Friday, 22 October 2010

A tale of two mechanics

Why is it that we'd never get to see a mechanic smile? They are all so sullen-faced. All the smiles are probably left behind at the customer service desk. You pass through the door that connects the customer service desk to the workshop and it's a world of a difference. I'll tell you what happened.

Today, I finally had Proton Edar to look into the steering wheel problem of my daughter's new Saga. Since a few months ago, the steering had been squeaking ever so softly whenever it's turned in either direction. Many people may not take notice of it but when they do, it will become a conscious squeak in their mind until there is no way that they'd be able to ignore it.

Last 14 Oct when I took the car for its scheduled service at their main service centre in Juru, I had complained to the service desk and the problem was referred to the mechanic. About an hour later, the mechanic told me that there was nothing wrong with the car.

"But there is a squeak," I insisted, so he called in his supervisor. They talked briefly and the supervisor said his mechanic would look into the problem. After another hour or so, he told me the car was ready, and said he had tried to reduce the noise as much as possible but it would still be there. Maybe I should have persisted with the complaint but I was fast running out of time. So I collected the car and told him that I'll be back.

Thank goodness for Proton Edar's customer feedback service. A few days later, someone rang me to ask whether I was satisfied with the service rendered. No, I replied, the steering problem had not gone away.

No problem, the voice at the other end told me. If I had the time, please bring the car back to their service centre. So today, I was there again and this time, I jolly made sure the mechanic - a different person - sat down beside me as I took the car for a spin. He listened and agreed that there was a soft squeak from the steering wheel.

Three hours later, I collected the car from them. The job sheet said that he had degreased the sterring column and shaft. And yes, the sound has disappeared. Unlike the first mechanic, this second one had solved the problem. And I hope the problem has gone away for good.

Now, what I'm concerned about is why the first mechanic - let's call him Syukri - was unable to solve the problem or reluctant to solve the problem and chose to give me a cock and bull story? Incompetent? Lazy? Attitude? Whatever. It's people like him who will give their employer a bad name.

The second mechanic - let's call him Mazlan - was different. He wasn't incompetent. He wasn't lazy. He didn't have an attitude problem. He listened. And he solved the problem. That is the type of employee that contributes positively to his company. Good for him.

Now, having said all this, I still have no answer to my original question. Where are all the smiles when the mechanics interact directly with their customers??

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