This isn't a rant...really it isn't.
I just had an experience with really bad customer service that caused my husband and I to stop using our long time Mechanic.
He has been working on our trucks for 15 years.
It is sad really.
It seems to be harder and harder to find good customers service anymore.
Or to even trust people that you contract to do work for you.
At least I'll try to keep it short and quick....maybe...
It started a few weeks ago when we were leaving for work one morning.
Everyone was in the truck.
Dog, kids, my husband and I.
I started the car and the tire censer light came on.
Low air pressure.
I opened my car door to check the tires.
"What are you doing?" my husband asked.
"We are going to be late."
"It says low tire pressure, I going to check," I told him, climbing out of the truck.
"It's just low on air. I'll put some air in them when we get to work," I could heard him saying in a very exasperated tone, as I started to look at the tires.
This is were men and women are different.
They ignore the warning light, women check it out to be on the safe side. :)
A minute later I walked back to the driver door and told him, "we aren't going anywhere in this."
"What!?" he said getting out of the truck.
The drivers side rear tire was half way to flat and had THREE nails stuck in it, all in the same place!
Amazing how five people can climb into a truck and no one notices that the tire is almost flat.
Anyway, fast forward to fixing the tire.
It was a fairly new tire that was not cheap.
We had had four new tires put on the truck about 9 or 10 months ago.
It could not be patched. :(
We had to buy another new tire.
So while we were having the new tire put on, my husband asked our Mechanic to also rotate the tires.
The day after my husband picked up the truck, the light came on again.
Only this time it was saying 'censer fault'.
So my husband called our Mechanic back to ask what that particular light meant, because all of the tires were fine, and he could not find anything in the truck manual.
My husband came in the room later shaking his head.
"That was a weird phone call," he said.
My husband said that he barely got the question out of his mouth when our Mechanic got all on the defensive.
He told my husband that when he was taking off the tires, one of the tire censers fell apart in his hand.
Our Mechanic said that he replaced the $100 dollar part at no charge to us.
"He kept acting like I was accusing him of something," he told me.
"He must have told me that he gave us a free $100 dollar part at least 6 times."
"He also kept saying that it cost HIM $100 dollars to rotate our tires," my husband continued to tell me.
"Why in the world was he acting so defensive?" I asked. "Did he ever answer your question about the light?"
"Yes, he said that the censer had to be reset and that they didn't have the machine to do it, so we have to take it to the Dealer," he informed me.
"Why didn't he tell you all of that when you picked up the truck?" I asked.
I went on as my husband shrugged his shoulders at me.
"Why didn't he tell you about the censer? Why didn't he tell you that it broke. Why wouldn't he tell us that he put a new one in and wasn't going to charge us? Why didn't he charge us?" I was on a roll.
It didn't make any sense.
My husband said that our Mechanic even seemed to get a little angry the more my husband talked to him.
We weren't accusing him of anything.
We just wanted to know what the light meant.
"Somethings up," I told my husband. "If the censer was broken, why didn't he tell us and charge us for replacing it?And why is he so defensive?"
Instead of going to a Dealer we went to another Mechanic that is close to us.
They reset the censer.
The light came on again a couple of days later.
They reset it again.
The light came on again a couple of days later.
"I bet he didn't put that new censer in right, or it is loose," I said to my husband.
So we took it back to the new Mechanic and asked them to check the censers themselves.
After my husband called to check on the truck, he came into my office.
I could tell right away that something was wrong.
"What?" I asked.
"The bill is $230," he told me.
"WHAT...WHY!" I asked.
I am sure my eyes were bugging out of my head.
He told me that they found the faulty censer.
It had not been replaced with a new one.
It had been glued back together.
The new Mechanic was saving it for us to see.
Now, a little back information on our long time Mechanic.
We live in a very rural, farm area.
Our long time Mechanic is a Grandfather, Father, and Son business.
They are good old, down home boys.
The Grandfather and Son seem to know their stuff.
They are easy and nice to talk to.
The Father is a complainer.
He is not a people person.
In my opinion he should let his Son and the Grandfather do the talking.
The Father used to always complain about working on my husband old Blazer.
He used to complain about my old Van.
It took him four times to try and fix the Alternator on my grooming Van.
He never did fix it.
We took it somewhere else and they fixed it on the first try.
About now you are most likely asking why we stayed with this Mechanic for so long.
My husband is very loyal to people.
And we really didn't have any complaints other than the complaining (really whining) about the types of cars we had.
They were very convent to drop our cars off before work and pick them up after hours on the way home.
They trusted us to shove the payment under the door.
The Father Mechanic is just a 'glass half empty' type of guy, and he didn't mind saying whatever he wanted.
Being a whiner is one thing.
Lying is another.
We would have understood if he had accidentally broken the censer.
He had been dealing with us for 15 years.
We had never given him a hard time about anything.
We had even stuck with him when he messed a couple of jobs up.
After we paid the $230 and picked up the truck, I told my husband that our customers could never have anything to complain about our customer service.
We go out of our way for our customers.
We move appointments without giving them a hard time.
We NEVER complain about their dogs, even when they are nut cases.
We don't give them a hard time when they are late for their appointments.
Although we do let them knew that we know they are late. (with a smile)
"Oh, we didn't think you were going to make this appointment today," or "Oh, we were expecting you half an hour ago. Let me check and see if they can still groom him today."
We always do, but I do like to let them sweat a little first....me mad.
We listen to all of their doggy stories.
We take good care of their dogs.
We babysit all day and don't charge for it.
We work hard to move things around if they spring an early timeout on us.
We go out of our way with special needs dogs.
We even stay after closing hours waiting for them to pick up their dogs, AND still give them another appointment.
We listen to their matted dog excuses without judging or giving them a hard time for neglecting their pet.
We smile and keep our mouths shut at some of the tactless, insensitive comments that some of them tend to make.
"Oh, he's shaking! He must not like you."
"Oh, he just didn't look quite as nice the last time you groomed him. I don't know what it was, it just didn't look as nice...."
"You won't hurt him will you?"
NO ONE can ever say that we don't give excellent customer service.
I will say that the number one comment that customers have said to me when they first come to us is; "So and so told me to come here because you guys were so nice."
Number two is; "So and so told me about you guys. She said that you guys are very nice to the dogs."
After those two comments, our grooming comes in third.
In 28 years of grooming, I have only advertized twice, once was for grooming, the other was for my Self-Serve. (I am in the phone book)
Ninety percent of my business has come from word of mouth, and I am very proud of that.
Believe me it is not always easy to smile at mean, rude, mouthy people, but I truly believe that you get a lot further with a smile than a grumpy frown.
I am also a very strong believer that the customer is NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, but they are your bread and butter, and should be treated in a kind manner, even if they are not being kind to you.
You can send them out the door with a smile, but remember, you don't ever have to give them another appointment if you don't want to. :)
Don't lie to your customer.
It will always come back to smack you in the face.
Okay...I got that off of my chest.
I wasn't too long winded tonight, was I?
Lost you about halfway through the post didn't I?
Stop writing Lisa, there is no one there anymore.
If you are still reading... the next post will be about grooming.... with pictures....I promise. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF