What has the subject of excellent customer service got to do with car detailing products you might ask? I admit that most of our posts here are focused on the products, methods of use and reviews.
However a recent near disaster, that was only averted by being on the receiving end of some excellent customer service, got me thinking about how this has a real impact on all of us. Let me explain a little more…
It was on a trip back from the south of the country that things started to go wrong. We needed to get back by late afternoon, as having been away for a week, our daughter was immediately flying off to Barcelona the next day and needed to get her things in order and packed etc.
Only an hour in to what should have been a 4 hour journey the battery warning light comes on. Hoping it was a temporary glitch I turned off all unnecessary electrics and carried on.
Unfortunately the rain got torrential and the light very dim. So the wipers and lights had to be on full. It wasn’t until the airbag light then came on that I realised things were not looking good. Fortunately we managed to limp to the nearest services, by which time the wipers we doing a very slow judder across the screen and as soon as we parked all systems died.
I resigned myself to the fact that we needed to call out the RAC. Now what I haven’t mentioned until now is that this was happening on a Friday afternoon just before the bank holiday weekend.
Within the hour the RAC patrol was with us. Unfortunately so too was the heaviest rain we had encountered on the whole journey and in fact for months. However this poor guy steadfastly continued to try and coax our alternator (turns out that was the problem) back to life – despite his foam mat at one point nearly floating off down the car park!
Unfortunately his efforts were to no avail. He next tried to locate a new replacement alternator nearby. Not an easy task for the vehicle were were in. Having not managed to find one he started the procedure to get us recovered back to home, which required a large recovery truck needing to be called out from some distance away.
In the meantime we had a conversation with the RAC who advised they had made a few calls and had found a garage who had located a part and were prepared to open later to get it fitted for us. Furthermore the RAC agreed to contribute to the cost of the fitting.
The recovery truck arrives, puts the motor on the back, with me and my family in the cab and off we go. At this point it is after 5pm on the Friday before the holiday.
We arrive at the garage at about 5:30 and the car goes straight on the ramp whilst we wait in the bosses office. About 30 minutes or so later one of the young mechanics comes in to say there is a problem in that whilst the part they have received fits, the belt fitting is different and can’t be swapped.
So now we are after 6pm on the Friday evening; where on earth is anyone going to find parts depot open, never mind one that has the correct part. At this point in time I look at my wife and can see a look of sheer desperation on her face. In steps Keith – the boss.
Now I had noted that along one wall of the office there were a number of certificates from the RAC awarded for excellent service across the years – previously I would have just paid lip service to these thinking they were provided for show and did not really mean much. However what transpired next changed my view completely.
Keith was straight in the phone to as many contacts as he could find – as well as back to the RAC. At the same time he started looking at all possible part options on the screen and one in particular he knew to be connected to a local parts stores. After much searching and comparing numbers – eureka – the correct part was located! However a call to the part company merely produced the message ” I am sorry our offices are currently closed…”
Not put off by this, Keith rings the manager on his mobile, who was out and about in Bristol. Calling a big favour Keith asked the manager if he would help by opening up the depot to get the part. He agreed, although he would first have to go back home to get the keys. Keith then sent one of his lads down to the depot to meet the manager down there.
Sometime later a call comes in to say whilst the managers key opened the depot there was security grill preventing them getting to the part and for which the manager did not have the key. The grill being locked by a large industrial padlock.
Keith immediately springs into action once again calling in one of the other lads who he knows to have a petrol powered grinder – only to find he had put it into servicing the day or so before. A quick call to his wife locates the number of a family friend who he knows to have a set of industrial bolt cutters.
Again a request for help confirms Dave (I think his name was) was happy to help out and travel down to the depot from his home to assist in getting to the part.
Another call to the manager confirms he is happy with this course of action i.e cutting off the padlock from his stores to get to the part! A few minutes later however another call comes in from the manager to advise they had manged to get in touch with the employee who had the keys to the padlock.
Keith agrees for his guy to then go across to another part of Bristol to pick up these keys and take them to the depot. By this time we are approaching 8pm and I know Keith is paying his lads extra to be there and help out so it is likely he is already out of pocket on this job.
Even so he realises that with all we have been through that day, we must be starving, and he was right, especially our teenage son and daughter who were with us. So again he steps up and takes my wife down to the local Chinese takeaway so that she could get some food for us all.
So there we are – now about 8:30 pm on the Friday evening sitting in his office with a Chinese takeaway spread across his desk when his lad manages to finally get back with the correct part and start to fit it. And at 9pm the motor comes off the ramp and we are ready to head for home, which would be another few hours away in order we can get our daughter ready and on the way the next day.
During our time at the garage it did not go un-noticed by the lads that I was wearing my Meguiars fleece and Keith did mention that the lads all swore by Meguiars products.
Ali and I looked at each other and immediately we knew that we were thinking the same thing – that when we got back we would send the lads some of the Meguiars products by way of our own additional thank-you for what I can only summise as service way and above what you would reasonably expect to receive.
It may be what you would hope to receive but truthfully how many businesses out there would have gone to those lengths on a Friday evening before a bank holiday. I think many, not all, but many would have simply said they were unable to assist as it was past their opening and call the RAC back to recover us back home.
We got on well with Keith and his team while we were there and I believe that is partly because we have built our business on the same principles – that we would try as best as possible to provide the level of service to our customers as we would like to receive ourselves – something Keith and his team clearly firmly believe and practice.
So where is this fantastic team you might ask – well its Lodway Garage in Pill, near Bristol. I must also say their mechanical know-how and delivery was also excellent – they clearly know their stuff when it comes to mechanical and technical issues. And what has this got to do with car detailing products?
Well as a company who works hard to provide an excellent level of service providing detailing products to our customers it was great to be on the receiving end of such great service and even got me thinking of how we could go even further in the service we provide.
We might be fortunate that the lads at Lodway may come to us in the future for their detailing products – what is for certain is that by providing the excellent customer service they did not only will many people have learnt about it from this blog post but they will get my recommendation for many a year to come.
Have you had excellent customer service from us or any other company – please post a comment and let us know about it.