Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Feedback Works

I have long held the belief that filling out customer service surveys can be an effective means of creating change. I tend to be very thorough in my responses, trying carefully not to "fly off the handle," but rather drive home the hole in their customer service and suggest a remedy. My good friend Matt has always found my feedback hilarious, so I thought it time to share with the masses, or at least the two followers of this blog. I wrote the following to Jiffy Lube on June 27:

“I got an oil change yesterday and felt that the customer service was so bad, I had to write. I arrived and stopped in front of the only open bay, and a guy who had a creepy in-your-face (not aggressive, just too close for personal bubble) demeanor told me to turn off my engine. Then he had me turn it back on and move it behind a bay that had a car in it. I have no idea why and really don't care, but the presentation made it look as though I was being pushed back in the line as though the open bay was being held for someone else more important.

“I went inside and sat down. The T.V. was obnoxiously loud, but there was rarely anyone inside to ask that it be turned down a little. The angle of the T.V. also caught such a glare from the outside light that the screen was barely visible anyway even if I had wanted to watch the movie.

“I understand your process of bringing me out and showing me my air filter, etc., most of that I appreciate. But the guy who was there doing this today was an extremely fast talker, and everything he mentioned felt like a sales pitch. I don’t think a lot of the services you offer are necessary for my car, and I am sick of having to tell your team no every time I come in. Can’t you put in my profile not to even bring them up anymore? It was very uncomfortable, and now I wish I had gone somewhere else.

“Then the topic of discounts came up. He offered me some promotional $10 off deal based off the type of oil I chose, but then had to rescind it because it couldn’t be combined with the 50% deal I had available to me. There was another $10 mail-in rebate, but your guy then told me I wouldn’t get a receipt if I had them mail it in. Part of it was my annoyance over the inconvenience over all the loopholes in your “discounts,” but he was talking so fast that I felt like I was being fed a line.

“When I was talking over the high-mileage oil change I’d picked and the timeline for returning, he seemed to be disclaiming any responsibility for the quality of my oil change and when I needed to come back in. Everything was made to be my choice, and I was bearing all the risk. It was very annoying not to get a straight answer out of him.

“The two things done right on my visit were 1) the first guy, even though he had a creepy demeanor, he told me how long the wait time was without my having to ask, and 2) you have recent finance magazines. I enjoy reading those (but don’t want my house cluttered with magazines, so I don’t subscribe to them), so I really don’t care how long the whole process takes because I reserve a big chunk of time for it and just get to read. And as much as I just wanted to get out of there, I do like seeing your team check the caps on everything with me watching before I drive off.

“It’s probably not even worth having you contact me about this miserable experience, because any “I’m sorry” discount you give me will have some catch on it that will make it completely pointless when I get to the register. I foresee it being some % off discount of my next service that won’t be any better than my AAA discount, and you won’t compound them. If you are willing to do something about this to keep my business, feel free to reply.

“And why do you make all these fields like my address and car info required on your website survey form? It just makes more of an inconvenience for me when it has no bearing on the feedback I'm giving.

“I tried submitting the above on your website, but kept getting server errors. I called today, was on hold for 13 minutes, and finally got to a person who gave me this e-mail address. Put some hold music on so I don't have to constantly check to make sure the call wasn't dropped. And don't repeat that "Due to to heavy call volume, you may experience wait times in excess of 5 minutes" SO OFTEN. Very annoying.”

Well, Jiffy Lube customer service called me on Friday. The guy I spoke with apologized for my visit and was very grateful for all the feedback I gave, pointing out the many areas they had to improve upon. He offered to refund my $66 service charge (not just the oil change part, but also including the windshield chip repair I had done), and send me a $25 gift card off my next visit (should I choose to continue giving them my business), resolving the issue of some other promotion/discount not qualifying. Looks like Jiffy Lube will keep my business awhile longer.


  1. Good for you, Karl! I can tell you from a customer service point of view that surveys are of no use at all if the comments sections are not filled in.

    Your comments were specific and useful. Customer care folks could tell exactly what was broken and how to fix it. I wish everyone would give such helpful criticism. I also like that you found a few things "right" about your visit, even if it was the kind of magazines you found in the waiting room.

    I am glad that the company heard you and saw you as a valuable customer. It might be a good idea for you to go on the website and do a review after your next visit.

    Good job!

  2. I have heard so many horror stories about Jiffy Lube but never a good one where they actually responded to customer complaints! I have a feeling it was probably because you were so polite and respectful in your letter. Me thinks you could give tips on how to properly file complaints. :P