500 words a
“Sometimes the problem feels so big, changing one life doesn’t feel like enough—but it is.”
- America Ferrera
“talent is universal; opportunity is not.”
- Nicholas Kristof
My awful experience at Advantage Toyota
I went to my local Toyota dealership to get my car serviced the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and had the worst customer service experience ever! So I penned a complaint letter. I spent about four hours online researching the leadership at the dealership, and sent the following letter to the General Manager, Customer Service Manager, the Service Manager of the dealership, and my “Service Advisor”. I also included the Business Development Director, the Service Director and the BDC and Internet Manger of the Atlantic Auto Group, which is the company that owns Advantage dealership and string of other dealerships in the area.
Your name and email was listed on my service invoice as the Customer Service Manager, thus it makes sense to first reach out to you regarding my awful experience with Advantage Toyota in hopes that you work to improve the customer service/relations at this dealership.
On Saturday, November 17, 2012 I visited the Advantage Toyota dealership on Sunrise Highway to get my car serviced. When I returned home I noticed my wheel lock was not returned. The service department was already closed by the time I reached my home in Forest Hills, Queens, and since the service center is closed on Sundays, I was left with no choice but to wait till Monday (11/19) to inquire about my wheel lock.
During my first phone call I spoke with a woman name Diane; I explained to Diane the situation and requested that I speak with someone in the Service Department to locate my wheel lock. She attempted to transfer my call but said due to the lines being busy my call was being rotated back to her line. I explained to her it was important that I speak with someone in the service department today regarding my lock because I had recently drove to Virginia for the Thanksgiving holiday and would not be back in New York till the following Monday and I feared the wheel lock would be misplaced due to the busy holiday rush, and also feared that if I were to get flat there would be no way to change the wheel. Diane explained that she did not work in the same building as the service department and the best she could do was send an email to the service department manager Mike Rosen. I asked if I could be cc’d on the email and she told me no. I then asked if she could guarantee someone would at least get back to me that day, and again I was told no. I then requested to speak with her manager/supervisor.
After being placed on hold for quite some time I was transferred over to a woman named Amanda who identified herself as a manager. I explained to Amanda the situation and she told me that she understood my concerns and would defiantly get in touch with Service Manager Mike Rosen who would contact me before the service department closed for the day.
It was about an hour before closing, and four hours since I spoke with Amanda without hearing a word from Mike Rosen. I called Advantage Toyota again, and spoke with a woman who refused to give her name. Before beginning, I politely asked the rep for her name. “WHY DO YOU WANT MY NAME?” she asked in a hostile tone. I explained that I wanted her name because she was the third person I was speaking with regarding my situation and I needed to keep track of all the people because I would be filing a complaint. She asked “IS YOUR CAR HERE?” As I tried to explain to her that I was not calling about my car, but that I was calling about missing property and attempted to ask again if could have her name. While I was speaking she began to talk over me screaming “IS YOU’RE CAR HERE!?…..IS YOUR CAR HERE!?…. IS YOU’RE CAR HERE!?” I asked her to clam down and to let me finish speaking; before I could get another word in, she hung up on me!
Of course I was furious! I immediately called back and a woman by the name of Candice picked up. I explained to Candice how I was just hung up on my rep who refused to even listen to me, non-the-less help me, and that this was my fourth time calling. Candice was very professional, sympathetic and immediately transferred me to a woman named Nicole Hopson in service department. Nicole on the other hand was the complete opposite!
As I began to explain the situation for the fifth time, Nichole immediately interrupted me.
“If you’re in Virginia how did you get your car serviced here? “ she asked.
I explained again that that I live in New York, had my car serviced at Advantage Toyota on Saturday and drove to Virginia Sunday night for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Well, we don’t use customers’ wheel lock, we have our own master lock.” she said.
“If that’s the case, then why is my wheel lock missing?” I asked.
“I don’t know why your lock is missing! Like I said, we don’t use customer’s wheel lock, we have our own!” she said.
“Can you please just transfer me to the service manager Mike Rosen—a manager by the name of Amanda sent him an email about this earlier this afternoon.” I said.
“I’m not transferring you to Mike. Who was your Advisor?” she asked.
I told her Kenya Augustine was my service advisor, and she then proceed to have conversion with Kenya while I listened on the other end.
“Did you service a lady on Saturday who’s missing a wheel lock? Nichole asked Kenya.
Kenya responded with a “Yes”.
“Do you have her lock?” Nichole asked.
“Yes.” Kenya responded.
Nichole then says to me “Yeah, we got it.”
“Wow! If Kenya had my lock this whole time, why didn’t she call me to let me know? And you owe me an apology, because you said you don’t use customer’s wheel lock, yet you guys have my lock!” I said.
“If you apologize to me, I’ll apologize to you. If you want RESPECT, you give RESPECT!” Nichole yelled.
I then proceed to tell Nichole how dare she demand that I apologize to her after the run around and treatment I received—especially when it was their lack of diligence that caused this entire mess! She completely brushed over my statement and told me to be there before they closed if I wanted to pick up my lock. “I told you already, I’m out of town in Virginia and will not be in New York till next Monday. Can you please FedEx me my wheel lock so if I get a flat tire on my drive back to New York, I’m able to get the tire off!?” I asked.
“No!” she said. “You’ll just have to pick it up on Monday. Anything else?”
I told her that I would be filing an official complaint to the General Manger, Service Manger, Customer Service Manger and Toyota’s Corporate. “Fine!” she said, and then proceeded to spell me her last name, which I wrote down and then hung up the phone.
The way your service agents treat and speak customers over the phone is unbelievable! The bad attitudes, lack of concern, hostile, and sarcastic tones and questioning are unbelievable and appalling. In a market where word of mouth is EVERYTHING, your reputation has a further reach than any coupon you send, or generic Facebook message you post. And your online reputation is as equally important; whether the customer’s experience is good or bad, once it’s shared to their online networks across the web there’s no un-doing, erasing or burying it. With that being said, I want to let you know that I have shared my awful experience on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , and LinkedIn network as well as wrote a review on Yelp which all by the way is public and indexable by search engines. As it’s not about what you as business put out there about yourself, it’s about what your customers put out there about you.
Also, the $1128.48 worth of recommended service that Kenya reviewed with me, the Fuel Injection Service, Timing Tensioner, and Rear Breaks which I’d planned to have done after the holidays, will no longer happen at your dealership! I’ll be taking my business elsewhere—as anywhere is better than Advantage Toyota in my eyes!
I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about this matter in person next Monday when I stop by the dealership to pick up my wheel lock, or via email/phone (see my contact info below). The Service Invoice Number is: TOCS284881.