Woman, ever the nurturer

Odd experience today.

A bit of background first. We have an older car that we’ve been taking to the same independent repair shop since we moved here. Never been to the local dealership.

Until today, when I wanted to replace a burnt-out headlight before the weekend. So I called the dealership (which shall go unnamed), and got an incredibly chirpy female who answered the phone with a clearly rehearsed, boss-mandated greeting. I asked for Service, and she sent me to voice mail. I left a message.

An hour later, I called back. Got the same chirpy greeting from a different female. She checked around a bit, and told me I could come in anytime today. And informed me that “Jim” hadn’t had time to return my call because they were short-staffed. Okay.

So I go in. The gents on duty in Service are old-school Grunt ‘n Scratch types. The one who didn’t return my call is clearly just a little bit pissed that I made a second call. But what do I know? The longer I waited, the less chance I had of getting the headlight replaced. On a Friday.

The guys are all either staring at their computer screens or talking on the phone or both. They don’t tell me Jack Squat, so I hang around the desk. Waiting for, oh, maybe a time estimate? An invitation to sit down and have a cuppa joe? I don’t even know whether they’re taking action on my car or just typing stuff into their computers.

About ten minutes later, Randy the Service Guy tells me it’s all set and charges me sixteen bucks.

That’s nice, fast and cheap. But it left me wondering: if the dealer took all that trouble to train his female receptionists to be cheerful and order them to use an overly chirpy rehearsed greeting, then why doesn’t he send his Service Guys to charm school? Whatever good will the female receptionists may have created with their obviously canned greeting was more than undone by the Service Department’s complete lack of communication skills.

And, more broadly, why is it the gals’ job to be the business’ smiley face?

I look forward to returning to my independent garage, where the owner is a woman and the female receptionist actually knows quite a lot about cars. And everybody is equally polite and businesslike.

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2 thoughts on “Woman, ever the nurturer

  1. Amanda Sessel Legare

    Can’t believe you got away for less than $20 at a dealership. As a former reporter (who tried to stay clear of “hard” news), I have been enjoying your commentaries. I would love to read more general entries as well, like this one. Or perhaps you have a second blog somewhere? As if you had the time.

    Reply

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