Sona: This article was written by my friend and colleague, Tara Scott. She is hands-down the only person I fully trust for TV, movie and book recommendations. And she’s an insightful and talented writer. You can read more of her stuff at Versus Boredom. I’m especially pleased to have Tara write for my blog because she held my hand and guided me through building it. I’m forever grateful.
I’ve always taken my car to the dealership to be serviced. I don’t know anything about cars and my husband doesn’t know much more than I do, so when I told him that I just follow the service schedule and don’t take my car to an independent mechanic, he was fine with that.
Since moving out to Calgary in May 2005, I’ve been taking my car to Crowfoot Village Honda. It’s the Honda dealership closest to where I lived when I first got here and it’s still the closest to me now. And I’ve always been satisfied with the service there, until recently.
The original issue
About a month ago Neil and I noticed that our car was acting weird, sort of like it might stall when it was idling and the engine light would occasionally flicker on when we were driving. So we figured it was best to book the car for an appointment and Neil dropped it off the following Monday.
We still hadn’t heard anything by around 3:00 pm that day and when Neil called to see if they knew what was going on, they wanted to know if they could keep the car to the next day (and no, there were no rental vehicles available). So Neil made it clear that we needed the car because we only have the one and they got it back to us at the very end of the day. Diagnosis: an electrical connection had come loose, but they reconnected it and everything should be fine now. Fast-forward to that Friday, and things weren’t fine.
The painful near break-up
I was headed to downtown to pick Neil up from work and the car started chugging again like it was going to stall, and then the next day the engine light came on and wouldn’t go off. So I called the dealership to see when we could get the car in. Wednesday at 10:00 am–no good because I would have to take the day off of work. The next available appointment was Thursday at 8:45, but they didn’t have any loaner vehicles so I would have to rent one from Enterprise.
I wasn’t happy and neither was Neil. He called another Honda dealership and booked the car there to get fixed on the Tuesday morning and borrowed a car from his parents. I set to work writing a lengthy email to the relationship manager at Crowfoot Village Honda explaining all of my frustrations with the situation and ended it by talking about how I had been taking my car there for the last five and a half years despite knowing it’s cheaper to go to an independent mechanic, how I had always planned to buy my next car there, and how Neil and I were reconsidering our relationship with the dealership.
How they won us over
By the time I sent the email I was frustrated, disheartened and not looking forward to finding a new solution for servicing our car. I talked to friends and found out the names of a few good mechanics, but really I just wanted that trusted relationship back. Given that, you can imagine my delight when I got up on the Monday morning to see a response from the relationship manager inviting us to drop off the car at our earliest convenience if we hadn’t taken it elsewhere, and even offering to pay for a rental. I was willing to give them one last try.
They were very nice to us when we dropped the car off, again reiterated their offer for a rental and, when they returned the car the next day, it had been thoroughly cleaned inside and out, and everything was free of charge. The car ran great and looked beautiful, and Crowfoot Village Honda demonstrated to us that strong customer relationships mean a lot.
It felt good to end the day by emailing the relationship manager, telling her that they’ll see us at our next service.
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