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Flexibility, Honda Canada and Twitter

A few weeks back I had to take my Honda in for an oil change. I like to take my car to the dealership to get this done. Lakeshore Honda has a fast lube, quick lube or whatever they call it. Anyway I know what you're thinking 'dealership for an oil change'? Yeah, so what I like them, it costs a little more but I feel better about it. I once had a really bad experience with a quick lube type place, dude "forgot" to tighten the nut on the oil pan. Needless to say I had no oil a few days later.

So back to this story, when they were checking my car it turned out that my battery was shot. Yep a 3 year old battery done, kaput, needed replacing. The kind gentleman who runs the joint informed me of my misfourtune and gave me a price. I hummed and hawed about it and decided to get it changed. It then occurred to me check my warranty. It stated that between year 2 and 3 Honda covers 50% of the battery cost. Cool, I don't think I have had this car for more 3 years.

I had the guy check my warranty and guess what? Yep, I was TWO DAYS passed the 3 year mark. I said, dude come on 2 days. He said his hands were tied but I could check with service advisor at the dealership.

I walked over to the dealership and spoke with the guy there, great guy by the way, and he said... you guessed it... nothing he could do, but he gave me a number to call at Honda Customer Service. I did mention that I have leased through Honda for 8 years, didn't matter. To paraphrase, he had no flexibility on warranty issues, company policy. 2 DAYS! $50. Wow.

As you can imagine I'm pissed. Not about the $50, but about the lack of flexibility on the 2 days. I decided to tweet to see if that would help:

I then called Honda and got routed to some guy in warranty, who was not really very nice, and told me that I was talking to the wrong guy and that there was zero flexibility with warranty issues. He went on about how if they did something for me they would have do it for others etc blah, blah etc. I don't care about that, I care about me and my 2 days. 2 days is not 2 months. A $50 battery is not a $5000 transmission.

I finally ended speaking the guy who I was supposed to and he was very abrupt and not really very compassionate to my plight. In the end he did offer a $50 cheque for my troubles, but did say he was doing me a favour (or something along those lines). I was satisfied, not happy, but satisfied.

My issue was with the process and my awful customer experience. How could a company that I have paid lots and lots of money to for over 8 years, one that I was really, really considering for my next vehicle, care so little?

What next? I did what any good consumer in 2013 would do, I Tweeted again about the my absolutely awful customer experience and how it was handled:

I guess they were monitoring Twitter, because within 10 minutes I received a message to call them back as they had reviewed my situation. I was shocked and called right away. The rep mentioned that he saw my Tweet and that I wasn't too happy with him.  I explained that it wasn't just him it was the whole experience. Well, they had decided to refund me the entire cost of the battery plus installation. Wow! That was awesome. I was very impressed:

This all could've been avoided had they been just a little flexible, give me my $50 warranty for the battery and I leave the dealership happy. But by treating every situation the same and not trusting their employees (at the dealership) to do the right thing, they ended up having to cover their assess and make it up to a long term customer.

At least they saved the situation, and I am once strongly considering Honda for next vehicle.

Is your company flexible? Do you give your employees the abilty to make decisions? A consumer shouldn't have to make things public on Twitter before they get satisifaction.

Well there is my long winded stroy about how Twitter helped me get results and helped Honda keep a customer.

And by the way the cheque that was going to take 4- 6 weeks to arrive, came yesterday.


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