We recently received this letter from an unhappy customer:-
Silver Valet to Honda CRV
I was quoted for the above valet £139.95 and was told it would take seven hours to do the job. I dropped the car off at 10.00am and subsequently received a phone call at 4.00pm to say it was ready.
On collecting my car I found that the air conditioning was not working, but this has now been rectified.
I noticed that the rear door window had not been opened, so the glass and door surrounding the metalwork was dirty.
The four side windows had not been lowered and were dirty along the top edge.
This morning I had a closer look at your Company's work on my car and found the following:-
- Various door rubbers were dirty.
- The tailgate metal surround was dirty.
- The tailgate rubber was dirty.
- The driver's door bottom was dirty.
- The nearside rear top door rubber was dirty and had grit in the rubber channel.
- The empty spare wheel well had not been cleaned.
- Cleaning cream was left on the mirror side of the driver's sun visor.
- The sun roof metal recess had not been cleaned properly.
- The sun roof leading and rear rubber edge was dirty.
The above had now been rectified and has taken me one and a half hours to do the work your staff should have done in the first place.
You may wonder why I am not well pleased with your service. I ask myself if you are really "Chelmsford's Premier Car Valet Centre"?
Perhaps after due consideration of the above, I think you will agree that I am due a substantial refund of my monies paid to your company for the poor workmanship carried out on my car, and for the time I have had to spend completing the job.
Your early reply would be appreciated
We gave this matter due consideration and this gentleman will not be getting a refund.
As you can see from the testimonies on previous pages, we don't always get it right first time - after all, nobody is perfect and all companies make mistakes, it's how the company handles those mistakes that really makes the difference. We will bend over backwards to please our customers, even if we feel we are not at fault. We will rectify any problems, and we give upgrades, and free stuff to make up for any inconvenience. We realize that it is customer satisfaction that is the No.1 thing that keeps us in business. However, there are some customers we just don't want or need, especially when they treat our team in a disrespectful and condescending way.
When mark took the booking the customer asked what would be the latest they could bring the car in and still collect it the same day. We agreed that if he dropped the car off at 10.00am he could collect it at the end of the day. But when he dropped the car off at ten, he then insisted that we had to get it done by 4.30pm because he had to go and play bowls. Mark advised him he thought the car only needed a Bronze Valet but he insisted that we carry out a Silver Valet - all the while he was talking down to Mark. In order to please the customer we had to have two valeters working on the car to get it finished on time.
When he collected the car he said that he was happy with the valet but we should give him the valet for free because he claimed his air conditioning was not working. And he tried to bully a member of staff into admitting liability in writing (We don't do anything that would effect air conditioning and so it would be highly unlikely that we would break it. We also felt that the air conditioning on this car might work more effectively if the engine were running, which was something we didn't get the chance to test).
It should be noted that if any customer is dissatisfied with our service, including broken air conditioning, they are protected by consumer laws -- and so are we -- we must be given the chance to rectify the situation. So we declined the customer's suggestion that we gave him a "free valet" and instead said that we would have an independent inspection done on the air-conditioning unit to determine the fault and the cause.
However, the next day when we phoned the customer he told us that the air conditioning was now working and that he was happy with the valet. The next day we received the above letter listing many complaints and asking for a "substantial refund".
We strongly suspect that this customer was actually happy with the valet, but he would have been happier if he could try-it-on and get some money back out of us. At no point has he expressed an interest in us to putting things right, instead he wants money. Unfortunately, such people do exist and every business has to find a way to deal with them. Our way has always been to stand our ground and announce that we are not a soft touch.
As previously mentioned, the customer should have given us the opportunity to rectify any issue that he was not happy with. As he didn't we are not obliged to give a refund even if this were a genuine compliant. As the customer has rectified the claimed problems, there is little we can do except offer an explanation:-
Firstly, the valet times as marked on the appraisal forms are 'average times' and they are estimated to allow room for our valeters to 'breath'. So for example if another customer comes in with an enquiry, they can take the time to talk to them, and not be in a rush to complete the work on time. It would not be unusual to finish a valet in under the average time. This is irrelevant in this case as this customer demanded we finish the car early and we had two valeters working on it. It was completed early which is what he wanted.
Secondly, we have different levels of service, if we did every little detail on every car, got every bit of grit out of every door rubber, then we would only have one type of valet, it would cost many hundreds of pounds and take several days to do -- we have to draw the line somewhere, even on the Gold Valet. On a Gold valet we clean the spare wheel compartment and and all the shuts and door surrounds as standard, but on a Silver valet these things would have to be selected as extras and we would be happy to do them for anybody who asks. (To see dirt in the rubbers on the tops of the doors on a Honda CRV, you would have to be standing on a chair, which goes to show the lengths this customer went to to find fault.) We do open the windows to clean the tops, but obviously if there is dirt and moisture in the window surrounds (top or bottom), then this dirt will transfer back to the glass leaving streaks. It's a problem we are well aware of, but without taking the doors apart, there is little we can do about this.
In this case we are satisfied that we carried out the work we were commissioned to do to a satisfactory standard.