One in four participants in the latest national Driver Power survey of 61,000 people complained about their phone calls to service workshops being unanswered.
Perhaps online service booking is the answer, particularly once motor retail becomes fully connected and a customer can book into a conveniently available slot shown in the workshop management system and pay for it there and then, just as most hotel booking operates.
It need not mean the workshop missing any upsell opportunities. If hotel customers haven’t pre-purchased add-ons during the booking process, the business can count on a good proportion of them to buy drinks, dinner and a morning newspaper during their stay. Of course, a visit to a franchised workshop is a different affair, and maybe the extra cost of an air-con service or wheel alignment check is a bigger deal to the average consumer. But is there a reason the principles should be so disparate?
These thoughts struck me while I booked a first annual service for our long-term test Mazda3 2.0 Skyactiv-G Sport Nav. With previous Mazdas, I have used the online service booking system at our local Donalds Mazda dealership. Once I’ve submitted my details I’ve had a pretty prompt email from the service desk confirming the booking.
This time I decided to use old-school technology and give the service department a call mid-morning. The results were not quite so slick.
The call was answered by the sales department, who tried to put me through to service, but discovered all its receptionists were engaged. The sales executive offered to take my details and pass the message on, which I gratefully accepted. An hour passed without a call. Then another. I left the office late that afternoon without a call back.
The next day, 28 hours after I’d called, I called again. Again, service reception was busy. This time I left a message with a different staff member and pointed out I’d done this the day before, but heard nothing in return. That did the trick.
The service is booked, and I can forgive Donalds Mazda this slight blip because its level of customer service has been so high in the five years I’ve been a customer. But maybe next time I’ll book online.
What’s been said about the Mazda3
A helpful feature for town driving is the start-stop ‘i-stop’ system in the Mazda. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give it is the fact that it’s hardly noticeable at
Everything the driver comes into contact with is in the right place, the right size and made of material that isn’t unpleasant, even on this bottom-of-the-range model. This one also has the smallest, least gutsy petrol engine, but it’s still nice to drive.