Overall, I’m pretty easy on customer service. I don’t yell at service on the phone, I don’t bitch at waitresses, and if I feel like I’ve asked more than normal out of a server, I make sure to tip more than normal. Like everyone, I’ve experienced exceptionally bad customer service, but even then you have to push me to get me to be a jerk.
That’s not to say I don’t want to yell at people, but I do my best not to be a dick.
I’ve been thinking about this because lately, I want to yell. A company has me so wound up that every time they call, I want to tear into the person on the phone. At this point, the guy sounds like he’s expecting it, but it’s not fair to kick a cowering dog.
As I mentioned on Wednesday, our family car needed a break job. I assumed this would be an easy in-and-out sort of service and I’ve been entirely wrong since we dropped it off. We were actually on our way out of town when the breaks started grinding while the car was moving, so we took it in to Les Schwab.
I should have known better than to take the car there, but really, how often can one place fuck up? Shaun had taken my truck in for new tires last year and had to sit for hours, waiting. They had to get the right tires from another location and when the delivery driver showed up, he dropped the wrong tires off and grabbed the only ones they had in stock for my truck and left. The store went from having a couple tires that fit to no tires. But okay, it was a fluke, that’s fine.
Later last year, we took a work vehicle in for an alignment after buying new tires for it. When they got into it, it was discovered that it needed about $1000 in front end work before it could be aligned. They didn’t call us to tell us, they merely waited for us to show up, handed us the keys, and said (I truncate): “We can’t align it until this work is done.” The end. They could do the work but that was never mentioned, I was given no estimate, and they didn’t tell me what my options were. He seemed surprised when I asked if they could do the work and responded, “Well, yeah.”
After that, they ordered the wrong parts for the van repeatedly. What was supposed to be done on Friday or Saturday took us postponing jobs and finally getting the van Tuesday night because they got the part numbers wrongs.
But we took the car there anyway, because it’s the option without going out of our way. I knew from the beginning it was going to go poorly; when I corrected my phone number with the guy that helped me, he didn’t write it down. I guess he just made it up later. Tuesday afternoon, I got to wondering why they hadn’t called and of course, they had my number wrong. The conversation was brilliant though:
“So, front boots/rotors/brake pads/lube, all bad, $500.”
“Okay, if it needs it.”
“Well…there’s something else. Back boots, pads, maybe rotors, can’t know yet.”
*sigh* “Well, I need the car to work, so let’s…”
“Well…there’s something else. Front axles, etc.”
“…Can you just give me a total?”
“Yeah, I can do that. But there’s something else…”
The flow of the conversation made me laugh, but I died a little inside. I wasn’t expecting that big of a repair bill, but I need the car to stop when I press the breaks, so…it had to be fixed. They said they could get parts and have it done by Wednesday afternoon. Also, I managed not to cry on the phone.
And when they called on Wednesday, I knew the news before he started talking. This time, “they parts had been miss-boxed” and they’d gotten all the wrong parts to put my car back together. But it was okay, because they were sorry, and they had a truck coming in Friday and the parts would be on that. It’s not like I can drive it with bad breaks, so I smiled and nodded and said that was fine.
Then when they called Friday, I almost lost it. For whatever reason, the parts they needed hadn’t gotten placed on Friday’s truck. So no car. No breaks. No boots, rotors, or axles. But the parts were going to get on a truck going to a different store on Saturday, and they would send someone over to that store to pick them up.
At this point, the guy sounded like I was the last call on earth he wanted to make. He’s been the one I’ve talked to since they first got my number wrong and couldn’t get in contact with me. This guy knew they’d royally fucked up, time and time again, and he was ready for the barrage.
Honestly, I wanted to let loose on this guy. I’m so done with this store that I want to make sure I’m not even allowed back in there. It’s felt like every visit is an experiment in being jerked around. I even have words that I’ve invented to yell at people for maximum irateness. But the guy is truly apologetic, and it won’t actually fix my car any faster. So I swallowed it and just smiled and nodded some more.
I still somewhat want to give them an earful when/if I get my car back but even then, I’ll most likely just take my business elsewhere. There’s no real benefit to picking a fight with these guys. I still have to pay them, and it still took the time that it did. But we own four vehicles, and none will go back there, ever.