Service without a smile

After months of procrastinating (and I have never delayed this long before) I finally sent the car for servicing.
I was so caught up with work that by the time I realised I had better make a booking with the service centre, it was 5-6pm. As the website said the service centre was open until 8.30pm, I called all three lines a few times each for the next few hours but nobody picked up the phone.
I thought it was still OK to send the car in. The first time round, I didn’t know any better and they still managed to service my car within the day. So I thought I’d risk it and send it in without a booking, first thing in the morning.
So I did. The guards let me through. One of them put a number ‘5’ on my car, which came with a statement saying this was a ‘non-booking’. I pulled over beside the other cars in line, and proceeded to pack up the essentials I had taken with me – like the car insurance and the cashcard.
While I was coiling up my hands-free kit, a technician walked over and opened my car door without even so much a polite rap on my window first. Without a single hint of a smile on his face, he proceeded to give me a talking-down about how I should make a booking next time because they are very busy people and they service 160 cars a day and it is unlikely I will get my car back today, perhaps tomorrow.
Surprised at his surly attitude, I responded that I tried calling the service centre but nobody picked up the phone. His reply? “Then you should try calling again!” (Did he assume I was so dumb as to call only once??)
I told him I had called all 3 lines a few times but nobody picked up the phone. He said I might have called past their working hours (now I know – all the website said was the centre was open till 8.30pm!). And they managed to cope the last time I didn’t make a booking … besides I don’t think I was even the first ‘non-booking’ customer in line that day! Why was I singled out? Was it because I drove a Sunny and not a Cefiro? Because I was young and female and almost every other customer was older, male and looked like a boss?
So he ended by telling me something along the lines of, don’t even try coming until you’ve made a booking! I said if it was really my fault then I accept that the car may not be ready for collection today. I know we have to be fair to those who did make a booking and give them priority.
Fortunately that was the last I saw of Groucho, because the usual Indian executive came along, said a friendly “Hi!” which I reciprocated, inspected my car, tried to pitch a car polish job to me (I always say no), listened to all my concerns about my car’s performance, and politely told me to call him in the afternoon to see if my car was ready.
I was then pleasantly surprised when I received a call at lunchtime, from a lady telling me the car had been serviced. My engine oil had been topped up as well. Total cost? Just over S$80!
So really, Groucho was making a mountain out of a molehill. Thank goodness his other colleagues were more efficient and polite. “Tomorrow”, my foot…
[Just checked the website and turns out he wasn’t a technician but a ‘Service Advisor’. Please. He needs some advising himself. And they never said it was mandatory to make a booking. I was told verbally once, over the phone, that it was advisable. That’s all.]


  1. James

    Some people are just not made for human interaction. They should not be in customer service. Also, all auto shops are the same. They want to sell you “other” services. Someone has to bring home the bacon.

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