This is a follow-up to my rant about my car dealership about a year and a half back.  I complained that they tried to sell me tires when I really didn’t need them yet.

Fast forward to last week when my car (Brekke) started making noise – it sounded like something was stuck under the car and was only audible when the wheels were in motion.  And it was variable – some times louder than others.  The last time I had a car noise like this (back when I had Civetta the Civic) it turned about to be brake pads.  In addition to the noise, the check tire pressure light went off again – it was finally time to think about new tires.

But I didn’t really trust the dealership to do tell me the truth or charge me fairly – such a sad state of affairs.  Back when I complained about the dealership the first time, Anna (I think it was Anna) mentioned that she’d had good luck with a car shop near our house.  That reminded me that another friend had also said good things about them.  It took a few days to get Brekke in to see them, but they had a spot yesterday.  When I described the noise, I did mention brake pads (and then kicked myself on the way home).

I was completely bowled over when they called me mid-day.  The brakes and pads were fine for now – no need to replace.  Turns out that another consequence of the pandemic is that newer cars with metal brake pads are not getting enough use and getting rust build-up, which then makes noise.  They cleaned it all up.  Then we talked about tires and agreed upon which ones and getting them aligned.  When I went to pick up the car, the mechanic said to be sure to send in for a rebate on the tires and got me the right form so I didn’t have to print it out off the internet.  Very nice service.

They could have easily told me the brake pads were bad and replaced them – I would never have known the difference.  And they certainly could have tried to soak me for much more expensive tires.  So I am entirely satisfied and although I hope I don’t have to go see them again any time soon, I’m thinking that they are my new mechanics!

Have you gotten any outstanding customer service lately?

22 thoughts on “”

  1. I’ve never trusted dealerships for car service. I suspect that the mechanics are encouraged with incentives to upsell and I doubt that the essentially anonymous mechanics they employ are top rate.

    When we first moved to this part of town, I used the Car Talk website to look for recommended shops in my neighborhood. I’ve been with these guys ever since. Brian, the owner, took over the shop from his Dad. He’s been working there over fifty years—since he was ten. He’s very chatty and scrupulously honest. Because of the area he serves, a lot of his clientele is on fixed or limited income and he’s sensitive to that. I’ve seen him on the phone and in person working with customers to prioritize which repairs are really essential and which can be postponed. I’ve seen him trying to minimize costs for a customer by searching out salvaged parts where new ones are prohibitively expensive. It’s worth it to me to have them change my oil because they have a thorough routine safety check they perform at the same time. They also maintain several loaner cars available when repairs are more extensive.

    Above all, it’s an actual personal relationship that assures I can get honest knowledgeable advice on car matters with a simple phone call.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. You don’t have to suspect about incentives to up sell service, Bill. As an employee of an incentive company, I can confirm it’s a reality!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Although Car Talk is off the air, the web site persists and still has that excellent list of recommended mechanics. People who are into cars usually use dealership mechanics only while an auto is under warranty and the service is mostly free. The best auto mechanics are the guys with small shops who have nothing to sell except their expertise and good business practices. They live and die by word of mouth promotion.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. glad you got good help vs
    tires brakes and oil are 70% of car maintenance

    i found my tire guy a few years ago and it make a huge difference

    my oil and brake guy has a cup of tea ready for me every morning

    customer service is the key to everything these days

    my mechanic came over to put a water pump in over the weekend . my daughters van had a problem and it looked like the water pump
    i hit the auto parts store and for 60 dollars and the mechanics charge i was set

    my other car had a problem and he told me how to limp through getting the rack and pinion done when it absolute has to be replaced

    he is my mechanic

    brakes are 20- 40 dollars at the store
    i started doing my own and it amazed me how easy it is and how much they charge

    i get good customer service at the auto parts store too

    they helped me find my mechanic

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve had great luck with Toyota dealers. They might charge a bit more for repairs than a neighborhood shop, but they’re fast, efficient, do repairs right the first time, explain exactly what they see as the problem and give you all the options, and are polite and friendly. On top of that, their waiting room always has fresh coffee, cookies, and free wi-fi.

    I’ve had two fantastic neighborhood mechanics in years gone by. My cardinal rule for choosing one: check out the cleanliness of their workplace (usually the person’s garage). If it seems cleaner than your kitchen floor, hire that person. If they pay that much attention to detail, they’ll take care of your car properly and usually for a fair price.

    I think you get the customer service get based on the attitude you project when you enter a business or call a CSR. I always approach it as a request for us to work together to reach a goal (an excellent dining experience, for example) or solve a problem.

    When a server greets me at the table or counter, I indicate by my body language and tone of voice that I’m looking for a good meal in a pleasant atmosphere, so I smile, act friendly, and otherwise try to put them at ease that I won’t be one of “those” customers. It rarely fails.

    I also believe that tipping well is good karma for future encounters with any service person anywhere. I tip higher than usual these days for good service because I know most service-industry folks are struggling to make the income they were used to making pre-COVID.

