Customer Service and Trust

Back in this post at the end of June I mentioned that “[our car’s] engine has developed a nasty rattle which the garage want £200 just to take apart and diagnose (and then another £200 to put it back together).”

I wanted to reflect on the process we went through to get this fixed.

The garage mentioned was actually our local Peugeot dealer. A company that I’ve gone to in the past to get work done under warranty and to get servicing done in order to get the “Peugeot” stamp in the book. I also had no reason to think that any other garage was going to give me better service.

Having said that, the service was pretty bad. In the past they have:
– failed to diagnose a serious fault;
– charged me vast labour charges for trivial jobs that I could have done myself;
– consistently not called me when they said they would – I always have to chase them on the phone;
– generally not shown much interest in customer service at all.

I THINK that some of this is because they’re just too busy, but it leads to a complete lack of trust in their ability to do a good job.

So, on the recommendation of several friends, I took my car to Cross Street Garage in Swindon. I explained the situation, that the Peugeot people wanted to strip down a cylinder just to diagnose my rattle – which, in my opinion didn’t seem to be coming from the cylinders – and charge me upwards of £400 for doing it. They said they would take a look and give me a call later on.

And…true to their promise, they took a look. The guy on the phone was actually the guy that took a look, and he said the rattle was coming from the top of the engine and that it was probably a spark-plug or an injector loose. I gave him the go-ahead to do some further looking at it and he said he’d call me back.

And…he called me back. It WAS a loose spark plug. He’s tightened it up and would charge me about £30 labour for doing it.

Now, that is what I expect from an “expert”. This man not only saved me over £350 by taking a sensible approach to diagnosing the fault, but he’s done exactly what he said he would. He may well have lost some money by not doing the bigger job, but he has my trust. And my trust will win him more work in the future.

Reflecting on this then; I work in the customer service industry – OK, I’m third line, which means that there are two layers of people our customers need to go through before they get to deal with me – but I have the chance to set, meet, and exceed, my customer’s expectations. I’m incredibly busy, but doing these little jobs for people gets their trust, and makes them come back for more.

There are probably loads of stories out there like this and it’s important to those of us that deal with customers that we’re constantly challenged by them.

In the mean time – I think out car’s due a service now. I wonder which garage I’ll be taking it to?!