Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Post 2285 - A Tip Of The Hat

I meant to write this blog post Monday evening, but my migraine made me change my plans.  That is cured.  I am feeling 1000% better today and this evening, so I can write this post now.

You'll recall that I had to get my car fixed on Monday.  It was to have been a multi point inspection and some fluid check ups and so on.  $350 + tax, close to $400.

As a result of the inspection, many issues were identified.  My tires were in such poor condition that they all had to be replaced.  No point trying to fix them.  No point in rotating them until they had all been replaced.  Tire rods had too much give.  The bushings had to be replaced.  The sensor that tells me that the oil level was low no longer worked ($140 to fix that!).  So much more.

More to the tune of $1800 or so.


I authorized all the work, knowing in my heart that while it was beastly expensive, that I had to have a car that was working well, and that I need to keep this particular chariot on the road for a few years yet.

I picked up the car just before 4:30.  Turns out that there was even more work that had to be done.  My oil change ended up being free.  Other work was discounted.  Rather than costing me $2400 (!), they still managed to make it come in at just a hair over $1800.

My customer service representative, as you can see in the picture is my new besty Scott Blackburn.  The level of service he provided me was above and beyond anything I could have imagined.  I would have paid the full $2400, Scott.  It would have wrenched my gut and triggered an even bigger migraine than I suffered on Monday, but I would have paid it.  That you managed to knock $600 off the cost nearly made me cry.  And everyone knows that I don't cry.  Not even when I am eating a bag of raw onions while watching "The Other Side of the Mountain" and rubbing road salt in my eyes.  Not even then.

When I worked for the private sector years ago, we would work on these projects that cost a certain sum of money.  If we went over the estimates provided us, and could justify the over runs, then that seldom meant any repercussions.  We would just charge the client accordingly for the extra hours of effort.  Once the project went live, we would provide warranty support as necessary.   Guess what?  We charged for that, too.   The mind reels.  For all I know that is still the way it is done in these consulting companies.  Fixed price projects were not regarded with happy thoughts.  The scope would be so controlled that if the client wanted a comma added to a line of text in a help screen, the project manager could say no because it was out of scope.  Literally, I saw stuff like that happen.

My point is that even to this day, when someone gives me an estimate to fix something, I view it as that, an estimate.  It is at best a really educated guess based upon years of experience of how long it should take to perform a task of some nature.  It is not a prediction of the future.   Estimating, therefore, is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced.

Imagine my surprise, my delight, when the cost of painting my mother's house and garage six months ago did not exceed the price the 75 year old guy quoted us.  And try to imagine my extreme pleasure that the estimate provided me by the good folks at O'Regans Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac on Robie Street was so close to being right on, that even the extra work they found once they got the car opened up was discounted to the point where the original estimate was respected.

Service above and beyond any reasonable expectation is a rare thing.  I expect good service when I take my car in to any shop, but when I take it to a dealership or to a person who specializes in GM products, then I expect that service to be that much better.  Yesterday, my heightened expectations were exceeded considerably.  These guys knocked it out of the park for me on Monday, and I will never forget that.

I have been delighted to take my car to them in the past.  While I don't want to pay anything more to keep my car going for some time to come, you can bet I will take it to my friends at O'Regans when that unfortunate time rolls around again.

Thank you, Scott Blackburn.  Thank you to his boss, and the mechanic or mechanics who laboured on my bucket of bolts on Monday.  You have a customer for life.  When I buy my next car, you will be the first folks I talk to.  Promise!

See you tomorrow.


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