Customer Service

Car dealers don't make it easy

So I called Findlay Volkswagen a bit ago about the Emissions Workshop! light on the Passat. I wanted to know how long it would take for them to hook it up to the computer when I bring it in so I could make an appointment. They have no idea. Or that's what Brian wanted me to believe. He tried to explain that because of the 150 possible causes of the light being on they had no idea how long it would take to hook up the computer and check it out. Hogwash. They know exactly how long it will take. I finally asked if it would take more or less than six weeks to get the diagnosis.

When customer service fails

It is sad. It has happened again. What is it? The failure of customer service. I see it happen all the time in all sorts of organizations. Companies start out as small organizations. They will do anything for customers and build a loyal following. Then the organization grows and starts to put policies and procedures in place. This is absolutely necessary. Without these measures the organization will collapse inwards and no one will be served.

Down the line the organization grows and what was a team of ten becomes fifteen and even twenty. The original people who felt they company was a part of their flesh and blood leave. Replacements are hired. Employees start going to the job instead of going to their careers. And you end up with a situation like I once again encountered yesterday.

It is not the same without Earl

We went to eat at the steakhouse at the Gold Strike in Jean, Nevada last evening. It's the third time we've eaten at this quaint upscale joint. The price tags are a bit on the high side for a small place along the highway, but the high end decor and low lighting make it a good time anyway. That is it has been a good time on two of our three visits. Earl the host/waiter gives the place a charming classic feel. Last week, however, Earl was in a car accident and so he wasn't there last night. First there were no tables in non-smoking and we were told it would be an hour and a half wait. We finally got a table in smoking with five people around the table for four. After about 20 minutes of total invisibility the extremely unfriendly hostess told us somebody would be there soon. It was then that she seated the cigar-smoking regulars at the next table. Mind you she didn't put them as far away as possible, rather stuck them right next to the non-smoking party she had just forced into a smoking section. (Although in truth it's extremely that anyone in the "non-smoking" section didn't get the second-hand smoke of the stogies from the next table. As the stogie totting regulars lit up I though this was going to ruin the flavor of the whole meal.

Elk Mountain Volkswagen, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

It never ceases to amaze me how some businesses don't understand that a positive customer experience can be well worth a small inconvenience. We stopped at a place that is clueless about customer service today. Elk Mountain Volkswagen (the other half of Elk Mountain Audi) in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Arriving at 8:00 when the service department opened the first thing they needed to know is if we had an appointment. We didn't and the appointments apparently hadn't shown up yet (there was not a single other customer in sight). I explained we had a check engine light and emissions workshop needed and how long wold it take to have it hooked up to the computer and see what the diagnostic codes reveal. For this task (which takes less than 5 minutes) the would be happy to do it if we'd leave the car all morning. So a person who would pay $80 for 5 minutes of work is turned away while the mechanics cool their heels waiting for the previously scheduled appointments to show up. No wonder Volkswagen dealers have such outstanding reputations.

Can you hear me now?

Note to Verizon: Why is it you can't get your call centers to work together? Why is it that every time I call I get transfered to at least three centers and the last one is "gone for the day"? Perhaps this why you have to charge such outrageous fees for your lousy service? Maybe if you weren't spending so much time transferring potentially fee paying customers about and putting them through to numbers only to hear "call back later" you'd have more money to improve your service. Just a thought...

Good Luck Daron

Daron set out on the next leg of his journey today. We are each given chances in life to make extraordinary things happen. The once, daily, good-humor show in the midst of the office, the foil to joust ideas with, the joys and frustrations will now be shared in a different way. Congratulations, Daron, on taking this opportunity to follow your heart.


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