I write to you today to explore a) what *customer service* is and b) why there *might* be reasons your service department has trouble implementing said customer service.
In 2010 my dreams came true.... yes, I understand most little girls dream of growing up to Miss America or even the President.... however, given my current size I think any dreams I might have had about being Miss America floated away on a sea of Hostess Donuts and Diet Coke - and frankly, if Hillary can't get elected to the seat - I think my odds are slim at best. In any regard, at 35 with two kids, my Dream was a car with sliding doors, captain's chairs and third row seating.
That summer we had traveled to Leavenworth, WA and my parents had rented us a Mazda5 to make the trip in (because our 2005 Saturn Vue was a bit long in the tooth and my Dad worried we wouldn't make it over the passes). Anyhow..... upon arriving to the Enterprise lot I DAMN. NEAR. LOST. MY. MIND when the skinny, just out of high school kid, took me over to what *looked like* a compact car from the front and I (very) grumpily announced that we needed a V.A.N. (As we had already requested).
My hand to G*d.... when that skinny kid slid open the back passenger door open there was a chorus of angels singing over his shoulder, light shone all around the car with the kind of glow that I have to work in photoshop for hours to achieve.... and sirs: I was IN LOVE.
The whole trip up and back was a wonderland of just HOW. MUCH I adored this little car. It was FAST. It was GREAT on gas mileage. It was COMFORTABLE! The kids loved the sliding doors and our trip was made soooooooo much easier by driving this Mazda 5.... not mention that the gas mileage was fantastic in spite of the a/c being on and all the mountain passes! In spite of our meager finances, I set about a plan there and then to own a Mazda5 of my own.
See... that's the Dreaming part.
We had been saving out tax return because we were supposed to go to Disneyland in February of 2011 (looong story, but my bestestfriendinthewholewideworld was coming from Scotland to Disneyland and it took me years to save up to go). I did the math and figured that if we used our plane ticket money on a down payment for the Mazda5, we could *drive* to LA and come out with a trip AND a new car......
Yes, you read that right: I traded a trip on a plane with comfy seats and pretty people bringing me cool drinks and a few hours of fussy kids for a TWO DAY TRIP of boredom, heat, boredom, fast food, fussy kids, bored kids, tired kids and hotel rooms where one had blood ON THE SHEETS upon our arrival.
I happily traded that in to make my Dream Come True: owning a Mazda5.
With school starting in the fall having a third row meant car pooling with friends and pick-ups for play dates... and sure, I know that the *real* dream for most Moms is a Honda Odyssey... and don't kid yourself - I WOULD LOVE a Honda Odyssey... but that was never going to be in the financial cards for El Capitan and I. So, the Mazda5 became the Van of My Affection.
In the fall I had figured out my finances enough to afford the Mazda5 but *only* if the payment was $225 per month or less. After MUCH going back and forth...... it was. We traded in the Buick Park Avenue we had 'inherited' from my parents who had 'inherited' it from my Grandma years before and that coupled with my meager down payment - I drove home a Happy Girl in The WonderVan of My Dreams.
As with most dreams.... this one has been a bit short lived. When I purchased the Saturn (more on that later) - I took it to the dealer for EVERY. LITTLE. THING. Oil changes, routine maintenance... everything. And in the eight years we've owned that car it has needed NOTHING ELSE. Except tires and new brakes (at 50,000 and 70,000 miles).
See, I have this philosophy since I don't take my dog to the ER when it's sick and I don't show up at the vets office to have my broken leg set.... I figure that my new car should *always* go back to its own personal shop of trained mechanics to be worked on. Yes yes... I *know* this costs more and dealer prices are more than standard mechanic prices - but I figure if I'm making payments on a new car - it damn well better last.
While this philosophy has paid off in spades with my Saturn.... they great service department, knew me by my first name, and I never had a problem with the car.... YOUR SERVICE DEPARTMENT is a different story.
Every SINGLE TIME I go YOUR service department.... the men there act like *they* are doing *me* a favor. After I bought the car I looked on the intake sheet and YOU (as in, *you* the dealership) noted that the paint job had a lot of scratches.... that's YOUR WORDS, written in black pen.... I called back to inquire about this and asked if there was possibly an issue with my paint job......? YOU said no.
You were wrong. I could wash that car with a cashmere sweater and it'll scratch. The entire damn car is COVERED in scratches.... since DAY ONE. :(
Then, there's the need to have the BRAKES and THE TIRES replaced within the first 30,000 miles.... huh? It almost seems like, when you buy a house the contractor usually puts in 'contractor carpet' - it's either yucky beige or grey and it's sh*tty carpet.... it's *not* made to last forever..... I feel like Mazda put in 'contractor' brakes, tires and paint on my car.... like - I'm supposed to buy the damn thing and then decide I want it painted a new color and pay for that?
Then today. Oh.... *today*. Today your service department went down in flames and it went just like this:
MAZDA: "Service Department... how can I help you?"
ELLE: "Yes, I have a 2010 Mazda 5 in the driveway and it won't start."
MAZDA: "What do you mean it 'won't start'?"
ELLE: "I drove it home - about three miles last night - parked it in the driveway and locked it. I came out this morning and the key turns, but it won't move out of PARK, the wheel *isn't locked*, the lights come on, the dash lights up, the radio and a/c both come on - but nothing else happens - also - no matter what - the little red light saying the car is "locked" keeps staying on even when the car isn't locked......?"
