Fixing a Car – a Customer Happiness Story

Car

Around two months ago, while driving through Serbia, our car suddenly started beeping. We first thought the beeping was part of the song that was on the radio, but it wasn’t. The beeping would last for a couple of seconds and then it would repeat after ~10 minutes. Soon, we would hear the beeping every 2 minutes.

I pulled over and started inspecting. No red lights and errors on the dashboard, no any obvious indications of the problem. So, we opened all the doors including the trunk, and closed them again, to make sure they are really closed. And, the culprit was revealed! The system was reporting that the trunk door was still open, even though it was closed. The red light flashed. And it was annoying!

Choosing a Mechanic

I always drive my car to the same car mechanic. He lives a bit far away from me but I know he always gets the job done flawlessly. However, I do know that he doesn’t tamper with the electric stuff in cars and I also wanted to check whether I can pimp the ride a bit and add parking sensors! So, I didn’t call him this time. I called some other folks who repaired cars of several of my friends. I never got any feedback on their work but I know a few of my friends were their customers. Alright, let’s go there!

I call them on the phone and explain the problem with the trunk and add that I’d like to have parking sensors added as well. Since they are super-busy, they scheduled me for 1 week from then. That’s cool, I thought, they must have lots of customers which means they are good. Alright, I’ll wait for a week!

The Day

After a week of looking at the red light on the car’s dashboard and hearing the beeping whenever I start the car ( yes, it was extremely annoying 🙂 ), the day finally comes. I drive the car to the mechanic which takes me around 40 minutes – of course, I need to drive when the traffic is the highest in Belgrade in the morning. I arrive at the place, I have a brief conversation with the mechanic and let him know again what the problem is and add the thing about the parking sensors. He nods, says it will be done by 4pm, we agree on the price, and I go back home by bus ( which took me around 1h and 20 minutes).

The Call

Checking the car

So far, so good. It’s 10am, I am back home, and I am getting ready to start my work day. Yep, one of the perks of working at Automattic is that you can work from home. And yes, we are hiring!

Back to the story. Around 10:30, the phone rings. It’s the mechanic. He says they won’t be able to add the parking sensors like we agreed since it will involve some drilling, heavy-lifting, and other incredibly difficult tasks that they simply cannot finish today. The next free time they have so that they can focus on this is going to be in 5 days. And of course, they already scheduled me for that time and he’s calling just to confirm it. And to let me know I can come and take my car, of course.

I ask about the trunk door problem. Can they at least get that problem fixed today? He says they’ll look into it right away and do their best.

The Return

Alright, so I already lost the whole morning and I’ll have to change my plans for the afternoon/evening since I’ll have to work. No problem, let’s just go and get the car.

After another hour of driving by bus and around 10-minute walk, I am back to the crime scene. I see my car but I don’t see the mechanic I spoke to earlier and on the phone. There’s another mechanic, though, so I ask him about the car.

The Peak

So this is the culmination of the story (therefore the awesome photo above!). This mechanic tells me that they couldn’t add the parking sensors since that’s incredibly difficult and they’ll need a lot more time and effort ( yes, of course, I learned that on the phone two hours ago ). Also, that’s going to cost me extra because of the heavy-lifting they need to do when I get back in 5 days. And it’s already scheduled even though I didn’t agree on that. Alright, but I had to ask about the trunk door problem and whether that’s fixed. Unfortunately and completely unexpectedly, it wasn’t. The reason is, of course, it involves a lot of drilling, heavy-lifting, and other incredibly difficult tasks that they simply cannot finish that day. However, they’ll finish it in 5 days during my next appointment that’s already scheduled. Of course.

Fixing the Problem

Well, you can guess the end of the story. I take my car keys, I tell them to drill something else in 5 days, and I drive back home. After wasting 1 week on waiting, 5 hours on going back and forth that morning, I call my mechanic and schedule an appointment in 2 days. In 2 days, I drive the car to him and he fixes the trunk problem in under 1 hour. And he gives me a phone number of a guy who can add parking sensors to my car.

The Question

I still don’t get this and it still bugs me. Why didn’t I just call my mechanic in the first place? 🙂

2 Comments on “Fixing a Car – a Customer Happiness Story

  1. > I do know that he doesn’t tamper with the electric stuff in cars
    I think that’s a wrong assumption exacerbated by your excitement to get parking sensors added to your car 😀

    Thanks for sharing this interesting story. Great reminder to always be aware of and challenge our assumptions.

    In my life too, some of the great annoyances are caused by incorrect assumptions. So I guess we all make them.

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