Customer Service - The Power of a Good Experience: Part 1 in our Customer Service blog series: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Nicole Hradek

dateSun, Sep 20, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Loving My New Car

The car I purchased as a result from my November accident is my dream car - a 2009 Honda CR-V. SheNicoles_CR-V - Customer Service blog-Rhythm Systems has tinted windows and a moon roof! What more could a girl want? My impression was my SUV could handle a little bit of a rougher terrain. If I was forced to go over a curb, my CR-V could handle it. Well, I was wrong. Please don’t laugh at me for taking my CR-V over curbs. Well, go ahead and laugh- I wasn’t very smart.

Uh-Oh – Is that a rattle?

Due to my foolish misunderstanding of “off-roading”, I began hearing a rattle from one of the wheels. During this time, I was planning a road trip to Ohio for my friend’s wedding. This seems to be the way life works. Since I am clueless on how to do car repairs, I decided to buy the extended bumper-to-bumper, 100,000 mile warranty. In order to take advantage of my warranty, I had to go to the ever-so-popular car dealership to repair my car. I was so excited to go since everybody always looks so happy in the waiting room. And the customer care representatives are always so delightful when they take their time to tell you all the other things that are wrong with your car that will cost you an arm and a leg to fix. My experience did not go so well. When I called to make an appointment, I found out my warranty expired a month after I bought the car.

Seriously? My warranty expired 1 month after I bought the car?

The woman from Hendrick Honda in Charlotte, Stephanie, was the customer representative who discovered this and of course, I was upset. Why would I spend the few extra dollars each month for 72 months for a warranty that was only good for one month? Stephanie was also confused, but she gave me the next steps to figure this out and told me I had to call the dealership where I purchased my car and talk to their finance department. In my head, I’m preparing to go on a wild goose chase and dial ten different numbers, talk to 15 different people and end up calling Stephanie back because the 15th person is going to tell me it’s something she needs to do.


So I followed Stephanie’s instructions, called the dealership, was transferred (as expected) and a man said he would call the warranty people. Wait…. what? I don’t have to call anyone else? I can continue working and you’ll call me back later today? This is everything I hoped for, but certainly not what I anticipated. Only a few hours later, the man called me back and said they extended my warranty for two years, which is about when I’ll hit 100,000 miles, but it will take two-three days for the system to update. This all happened on a Monday. I was planning on leaving for Ohio on Thursday.

I called Stephanie back on her direct number and we made an appointment for Wednesday at 2:45pm. She said she would call me Wednesday around noon to let me know if the warranty was updated in the system so we would know if we had to reschedule or not. My only conflict was I had a luncheon at noon therefore wouldn’t be available to take her call.

Customer Service called me back!

Stephanie held true to her promise anyway and called me twice! Once at noon to tell me the warranty wasn’t showing up yet but she’ll keep checking and then again at 1:00pm to tell me it was finally updated and I can still come in. Wow! I was impressed she stayed on the case, even though I wasn’t able to talk to her.

Ice Cream solves lots of issues when you have a long wait

It was time for my appointment and I finally met Stephanie face-to-face. I was thrilled she was the person taking care of me since I already felt like she had my back. She showed me to the waiting area where they had Wi-Fi so I could still work, and kept me updated with where they were with my car. At one point, a man even brought out ice cream for everyone waiting! This was becoming a pleasant experience. The only downside was this experience was three hours long! And that was only waiting for them to look at my car. Then it took longer than expected for them to actually fix it.

Stephanie is the Best!

I ended up waiting for a total of four hours and missed my trip to Ohio since my car wasn’t ready in time. Despite the waiting and missing my friend’s wedding, I was so thrilled with Stephanie! She made sure my warranty was correct, was incredibly personable, she was calm when I began to panic that my warranty was incorrect, which helped put me at ease. Of course I’m also thrilled with the fact that my repair was covered under my warranty and didn’t have to pay a penny (and there was ice cream). I will definitely go back to her again if anything goes wrong with my car and will even go back for oil changes as long as I make the appointment through her.

I hear so many horror stories about garages and dealerships and how something else was wrong with the car, or it cost an outrageous amount to fix, I couldn’t believe how satisfied I felt leaving the dealership. I actually felt like Stephanie was a new friend! If only all customer experiences could end this way.


Nicole Hradek


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images