21 April 2007

Doing a Great Dis-Service

Is it merely me, or has the customer service industry really gone to s--- in the past few years?

I began to notice small things, like heading through the drive thru at several fast food restaurants. I used to work drive-thru back in the day, and generally we'd wait for the customer to make a long pause, indicating they were finished ordering. Of course, then we'd try to get them to make an additional purchase, but that was pushed on us by managers.

Nowadays, I can barely get one part of an order out before they ask "Is that it?"

This is especially entertaining when I (apparently an adult, since I'm driving a car) order a Happy Meal first thing...

Okay, so that's a minor rant...and easily attributable to people becoming more rude in current times.

A few weeks ago, our couch began to make squeaking noises when we sat down. Since it was still under the one-year warranty, we called up the store to get it fixed. They came over and picked it up, then took it back to the store. Days went by, and finally they called to tell us that they'd be bringing it back. So, once we got it back and the truck had left, we finally got a chance to sit.

Lo and behold, the couch still made the same noise.

So, we called them up and explained the situation to them, and they agreed to come back out and get it. The manager we spoke with assured us that he would "personally" make sure the couch got fixed. We'll see.

Fast forward to just yesterday...

Our (American) car, less than 2 years old, begins to make rubbing noises when turning right. Obviously, this shouldn't be happening, even though it has just under 36,000 miles on it.

So, we take it back to the dealer to get it fixed under warranty. At first, they tell us that they won't be able to get it in for a few days. We find out through our original saleswoman that the dealer foots the bill for a rental when you bring cars in for warranty work, so we take them up on it.

Now, one would expect that since we have a four-door vehicle, with two small children, they would pony up for a similar vehicle. Instead, we get stuck with a two-door with limited room to navigate in the back seats. Not much fun with car seats and booster seats...

So, it was with much jubilation that we received a call later that evening telling us that they'd been able to get our car in and fix the problem (We discovered later that it was because the dealer only pays for a rental for one day). We drove back to the dealer, swapped cars, and everything seemed okay. The problem was apparently fixed and all was well with the world again.

Then, we drove about two miles down the road, and the problem popped back up. (Have I mentioned my disgust with American vehicles?)

I only hope that they didn't try a quick fix so that we wouldn't be able to get the car back in before it topped the 36,000 warranty limit (yes, it's that close). Even if that happens, I'll be rather forceful when explaining to them the meaning of true customer service...