Stay tuned for a story of frustration, confusion and disbelief
This is the CX Storytime Tale of…. The Woman Who Was Told Differently
It is the beginning of an unremarkable day. A day filled with errands and a “to dos” list that has built up over the previous weeks, and one Claire would only mark a true success if she can get that towering skyscraper of a checklist down to a manageable apartment building or duplex.
One of her many missions is to return to her local repair shop to follow up on a previous conversation she has had with them. Not so long ago, while getting her car serviced, the mechanic on duty had let her know that her timing belt was cracking. It sounded serious, but Claire was assured it wasn’t something that needed to be fixed now, but definitely something to look at the next time she was in.
That time is now. It has been a while and Claire feels this is something she can’t put off for too long. Though Claire was brilliant in many aspects of her life, the astrophysics of car repair is certainly not one of them. A cracking timing belt? That not only sounds serious, but also a problem that is actively getting worse.
She pulled into the service shop.
Pivoting out of her car and striding up to the front desk, she comes across not one but two service representatives behind the counter. One, we’ll call him GuyONE, is immediately alert and responds to this new customer. The other gentleman, now suitably labeled GuyTWO, continues some mysterious work on his computer without any change in his manner or position.
Claire speaks, “Hi. The last time I was in, they said my timing belt was cracking, so can we replace that?”
GuyONE responds, “That can’t be right, they can’t see the timing belt. Was it maybe the alternator belt or the AC belt?”
Claire, sharing what she has been told, “They said timing belt.”
GuyTWO bluntly chimes into the conversation, without looking up at Claire, to repeat, “Alternator belt or AC belt?”
Claire, a little frustrated, says, “No, he definitely told me the timing belt.”
GuyTWO, still not making the effort of eye contact, repeats again, “Alternator or AC belt?”
Claire, obviously irritated and trying to telepathically break through this wall of resistance with an exasperated stare, thinks to herself, “I don’t give a damn about an AC belt. Do I look like someone who cares enough about my car to proactively replace an AC belt?”
Looking now at Claire’s car, she obviously does not.
GuyONE returns to the conversation with, “There’s no note on your file. What would you like us to do?”
This further frustrated Claire as the last time she had engaged with the original “cracking timing belt” guy, she had been told he was putting a note on her file. Furthermore, when she had raised the issue again on the phone when booking this very appointment, she was told they’d make a note of it.
Claire, speaking from her last nerve, “Well, nothing! I don’t want you to do anything if there’s nothing wrong! Look, I’m just telling you what I was told the last time I was here.”
GuyONE, concludes with “Ok. Well, we’ll have a look.”
Claire couldn’t escape the feeling that they were just going to check the damn AC belt.
Claire leaves the shop feeling all sorts of anger and irritation. She would even go so far as to say “vexed”. But it is now in the hands of GuyONE and GuyTWO to determine the fate of her timing belt…or AC belt… or alternator belt. The only thing she is sure of is that a belt was getting looked at.
The conclusion, it is not the timing belt. Or the AC belt.
But the alternator belt.
And, it is apparently fine. Claire does not have to have it fixed. Yet.
It just costs her her time and her confidence in this car repair shop.
And that’s the story of the Woman Who was Told Differently.
Friend Filter: How is This Perceived by the Customer?
Now, the customer experience is an emotional experience. Let’s look at this as how this could break a customer relationship.
How would this experience be perceived?
Claire would obviously feel she wasn’t listened to as she repeatedly said “timing belt” as this was what she had been told, and her basis for being there. Those behind the counter just repeated other belts back at her.
She didn’t feel she was taken seriously or valued. Not only would GuyTWO not look at her when he spoke but staff repeatedly told her they were putting notes on her file, which wasn’t the case.
What Worked or Could be Done Better (operations, tactics)
What Can We Learn From the Story
- Listen to and acknowledge the experience of your customer. In this example, Claire was only sharing what she had been told by their staff, regardless if it was right or wrong, that’s what she was told. The right response would have been to just tell her they would look at her timing belt but also look at other belts just in case.
- Always demonstrate empathy. Always take the time to make eye contact with your customers. It establishes connection and communicates mindfulness. In that moment, you are showing you are focusing on them.
- Use a proper CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Tool – Trust is built on actions. Whether the notes were never written or they were and not found, the shop needed a better system so they could better be informed about their customer and not frustrate the customer.
Morale of the Story
“The only thing worse than being treated like an idiot at a car repair shot is being treated like an idiot at a car repair shop for simply repeating what you were told at that shop last time you were in.” – Claire
No one wants to or should feel like an idiot in your store. Not Claire, not me, not you and not your customers.
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