‘Customer service’ is a difficult thing to achieve. It’s a bit of a buzzword for corporatedom… but does anybody really think what it is? Well, really, it’s about giving people what they want, for a price they think is fair (or better still, a bargain!), and the icing on the cake is to throw in something unexpected to delight them. All done with friendly politeness, but not descending into uncomfortable obsequiousness (I will never take pleasure in a person older than me calling me Sir!).
That’s my take on it anyway, as a customer, that’s generally what floats my boat. I suspect many people’s ideas of what constitutes good service might vary slightly – but I think the core of addressing your needs, for a price you’re prepared to pay and polite/friendly are pretty core to all but perhaps a sado-masochist or similar. That might not be good service at the ‘Be a Gimp for the day’ emporium, for example, but that’s another train of thought entirely…
So anyway, over the last couple of weeks I have encountered what I believe to be the very Apex of my experience of such things.
It all started when the dreaded note popped up on my car’s display – “Service C due in x miles”.. naturally the number of miles was sufficient to procrastinate away for a while; but after a while I started to think about actually planning getting the work done. I checked the prices at the Mercedes dealership, was revived from the floor, and then decided to opt for something else. You see, having had work done there before, they’re very good – and they’re polite (teetering on the brink of fawning, though), but so fecking expensive it’s untrue.
Which is why I was chuffed as hell to discover MB Nottingham. If you have a Mercedes in Nottingham, or indeed if you are unfortunate enough to live in Derby or Leicester, then it’s worth keep these guys details. I dropped them an email from work, they got back to me pretty quickly quoting a price much much much lower than the main dealership – still using Mercedes trained mechanics, and still using Mercedes approved parts. That was me sold, so I duly booked in.
They had offered to collect and return my car, but I opted instead to drop my car in on a saturday morning – upon doing so, was offered a lift to and from the City Centre rather than hanging around or making my own way somewhere else – how cool! So I mooched around Nottingham for an hour and a half or so before getting a call from the garage, a few filters and things not included in the service were worn out, did I want to replace them too? Also the brake pads were 95% worn and the front tyres were heading to be borderline legal soon…
… “Argh!” thinks cynical I, “This is where they make the cash!”… not so, having asked for a breakdown of prices, the service, filter replacements and the brake pads would come to a smidgen over the Mercedes service alone. I had asked them to hang fire on the tyres so I could shop around a bit. So, another call when it was ready, and a car waiting to pick me up where we’d arranged – rock and roll! They hadn’t got the brake pads they needed, so had ordered them – so I booked the car in for the following weekend, and asked for a price on the tyres too – which were, as it happens, very competitive too, so I asked them to do that too.
Fast forward to this saturday, I again took the car to them, confirmed everything and handed over the keys – and as an afterthought asked them to check the wheel alignment for me, as I’d noticed it pulling slightly to the side. This was all agreed, and this time I opted to wander from the garage down by the canal to get a coffee and some breakfast whilst the work was going on.
The bottom line is I got what I needed – my car being serviced, as well as some needed maintainance both pointed out to me and remedied once I’d given it the go ahead, I wouldn’t say I was happy to hand over the amount of money it cost, but I know had I taken it to the Mercedes garage it would’ve cost a great deal more – so I do believe I paid a fair price. The team I dealt with were all polite and friendly without being obsequious, and – to top it all off – a follow-up letter arrived in the post in between appointments with a card entitling me to free breakdown cover from them for a year.
They come highly recommended from me.