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customer service story about mercedes

Question

Here's a little customer service story that probably won't suprise many of you but it emphasises a slight difference in service levels between Belgium and the UK.

I have a new Mercedes commercial vehicle, bought in Belgium and needing it's first service so I book it in and arrive on the day to leave it at 09:30am and head off on public transport for the day. Nothing wrong with that except it was a garage in Antwerp and I live in Brussels now, but it was the garage where the vehicle was purchased and it was the first service which was contracted to be done at that garage. I return at the agreed time of 4pm to be told they haven't done the service. No explanation - just it hasn't been done and can I come back tomorrow.... anyway I think most people can imagine this is a pretty poor situation so they reluctantly lent me a dirty van to go home that evening which they insisted had to be back by 3pm the next day and there was a 1500 Euro insurance excess. I had no choice and returned the next day, having had to take time out from work to collect the vehcile. I had to insist they stamp the service book and asked what work had been done and was told it had been serviced - that's it....I left that garage feeling quite underwhelmed with their attitude and have no doubt I will will not be using them again.

I also have a Landrover bought in Belgium and until last year 'serviced' in Belgium. I use the word 'serviced' loosely because I was not happy with the service and thought the dealer was pretty poor so I took it to a Landrover dealer in the UK to check something where I was informed that there were 3 outstanding factory recalls on my vehicle - 2 of them safety related. Needless to say I haven't been back to the Belgian dealer who I think has in fact since gone bankrupt (hooray!!) Anyway on with the story - the Landrover was booked in for it's annual service in the UK and the day before I got a polite SMS text message reminding me of my appointment the next day. I turn up at 09:45am on Friday and am given the keys to a brand new landrover all clean and with almost no mileage on it. I was advised that I have use of the vehicle for the whole weekend and would I please just make sure that it comes back with at least 1/4 tank of fuel as that is what it has now.
All happy - I drive off and later that day I get a phone call from the garage saying they have discovered a small problem and would I agree to have the matter fixed while the service is being done. As there would be some extra cost they wanted to check with me first. Fine - go ahead I said and On Monday I returned to collect my car which had been washed and valeted... In the boot was a 'service pack including 1 litre of oil and some gloves and paper funnels for filling it without spilling. The service book was stamped and the dealer went though the list of work they had carried out and infomed me of various things including that they had carried out a factory upgrade on the gearbox software as that was due according to the manaufacturers guidelines.(another recall not advised to me in Belgium) The paper work was handed over all nice and in order and I happily paid. The car feels great, the service costs were less and it was an altogether painless, calm respectable experience.

Can someone explain to me why there can be such a difference in experiences between what is essntially the same basic service industry? A day trip on the ferry costs peanuts so I can't consider using a Belgian dealer again - indeed the next vehicle we purchase will come from the UK too most likely. How do they survive in business here? Why are they even in business?

From the archives

> the garage saying they have discovered a small problem

... and you fell for that ?

Aug 23, 2011 11:36