So let me tell you a story about probably the WORST customer service I have ever received. It happened just a few minutes ago. Oh, and I’m naming names, so…
This morning we had determined that the starter on my car that I love so much, my 2003 Honda Element, was toast. Jim pondered fixing it himself but since the starter is located beneath the intake manifold, he decided we should take it somewhere.
Since I was working, I located East Coast Honda online (in Myrtle Beach – 17 Southbound just beneath the 501 interchange) and found they had an open “request” form. So, I asked via the internet for a quote on changing out the starter in the car.
I no sooner received the “acknowledgement” of the receipt of my request and my phone rang. It was the sales department. Mike McCauley was his name. If you want his number, I still have it. He asked how he could help, and I said that my starter was out on my car and I wanted to get a ballpark figure for getting it repaired. Was it gonna be $150 or $1500? He said that he was a salesperson and said something about getting a new one. I explained that I loved my Element, and since Honda doesn’t make them anymore, I want to get it fixed. I think he indicated that many of their Element owners are “trading in for the CRV” to which I replied, “That’s not the car for me…I like my Element.”
He said he would pass along the information to the service department and they would contact me.
Somehow, I assumed they wouldn’t. Now, Jim didn’t go up to the mechanic I’m using until after 2:30 PM. I received the call from East Coast at around 10:15. That’s kinda um…well, not speedy service.
Conveniently, Jim’s Car Care (no relation to MY Jim) is taking care of the car. Done deal, right?
At 7:30, after the car has been hauled off to Ocean Isle Beach to be fixed, and we’ve not only ordered out but picked up and EATEN food…my phone rings. It’s Michael McCauley from East Coast Honda.
He starts off by saying something about trading for a 2010 Element and…well, at that point I began to see red. I indicated that I had already made arrangements to fix the car. “Oh, they called you?” he asked. I told him that I made arrangements elsewhere. That’s when he told me he got busy and forgot to pass my request onto the Service department. Nice.
In my head I’m thinking to myself, “And now you want me to buy a car from you?” But, instead, I said something like, “I want to keep my car and fix it. I like my car.” I don’t know what it was that flipped my switch however he said SOMETHING that peaved me…and my response was, “You’ve lost a potential customer at this point…goodbye.” I hung up.
Moments later, my phone rang again. Michael McCauley. Wow. Does he have a set of kahunas or what? Jim says to me, “Give me the phone….”
What transpired next wasn’t a “best effort” on either party’s part…I can guarantee that. But, comments such as, “You need to tell your wife….” didn’t go over well with Jim.
Here’s the thing. Up until tonight, I really loved Honda and was trying in my head to figure out how I could buy a car from Honda that would measure up to my baby, my Element. Now, I’m not so sure.
It’s not Honda’s fault, but I can honestly say that if the sign a paycheck for this gentleman, I do have to question their commitment to customer service…and, well, when it comes right down to it, we have choices now-a-days. Just cuz I’m a girl that loves her Honda Element doesn’t mean I’m a bubble head with cash to burn and will be sucked into buying another car when I’m not ready. And, in this day and age…don’t assume that girls will just listen to whatever a car salesman says. Especially when you can only get a USED Element, and I can go ANYWHERE and buy a used Element. I got my current one from a Toyota dealership.
I’m also planning a letter to Honda Corporate, and Jim will be stopping to speak with Mr. Cahill, the owner of East Coast Honda.
The footnote – Michael McCauley called back to apologize. He claimed to be sure he won’t be able to sleep because of some of the things that were said. I’m not positive he sounded sincere, especially when he said something like, “I didn’t mean to get into an argument with your husband, or boyfriend or…whatever he is.” I suppose tone of voice is everything but I can say that while I wished him well – let him know that I accept his apology and hope he got some rest. I also suggested a class in customer service for him.
It’s sad. EAST COAST HONDA is the only Honda dealership in the Grand Strand. Oh. Well, I can just go to Jones Ford, to our usual salesperson Bill Young and have him get me a used Honda Element when it’s time.