While the fact that I took my minivan in for service last week is completely unrelated to the children's product industry, customer service is oh-so-relevant in all industries. University Kia, the Huntsville, Alabama, retailer and service facility for Kia vehicles, took an incident that could have made a disgruntled customer and instead left me a very satisfied customer. Pay close attention to learn how good customer service can happen.
I dropped my van off last Wednesday and picked up a rental van (with 4 kids, there's no temporary sports car fix). After test-driving and inspecting my van, they told me they would order the necessary parts, which would be in on Friday morning, and that my van would be ready Friday afternoon.
WRONG! The Kia warehouse accidentally shipped one incorrect part, thus delaying the repair until Monday and necessitating three extra days of van rental. Since the Kia warehouse was at fault for the incorrect part being shipped, there was no question in my mind that Kia should pay for the extra three days on the rental contract. I mean KIA, as in the Kia retailer and the Kia warehouse needed to work out the details of which division actually paid for it, but it was NOT to come out of my pocket.
When I turned in the rental van today, I made sure to find out exactly how much the extra three days cost. The manager at Enterprise car rental told me that he could charge that half of the rental to University Kia, but only with manager approval. He gave me his business card and told me to give it to the service manager at the retailer. I did so and feared what sort of on-the-spot finagling I might have to do to cajole the service manager into picking up this almost $200 rental car tab.
What a welcome surprise it was when he readily agreed to call Enterprise and accept the charges for the three extra days! It turned out that all of my stressing over how things would go today was all for naught. THIS is how customer service should be handled. It is almost 100% true that the customer is always right. Poor word of mouth hurts much more than positive word of mouth helps. I was poised to grumble and complain if University Kia had treated me poorly, so I feel obliged to publicly laud their customer service.
Having worked in the auto industry (for Volvo Cars of North America) before having kids, I know what a tough world it is, so I have much respect for those retailers who know how to keep customers happy. Kudos to University Kia and their service department!