Removed From my Blog and my Life Forever

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

From the very beginning of this blog, it’s always been our practice to observe both good and bad customer experiences with the goal of learning and improving the service at the companies where we work. To that tune, we’ve highlighted plenty of poor experiences without ever naming those companies. This isn’t a review site. 

On the flip side, we’ve quite liberally praised those companies delivering positive experiences, happily naming them so others might want to do business with them.

Several months ago I praised my new mechanic for a good response to a question about a smog check. While they couldn’t smog my vehicle, their response earned my business and a good rating on our blog. 

A recent experience changed all of that, compelling me to remove their name from the blog post altogether. I even went so far as to edit the image so their logo was no longer displayed.

I guess there’s a first for everything. Here’s how it all went down.

Why the relationship went south

I was due for an oil change so I reached out to the new mechanic for an appointment. I first called, left a message, and waited more than 24 hours for a call back (I’m still waiting). 

I then went to their website and used the online form to request an appointment. Again, not hearing anything, I showed up at the time of my requested appointment. Already annoyed at their lack of response, I was prepared for a fight.

Here’s how my dialog with the manager went when I walked into the store:

Me: Hi, I’m here for an oil change and tire rotation.
Manager: Do you have an appointment?
Me: I called and left a message and I also filled out the online form on your website.
Manager: If we didn’t call or email you back, your appointment was not confirmed. You’re going to have to wait until much later today before we can work on your car.
Me: Why do you have a form for people to schedule appointments on your website if you don’t pay attention to it?
Manager: I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do.
Me: This is not how you treat customers. You just lost my business.
Manager: Alright, sir. Good luck with that.

And I walked out of the store never to return again.

The clues were there and I ignored them

Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was to go to Yelp and read their reviews. I had done so before, but this time, rather than clinging to the handful of positive reviews, I gravitated to the negative ones — especially those where the owner responded to a complaint with phrases like, “we stand by our work.”

In hindsight, there was also the time where I asked my friend, neighbor, and customer service expert Jeff Toister about them and he indicated that the service was just okay the one time he used them. It wasn’t good enough to earn his business. 

So I left a Yelp review of my own, partly to warn my neighbors, and partly to see if the owner would respond, begging for me to come back. I also hoped the owner would vow to send that manager to customer service training. Nothing of that sort has happened to date, and it probably never will.

Oh, but it gets better

I still needed a mechanic. I used to live about two miles away from where I live now with a four year stint in Oregon sandwiched in between. I loved my old mechanic but tried this new one because it’s super close to my new home.

After hunting for several minutes to find a phone number for my old mechanic (they are not at all hip to the internet), I placed a phone call. Here’s how that conversation went.

Mechanic: Hi, how can I help you?
Me: [Recognizing his voice] Is this Jeff Dorsey?
Mechanic: Yes it is. How can I help you?
Me: Hi Jeff! We just moved back into town and I was checking to see if you’re still there.
Mechanic: I am!

Sparing you the details, I scheduled an appointment with Jeff for later in the week. At the end of our call he closed with a very familiar sign off.

“Welcome back to the neighborhood, Mr Jeremy. We’ll see you soon.”

The sweetest sound in any language

I was immediately reminded of those famous words by Dale Carnegie:

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Those words certainly ring true in this situation and I immediately knew that the additional effort to take my cars to Jeff was the right decision. 

And while hearing my name was certainly great, I’m reminded that Jeff and his team earned and maintained my business over and over again with consistently helpful and friendly service. That’s why he’s my mechanic.

And now you know why that other mechanic has been edited out of my blog and my life forever.

Jeremy Watkin is Director of Customer Experience and Support at NumberBarn. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service and contact center professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, product marketing, social media, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

One comment

  • Sorry to hear about your bad experience, Jeremy. It sounds like it was the product of a broken system. Who is answering the phones? Who is checking the website for appointment requests?

    Broken systems can leave employees feeling trapped and defensive. Something tells me those items are either out of the manager’s control, and he’s upset about that, or they are within his control and his job overwhelms him.

    Either way, smart move to take your business somewhere else. I might need to hit you up for a recommendation soon!

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