    And bottom line, if I can afford to eat in a restaurant, pay someone to cut my hair, or do some other activity where someone is serving me, then I’m doing my small part to facilitate wealth redistribution. 🙂

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

  4. While I appreciate good service where actual service is involved, I’m tired of getting solicited for reviews. It seems like just about every purchase, online or in person, is followed by a request to “tell us how we did”. Most of the time these are simple transactions whereI gave them money and they let me take the merchandise away, or I gave them my credit card info and they sent me the merchandise. No actual service was necessary. All this begging for affirmation is kind of pathetic.

    I wonder what purpose this serves. Related to this are all the surveys I’m asked to participate in. The information they would glean if I ever participated would not be actionable. Most of them, I assume, are devices to collect data for mailing lists.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Post office, too – there’s always, on your receipt, a survey you can participate in. They might be looking for testimonials that they can use on that portion of their website. I learned from Linda that answering some of these surveys will enter you into a drawing, and she has been the recipient of something-or-other more than once.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. reviews make you success or fail today online sales requires it to survive
      only. a percent of people you serve will reply so you just need to find a way to make it possible to ask for it and find the ones who will respond. bill wont no matter one so dont beat him up just find one who will.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. VS has been surveyed to death as well since that’s the business she’s in. She also does not answer questions about the ramen noodles that she got on Amazon.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. On our train trip on the Empire Builder around New Years (boy, THAT was a long time ago!), we had a particularly attentive sleeping car attendant – he was friendly, helpful, not over solicitous, just right. We left a tip, but I meant to send in a recommendation, then it fell through the cracks. I suppose I could still, if I can find the right info…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. we have a formula in amazon sales platform to send a link to reply on after we have determined younare happy (dont want to ask for reviews by less than happy customer,
    we do ask how to bring them to happy status before we deal further then we have them aware they can buy direct with a discount on additional product from website and we will send out info on related items at a predetermined shipping schedule.
    some companies dont get it
    we try

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My experience with Amazon reviews was that you couldn’t just give them a certain number of stars and let it go at that. You also have to say something specific about the product or Amazon isn’t satisfied. If I order something on Amazon because I can’t find it locally, something I already know I like, my approval of the product isn’t due to Amazon or unique to its vendors. The transaction is just a transaction.


  7. Morning-

    Monday, I had to call Waste Management on behalf of a theater. After fighting the phone tree for a while, the lady, Crystal, was very helpful and then we got cut off in the middle of the call. Frick. I hadn’t given her my number and course the theater is closed. So I called back, did the phone tree again, of course got someone different who couldn’t find anything from the first conversation so we started over. He put me on hold just to finalize things and I got cut off from him too. DOUBLE D’OH!!
    And then Crystal called me back. She did have my home number from our first call but of course I had been on the phone. I appreciated her help getting this finished.

    Good Car mechanics are tough to find. I’ve had several good ones over the years. Word of mouth usually. Since buying a diesel pick up, I need to find a mechanic for that. I do a lot on my own, and there’s a guy with a shop out in my neighborhood, but he doesn’t do much with diesels. He did recommended a guy. I just haven’t had to go there yet.

    I’m with Chris on the restaurants. Come in with a good attitude and it usually goes well. Kelly and I always try to have a good time when we’re shopping for something big. If the salesman is fun it can be a good experience all the way around. But a non-involved sales person puts a damper on the whole thing.

    We just used a new appliance repair guy. Did good work, didn’t charge crazy amounts, doesn’t work for a company so didn’t feel like he was just selling parts.
    And as yet, hasn’t charged for a follow up call.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My outside contacts have been extremely limited since March 17th, so not much opportunity for personal interaction recently.

    I’ve spoken before of Mellissa and her struggling wedding farm in Western Wisconsin. She continues to do a great job of offering a variety of homemade foods that she delivers to a bunch of friends and former customers in St. Paul. I don’t know where she gets the energy or inspiration, but she’s a delightful person, and it feels good to help her keep her small family enterprise afloat.

    She usually offers five or six different items to choose from. The ingredients, whether meat or vegetables, are all farm fresh, and she’s an excellent cook and an expert baker.

    My order for today was beef empanadas, they had a wonderfully crumbly crust, just perfect. Three to an order, eight bucks, and that includes delivery right to my doorstep. I served them with a chopped salad of cuke, onion, tomato, jalapeño peppers, radish, and lots of cilantro, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of ground coriander and drizzled with fresh lime juice. An easy, tasty and reasonably priced meal that we enjoyed in the back yard. A nice bonus, virtually no dishes to do, which Hans appreciates, as he’s the dishwasher.

    If this virus ever allows personal contact again, I’d consider having my next wedding at Mellissa and Don’s farm. I’m sure their attention to detail and personal service would make it a memorable affair. My friend, Sara, from Northfield could deliver the flowers. She’s also doing an excellent job of delivering a fresh bouquet of flowers every Monday, fresh from her in town “flower farm.”

    Liked by 2 people

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