CUSTOMER SATISFACTION – Part Two
I posted Part One on this subject when I was frustrated with a personal experience on October 16, 2010 if you would like to recall that incident. Just search the subject in the box provided on the current blog. To prepare you for a new incident I have repeated the opening paragraph to educate some who may not be familiar with the subject.
“I have spent most of my adult life trying to educate businesses to understand one simple principle, “Customer Service” is not even close to “Customer Satisfaction”. Ninety nine percent of all American businesses and certainly our government still train their people to respond when complaints are registered. This always has been and likely always will be the way we do business. American industry has added training to speed up the process. Our government never has nor never will speed up anything to help their customer, you and me. Customer service to fix a problem is a reaction, not an action, to address the specific incident. Customer Satisfaction is to design and produce a product or service that meets “EVERY” aspect of the marketing promise, 100% of the time. “To err is human” is a statement invented by American politicians and academia to explain failure. Acceptance of this unfortunate adage is nothing more than planned failure, why? I encourage anyone who reads this message to challenge this with facts.”
About the 20th of March we had an abnormally hot day for spring. My wife, Norma, was driving her 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup and I decided to turn on the air conditioner and it provided no cooling. This is called a malfunction technically. When we returned home she called “Hixon Toyota” in Leesville, Louisiana to get an appointment to bring the vehicle in at 1pm the next day.
To set the stage for you to get the full impact it is necessary to include that Hixon’s dealership, where we purchased the truck is 66 miles from our home just outside Hemphill, Texas. Although we have a Toyota dealer only 60 miles away in Lufkin I had purchased the truck at Hixon. I know not why today.
We took the truck in the next day at 1pm as they requested. After about two hours they advised us there was no Freon in the system and that they did not have any Freon in stock and had sent someone to town to buy some. After another hour we were advised that although the A/C was working, they could not find a reason it had leaked out so they put some dye in the system so if it malfunctioned again they could actually solve the problem. So after a 90 minute drive, 3 hours in the waiting room we departed for another 90 minute drive home. Round trip 132 miles 6 hours total time.
The reason for the 90 minutes is the only access road to get to Hixon’s is under major repair and has been for quite some time. Road work planning and construction in Louisiana would take a book to explain. Another incident caused by Diamond B Construction Co. LLC, the largest road construction company in Louisiana, damaged my 2009 Honda Pilot some two years ago and still has not been paid. Dealing with Louisiana companies when you are from another State is nothing but a waste of time. I went through the State and after four months wasting my time with Terry Sassong and Jackie Williams of Diampnd B, I gave up trying to get reimbursed for damage they inflicted with their sloppy work.
Well guess what, on April 18 we had another hotter than normal day. If you know anything about A/C it was a certainty that if it leaked once and nothing was repaired, the sucker is 100% guaranteed to leak again, and it did. Norma called and made an appointment for 1pm the next day.
After another 3 hour wait we were advised that they would have to have the truck for two full days to repair the problem they had finally located. As it was Friday afternoon they told us to bring it back early Monday morning, April 22 and they would have it fixed by Wednesday. Six more hours and another 132 miles again.
I took it back at 8am on Monday as requested. It took one hour to get me in a rent car that would have fit in the back of the pickup for my return home. I was advised and had to sign statements agreeing that my use of the rent car allowed only 100 miles a day and if the gas tank was not full on return it would cost $5.00 a gallon to refill. Another 4 hours and I used 66 of my free 100 miles getting home.
I sent Toyota an E mail advising them of the fact I was really not happy with this event so far and I still have had no reply. I am conditioned to taking vehicles back many times to get things “Serviced” that should not happen if they were designed and built right as I drove GM vehicles most of my life. GM has at least three trips designed in but I did not expect this from Toyota.
Wednesday came and at noon we had no word from Hixon. Norma called and was advised that they had finally found a part in California to fix the air conditioner but it would take two weeks to get it to Leesville. Remember the bad road situation and it was apparently being shipped by Pony Express as UPS offers one day service to me. She was also advised that they had discovered an oil leak that had been fixed and they needed the rent car back ASAP. Before I could even get ready for another 6 hour ordeal they called back and said to wait until Thursday as the truck was not ready yet. We had no idea what that meant.
As I had a dental appointment Thursday, they were advised it would be Friday before we could come get the truck and I was the only driver allowed to drive the itty bitty rent car.
We arrived at Hixon’s, after gassing up the rent car at 4pm. Had to sign a warranty document that stated that we told them it had an oil leak when we brought it in. We have no indication of an oil leak in our garage and we have never raised the hood on the truck. I really do appreciate that they fixed something we were unaware of. Although the truck is 19 months old it has less than 7,000 miles indicated and it had nearly 500 when we bought it. Happily it only took 5 minutes to be advised that they would call in two weeks to have us bring it back to repair of the A/C. Can’t you tell how I love to take things to be repaired?
I hope this will help explain the difference between Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction. I would love to have other incidents that may have happened if you would share them with me? When I related this story to my Dentist he advised of a similar customer service incident he had with Loving Toyota in Lufkin Texas. He called for an appointment to get his Toyota serviced that he bought at Loving. As his time is critical he asked for a time at 1pm on any Wednesday or Friday in the next two weeks so he could schedule around his appointments. He was given a time and date and the day before he called to make sure they still could do it at 1pm. He arrived at 1pm and was advised that the computer showed his appointment was at 2pm. Being the nice and patient person he is when we play golf together, he took a seat and waited. At 2pm the car was still not moved and at 2:15 he got back in the car and went home.
This relieved my tension for not buying my wife’s truck in Lufkin as apparently lousy service must be a Toyota problem they learned from Government Motors (GM).
As a benchmark for both GM and Toyota I just purchased my third Honda Pilot and my fourth Honda from Loving Honda in Lufkin Texas. Other than unhappiness that Honda installs trailer hitches but no electrical connection for trailers, I have never had to make a special trip get warranty work. This dealer has the best Service Manager, Richard Burleson, I have ever worked with. The only warranty work I ever had on the 4 vehicles was a battery replacement on a key pad.
As I usually write about our political sewer and loss of freedoms, it motivated me to analyze politics as it relates to “Customer Satisfaction.” The IRS is a perfect example of being “Serviced” as the name indicates. Obama has perfected the way to insure that enough customers will vote for Demoncrats to insure re-election by defining “Political Customer Satisfaction”. All they had to do was provide enough Americans with food stamps, medicine, cell phones, free higher education benefits, etc. to guarantee they are satisfied. To hell with freedom, Socialism is job security.
C Brewer 4-28-13