Mercedes-Benz Austin - Customer Service Excellence

Published May 13, 2011   permalink

When my wife's AC stopped blowing... I immediately looked into it. We are very good about maintaining our cars (our E300 is in excellent condition, with just over 250,000 miles on it). I checked the normal items -- fuses, connectors, compressor and pulled the control unit out of the dash. Everything tested "OK" and pointed to a failed fan motor. We were taking the car in for an oil change so I asked our Service Advisor to check on the AC.

As suspected, it was the fan blower. The repair cost was significant, so I told our service advisor Annie I'd need to call her back. Important at this point is to understand that I do a lot of work personally on our cars -- shocks, brakes, belts, window hardware..etc. I stop at internal engine and transmission, and some routine items like oil changes for which I do not have the proper recycling or test equipment.

After looking at the service manuals (I bought the actual service manual at MB Austin) and confirming available of OE (not "replacement") parts I decided to do the job myself. I called our service advisor and said "it looks like I'll be doing this one." In retrospect, it was a poor choice of words on my part: What I meant was "I'll be repairing this myself, in the garage this weekend" while what Annie heard was "It's my wife's AC, so go ahead."

Needless, I was surprised when Annie called the next day and "Everything is done: Oil is changed and AC is all set."

Now, here's where MB Austin earns its next car sale and the continued absolute loyalty of a customer: I explained that I had not authorized this, we recounted the conversation....and quickly realized we'd jointly miscommunicated. I suggested puling the new parts out, and just leaving the old parts in a box (since I was going to pull them out the next day anyway.) My main concern was with the mechanic: Having been one (as well as a Service Advisor) I did not want to see the technician shorted for work he'd done.

Instead of pulling parts out, MB Austin, at the technician's suggestion, essentially matched the OE parts cost and reduced the labor to the mechanics labor cost. I agreed to cover all of that. I did not have to ask twice, nor did I have to suggest this course of action: The dealership team took the lead completely.

When my friends ask me why I am loyal to Mercedes-Benz of Austin, and to Mercedes-Benz as a brand, I can point to experiences like this one. These are the experiences, along with the consistently excellent service we've always enjoyed, that simply command loyalty and build brand advocates.

As a footnote to this post, I've got to give a shout-out to in Bellingham, Washington. Founder Kent Bergsma and daughter Kaia operate one of the most helpful services on the web. Kent provides all sorts of manuals and repair tools and parts for those interested in doing some of the work on their 124 and older chassis. Most amazing--and completely consistent with the overall Mercedes-Benz brand--anything ordered from arrives pristinely packaged, with clean latex gloves and a gum ball. It's yet another example of a business that completely understands its customers and consistently provides an exceptional (and hence talk-worthy) experience.

Whatever your business, think about how this kind of conduct applies to your customers. Use your service and customer care teams--not just your marketing department --to build brand passion and loyalty. In the world of social media, it's customer experiences that are the new sales drivers.

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