MAZDA: "It's probably the battery."
ELLE: "Well.... may be? But ALL the lights and the radio and everything are running fine - and in my experience a 'dead battery' means nothing works - lights, radio, etc."
ELLE: "Okaaaaay. What should I do now?"
MAZDA: "I dunno.... I guess if you can get it here I can take a look at it......"
************Wait a friggin' second. For the record - I DID NOT CALL MCDONALDS and ask them for advice on my broken down Mazda - just like I'm not going to show up at the Mazda dealership and order a BigMac and a large fry and expect it to arrive..... However - I'm CALLING THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT AT THE DEALERSHIP FROM WHOM I PURCHASED MY CAR. The same damn dealership who I pay FOR ALL MY PREVIOUS SERVICES... oil changes, new brakes, blah blah blah.... Should I not be calling them when said car won't start? **********************
ELLE: "How do I get it there if I can't start it.....?"
MAZDA: "You could have it towed."
ELLE: "Ok... and if it turns out later that this is an issue covered under the warranty - will you pay me back for the tow?"
MAZDA: [insert muffle chuckle here] "Well, no *I'm* not going to reimburse you - but Mazda might."
WHAT THE EVER LOVING F*CK? I'm sorry.... I usually try to keep this blog somewhat "pg"... but anyone who knows me also knows that I have a loving and healthy relationship with the fword and I use it all the effing time. But honestly.... I'm surprised my head didn't explode right there and then.
So.... while cursing up a storm that would make my Grandma turn blue...... I find the MAZDA phone number, and call them. Then, they transfer me Mazda Road Side Service. *THEY* go through the same conversation with me only HE - Jose at extension XXXX - tells me that if the 'car locked' red light is blinking when the car IS NOT locked, then it's a issue with the Mazda - AND I'm well under the 36,000 for the warranty and they will send a tow truck out FREE OF CHARGE and fix it FREE OF CHARGE. (he looked that up using his magical powers of wisdom - because he's not a trained mechanic - and it says the thing about the little red light in a book about my Mazda - that's what Jose said.)
So, the truck comes - the car goes to the dealer.... upon seeing said service guy I politely ask him *why* he is so rude to me ALL THE TIME. He pointedly tells me that he's not... that I'm WRONG - that the car lock light is ALWAYS blinking even when a Mazda is NOT locked (a theory I will test later... believe me....) and he doesn't see what the problem is because the car starts now.
Well... I say, please look over the car and MAKE SURE I'm not going to get stranded with my kids somewhere and I leave my Dad's phone number because he knows my Dad because my Dad has a Mazda from the SAME dealership. (This is the THIRD car my family has purchased from THIS dealer).
Funny..... 30 minutes later my Dad calls - not only is there some kind of electrical problem that was causing it NOT to start... but there is a RECALL on my Mazda for a fuel line problem and they have to keep it for a few days......
Hmm...... really? REALLY? *I* - little ole' untrained me was RIGHT? No.... shocker.
Since when do we do the BARE MINIMUN for people? SINCE WHEN does a service department manager chuckle at distressed women who can't start their NEWISH CAR That they are still making payments on? Was it *too much* to expect that said service manager *might* pull up my car - see it's age/VIN/recal status and SEE that it was still UNDER WARRANTY and offer to HELP ME?
Again... I wasn't calling TARGET with this issue - I was calling the MAZDA SERVICE DEPARTMENT - a place brimming with mechanics and 'trained Mazda technicians'.... and got NO SERVICE AT ALL.
Perhaps you should re-title yourselves the Mazda Non-Service Department.. it's far more suiting.
So now. I am sans car. My Dream is long over. What was once a WonderVan of Happiness is now a Scratched Up Tin Can of Annoyance because G*d forbid I actually NEED any kind of servicing on the vehicle I have to deal with Chucko the Ass-Clown who offers me ...... nothing. nada. zip. zilch in the way of what anyone else on the planet would recognize as CUSTMER SERVICE.
Here's how it *should* have gone:
ELLE: calls and tells man on the phone car won't start and why... blah blah - see above
MAZDA: "Well, I see that you're within the mileage for warranty coverage, so let me put you in touch with our Road Side Service Department who will tow your car here and we can have a look at it. Regardless of the issue's related to starting the vehicle, there is a recall on the fuel line and we can also get that taken care of while it's here.... sorry for the inconvenience, but we'll get it worked out and let you know what the issue is."
THAT is good customer service. Was it really all that hard......?
These are my first world problems today..... that my newish car doesn't run.... it's not much, after all I'm not living in the damn thing - so life could be much worse. I'm just tired... tired of being surrounded by people who do a half-ass job and then get all uppity when I call them on it.
Again... it's a lesson in settling... settle for El Capitan and you get Yoga Girl. Settle for a Mazda 5 WonderVan and you get.... well... see above.
Now my Dreams are different.... now I have a new Dreams - and you can watch for me screaming past you on the sidewalk in my Black Honda Odyssey of Exhilaration & Service with Robbie Wiliams blaring out the speakers..... because, I heard that once you go 'Honda' you never go back....... bwahahahahahahaha
Rant over. Thanks for listening.