This is customer service?

    I got a reminder in the mail from a local dealer that my little car was due for its 115,000-mile checkup. The same dealer also loves its contracted service line, so I wasn’t surprised when I got a phone call noting I hadn’t followed up on the letter, and would I like to schedule an appointment?

    A brief back-and-forth ensued. I didn’t want an appointment during my kids’ spring break. The following week might work, because my work schedule is flexible, but I couldn’t pick a day until I found out how long the work would take, because the children leave school at 5 p.m. some days but 3 p.m. others.

    The person on the other end cheerily replied that she didn’t know, but we could set the appointment and someone from the service department would contact me a few days ahead and could answer any questions about cost and time.

    Well, I hadn’t even asked about cost. I know about what it costs to swap out fluids on my car, and I know that it’s getting up there in miles, so occasional expenses will crop up, like that nifty tie rod I got to buy last month.

    But the time thing was a deal breaker. I considered it a waste of time to schedule an appointment I might not be able to keep and said so, and told the caller I would just contact the dealership directly myself.

    I haven’t. If I do, I will tell them it is ridiculous to give their calling service only part of the information. They already know my car’s make, model, year and approximate mileage. They already know it needs a certain checkup. Why not just let the calling service know, for example, that if all goes according to plan it will take two hours and cost $150?

     I know there might be delays and I know all too well that surprises appear mid-inspection, but without even a guesstimate I’m not stepping foot in the door. If the point of making those calls is to get me back to their shop, they’re missing a very simple step, and at this point it’s costing them my business.

    This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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