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How to Make a Loyal Customer for Life. For Realsies.

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Me and my car, Usain Volt, in happier days.

Me and my car, Usain Volt, in happier days.

Providing excellent customer service is not easy. Companies are big and fractured, service reps are often overworked and dealing with angry customers all day, consumers can be exceedingly hard to please (especially in the age of social media), so ya, having it all come together can be tough.

But when you can get it together, when it all gels, you have created not just a loyal customer, but one who will take to her blog to sing the praises of two particular companies – Chevrolet Volt and Rohrich Chevrolet in Pittsburgh.

Let me break it down.

I became a very proud Chevy Volt owner last July. I blogged about it, twice. I made it its own Twitter account, I dressed to match it – I was in love with this car. Actual love. I was considering marriage. About a week into owning my Volt, the braking system started to act wonky. Every time you touched the brakes the anti lock system would kick in.

Into the shop it went. One of the downsides of owning a brand new car with new technology is that it’s hard to find an expert to service it. They ended up keeping the car for two weeks while they figured out what they thought was wrong.

I take my youngest to pick it up, and we go pick up my oldest son and his friend. I am driving home, doop de do, and I’m stopped at a light, about to make a right, when I notice the service brake notice come on the dashboard. I said to myself, oh no, now what? I made my right, I went to tap my brakes aaaaannnnnd.

Nothing. Pedal went all the way to the floor. Here I am with three kids in a car with no brakes. Thankfully, there was no one in front of me and I was on a flat stretch of road. I was able to turn up a hill, drift to a stop, turn off the car, and start shaking, overcome with a terrible case of ‘what ifs’. What if they went out on the highway? What if there was someone in front of me? What if I was going down a hill? I was shaken, to say the least.

They sent a flatbed to get the car, and it’s two more weeks in the shop. In my previous car owner experience, if my car went into the shop you heard from them exactly once, and that’s when it was done. Both times they had my Volt I got almost daily calls or emails, updating me on the status of the repair. So even though I was super pissed about the state of my one true love, the car, I was happy with the service.

I get my car back, go to plug it in to charge, aaaannnnnnnnddddd.

Nothing .I got nothing. The car won’t charge. That.Was.It. I had it. I stomped up the stairs into the house, blew past Casey and the kids, went right to my laptop and fired off one of those emails that you’re really supposed to type out and delete instead of sending. But send it I did. Off to Chevy Volt. I was livid.

And they very next day they sprung into action. And I mean sprung. They agreed that the car was defective, they wanted to give me a new one, and they wanted to refund me three months worth of car payments. They had the head of GM for all of Pennsylvania call me. They sent me emails. They might have even sent flowers, I don’t recall. And the people at Rohrich, those guys should get some sort of medal. The manager there, Tim Brady, and my sales guy, Nelson, are new life-long friends. They told me I could pick any Volt I wanted out of the lot.

But I didn’t want just any Volt. I wanted my two tone, white and black, sexy as hell, humpable Volt. No problem, they said. They will MAKE me one. That’s right. They will dial up Detroit and order me my exact car, but it was going to take 4-6 weeks.

About two weeks in I get a call from Nelson. There is a two week delay because they had to take down the assembly line to service it, is that okay? Why yes, yes it is and THANK YOU for calling me in advance, saving me the stress of calling you looking for it when it’s late. THAT is customer service.

They called me right before Christmas, my car is on the truck from Detroit headed to Pittsburgh. I picked it up yesterday, and guess what? I AM STILL SO IN LOVE. We have named this one Steve, and he is just as good looking as his dearly departed brother.

You tell me you wouldn't fall head over heels for 137.4 MPG.

You tell me you wouldn’t fall head over heels for 137.4 MPG.

So thank you, General Motors, and thank you Rohrich, for taking what could have been an awful, terrible experience. You made me a loyal customer for life. And I’m not just saying this because I want GM to read this and send me some Volt swag. But if they did, I would be cool with that.

Yours in plugging in my ride,


Ps- I must say, as far as I can tell, this was a case of a particular CAR being defective. Volt owners, according to GM’s marketing materials and most of the internet, are the happiest car owner on Earth. Also, we beep at each other when we pass another Volt owner on the street. It’s a Volt thing, you wouldn’t understand.


2 responses »

  1. The status report is such an underrated customer support metric. I’m just happy if they call me when the car is ready. Most of the time, I end up calling them and they’re like, “Um, yeah, it’s done.”

    Fuckers, I could have probably went and picked it up hours ago…

  2. This is such a great story! If I wasn’t about to be car debt free I would totally buy one, but you know, CAR DEBT FREE.

    For a week, until one of the cars go to shit and then I have to freaking buy a new one.


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