It’s pretty ridiculous that I have to convince myself that I should be outraged about what happened and that I am justified in my outrage. It’s a sad state of affairs that the level of service for just about everything has dropped to non-existent and when you experience non-service, it’s just a matter of, oh, that’s just how it is.
As I previously mentioned, someone broke the side mirror off my car, and I now have the replacements. I want to get them painted, but who should I call? In my former car incident, I had my bumper repaired and I was very pleased with the repainting job that was done. So I emailed my contact at Progressive and asked who did the work so I could go back there. They gave me the info, no problem, and were happy that I was pleased enough to ask for a referral. That’s the high point of this event.
Yesterday, I headed to the body shop’s location after work. Their business is in the heart of the downtown area. Not the best area of town, and some of the worst traffic around. Something like 30 minutes for 12 miles of travel (with no side mirror to help me change lanes). So I’m a little frazzled by the time I get there.
I go into the office and a woman behind the desk is on the phone. She tells the person on the phone to hold on a minute and asks me what I need. I explain I want to discuss getting some mirrors painted. She then says I need to speak to Carlos, who is not there right now (maybe at a dealership?). She asks if I can come back tomorrow. I reply, “Well, I’m in the area today…” hoping to get some help now. She didn’t have any response, so I said (with a hint of sarcasm), “I’ll be back later” and left. Fuck them.
There are so many ways this could have ended up differently, and a lot of them are just simple timing. But, here’s the thing that I keep thinking: There’s only one person in your entire business who can take care of my request and he’s not here, so effectively, your business is closed to new customers. You have a shitty business. Yeah, I’m sure they’re doing fine since they have partnerships with insurance companies and dealerships and so they don’t need me. Well, I don’t need them either.
The other thing that gets me is, this receptionist has no interest in her employer’s business or in any potential customer’s needs. First of all, the person she was talking to on the phone was either not important enough to give her full attention to or was more important than me. Or, I’m just interrupting her phone call. I could have waited a while to get her full attention, but she decided that wasn’t going to happen. Next, she was completely useless for me. She told me who I need to talk to and that was it. She had nothing to say about the company, the service (ha!), what kind of information I would need, nothing. She didn’t offer to let me talk to anyone else who might have more information for me. And how about this? She didn’t ask for my name or number so they could contact me. No, I have to come back to them. Her entire interaction with me said, “Talk to Carlos. That’s not my job.”
The last time I got irked like that was many years ago when I was shopping for car tires (hmmm, an industry issue?). I had stopped at a place and asked what tire models they had for my car. The guy rattled off a few and I asked if he had some paper to write them down. What I expected was for him to write the options down, but instead, he got a pen and some paper and pushed it towards me. I was a little stunned by that. As I’m recounting this, I’m thinking, why was I offended? And it’s probably more than just the courtesy of him doing it for me, it’s the lack of efficiency involved. This guy knows the tires and the prices and can jot them down quickly. Now he’s made more work for both of us, because I have to ask him to repeat himself and maybe ask for spellings while I transcribe. And he’ll probably be annoyed he has to slowly list these things. I’ve never seen a case where laziness beat out “it’d be faster to do it myself.”