Another Lesson in Customer Service


Businesses we work with in our private lives seem absolutely devoted to continuing to remind us how critical great customer service is.  We will keep “listening” and focusing on those lessons at Support For Home.

We used to be major BMW fans.  Between the two of us, we have owned three of them, including the currently-possessed-by-demons 545i.  We actually do not blame the Niello BMW dealership in Sacramento for the demons.  We may have picked them up anywhere.  We have our suspicions as to where, but that would just be guessing – and that would be wrong.

It all started about eleven days ago, when the low coolant light came on.  We took it into the dealership and they said they saw no problem but topped the coolant level up.  OK. 

Then, ten days ago (yes, that would be the next day) when we stopped at Trader Joe’s (no, that is not where the demons came from; we think Trader Joe’s really GETS customer service).  When we came out, we noticed two small pools of liquid in the front of the car.  It was Saturday and too late to get the car in for service, so we took it in Monday morning.  In our garage, the two small pools became a bit bigger, while we waited.

The liquid that leaked out did not feel like “coolant,” which was our first thought.  It was “oily” and coming from two spots in the front.  I even ventured a guess about power steering fluid – but don’t get ahead of me, here.

Monday, at the service department, they “could not confirm a leak” (yes, that was their language; sort of felt a bit unbelieving, but …), so they kept the car overnight.  Eventually, they found a very small hole in a cooling system hose.  Of course it was not under warranty, silly!  Argh.  But, problem fixed, right?  Not so much.

Several days later, we pick up the car and drive it home.  By the time we reach home, we have a warning light about increased emissions and the Check Engine light is lit.  So, the next morning, the car is back in the shop. 

NOW they decide to do some actual diagnostics – but no, it is obviously not the full set; wait for it.  The problem now is in the fuel system, where there is a leak that elminates the needed vacuum.  And, of course, it takes several more days to fix it and do the quality control checks.

By this time, we are truly not happy campers.  With all the tools at their disposal, why a BMW dealer cannot find ALL the problems that are going on and fix them is a bit beyond our comprehension.  But, at last, yesterday, the exorcism is complete.  The demons are expelled.

Uh, except that, this morning the car has been driven about 1/4 of a mile when a warning light comes on that says there is a failure in the steering or suspension system (uh, that would be from a leak, the screen innocently tells us) and the car will explode in 23 seconds if we don’t stop driving right now!

Well, OK, it did not say the car was going to explode.  It actually said I was going to explode.  One hour and one tow truck later, the car is on its way to the Niello dealership one more time.  That was now 5.5 hours ago, and, in spite of calling for an update, nobody from the dealership’s service department seems to want to talk to us. 

By our count, there are about 194 customer service lessons that can be extracted from all this.  We will be working hard to make sure we learn from them.

Best wishes, Bert

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