
to personally repair the tire, and didn't charge us for it. He earned
lifetime customers that day, and I've since sent tens of thousands of
dollars in business his way via family, friends, and employers... in
fact, here's a good place for a plug: I'll recommend Kal Tire to anyone
in Western Canada, and especially the Boundary & Kitchener store in
Burnaby to anyone in the BC Lower Mainland area (tell them I sent you).
Take some personal responsibility, for crying out loud. You were late. You
refused to wait a couple of weeks when it would not have inconvenienced you.
You wanted the shop to give up its time instead of your wife giving up hers.
You harassed the shop for your own mistakes.
May your wife and you have clients who treat you as badly. That's the only
way you're going to learn.
Where you work are you at your job until the last moment of the day? Are you
entitled to a clean up time? If you work at a desk with a computer, do you
wait until the end of the day before shutting your computer down and putting
your paperwork away?
If not, why would you think that someone else would work in that manner?
You sound like the type of person that would walk into a restaurant just
before closing and expect to be served. In case you don't know what kind of
person that is, it is a very selfish and ignorant person. Perhaps you have a
picture of just that sort of person over your bathroom sink.
I'm at a job until it's finished, cleanup included, thanks.
Like I said, I've been spoiled by another auto service shop whose motto
is "five minutes to closing means still open." Those shops get my
money; those that are lazy don't.
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