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Customer Service Case Study - Meineke 2019

blog Nov 25, 2019

From a post on Facebook comes this case study in customer service on the company Meineke and more specifically the local shop run by one Tyler @ 2436 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33765.

I'm going to follow the story in my blogging and see where it leads.

You've heard stories like this. Here's another...

I was going to start this rant with a bit of my own background in mechanics as it might be relevant and then I realized it's quit irrelevant. Instead I'll just tell a short story... Well, now a case study for my business.

(I should also mention for anyone who truly knows me, there was an unimaginable amount of zen on my side of the phone during this conversation today. You'd have thought it wasn't even me.)

After a visit to the local Meineke shop to have her oil changed and get an alignment, my daughter tells me that they informed her that she needs to have the tie-rods replaced.
I happen to know that these two cannot both be accurate so I asked her if they charged her for the alignment, and she indicated they had.

I asked to see the printout of the alignment as it would tell me at a glance if they were in fact able to get the car wheels aligned to within specification. If they were, then the tierods, although making the alignment hard to do and not as close to spec as deried, they would need to be replaced in the not so far off future, but certainly not with the immediacy indicated on the worksheet as "Needs both inner tierods".

On the other hand, if they were not able to get the wheels aligned within specs and it is due to those pesky inner tierods, well then we certainly need to address them with all the immediacy indicated. But that would also mean that she should not be paying$89  for a wheel alignment, when it cannot actually be performed as the tierods are in fact shot.

So it turns out she has all the paperwork they gave her in one mice bundle stapled together but there is no printout from the alignment machine. No problem, I'll call the shop and chat with them!

So I call the shop on my cell and get the guy who is apparently in charge. I ask him simply: "Can we get a copy of the printout as it was not included with the paperwork." To which he say's "No, not unless you bring the car back in and we "set up the heads". So I say "That seems like a lot of work to go through just to get the printout. Doesn't your system save the information or don't you keep a copy?" He say's "That's not how it works. If you bring it back in we can set it up and run it."

He is notably agitated and in a hurry so I feel I need to get his attention with the true gravity of the situation while I have the short thread of his attention...  I said "Well I don't see why we're charged for an alignment when you can't even prove you did one." He says "Hang on, I've got a bunch of customers in front of me and puts me on hold."

I waited on hold (did my emails and a bunch of other stuff) for 33:42 while he did whatever, and then the call drops. So I call him back and there is no answer. I wait a few minutes and call back and my call is auto-dropped. I've been blocked! I try again and again but it auto-drops. He blocked my number.

So I call from the wife's cell and same dude answers. I say "Hello, my name is Manuel, can you please tell me who is the store manager?" He say's I'm Tyler, the owner ... blah blah something along the lines of I told you the only way to know is if you bring the car in again and we set up the heads, and I don't have time for this. So I say to him "Tyler, I'm just trying to figure this out about the alignment and the tierods on my daughters car.

Can I just ask you a question?" He cuts me off before I finish and starts in about how he's not going to give me my money back as he's been doing this for years and if he say's a car had an alignment, it had an alignment. When it sounds like he's coming up for a breath I try to finish my question "Can I just ask you a couple of questions?" but he interrupts me again and say's "No I'm not gona talk to you about this". He hangs up the phone.

Suspecting I know the answer, I call back from the wife's cell and find that that number too has been blocked. So I use my daughter's cell. He answers and I simply say "Tyler, if you're the owner then this isn't really how you should be handling this. I just want to ask you a couple of questions" He starts in on me about how he's not going to refund my money and it's "people like you that try to screw a guy" and on and on. I managed to get it in edgewise that you're not giving me any choice but to call the credit card company and simply dispute the charges.

He said "Fine, go ahead, I'm not giving you your money back. It's "people like you" blah blah," all while he hung up the phone. -- People like me?

So, I will teach my daughter one more valuable lesson in life: How to dispute a charge on your credit card. Tyler will have to deal with this but he's never laying hands on one of my vehicles ever again.

My perception (which is everything): Everything about this screams to me that he immediately put himself on the defensive because he got one over on my daughter by charging her for an alignment even though they couldn't actually do it and now he's been found out. I could b wrong but I've got nothing else to go on.

Reality: It actually doesn't matter how we got here. Whet matters is how it was handled. People remember how you treated them. i recommended Meineke to my daughter years ago as a trusted place to take her car. Why? I'd actually rarely done business with them other than an oil change. It's because they build a brand and a name and they told me I could trust them with my car and my family's cars. This is one bad actor but this scenario will be em-blazed on her brain for ever. And I'll be hard pressed to ever use let alone recommend Meineke ever again. I can say Jiffy Lube just as easy and it even sounds cooler.

Keep and eye on my blog for the rest of the story...


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