Monday, June 04, 2012

Even Positive Comments Can Make a Difference

This time last year I started having problems with my car. I’d be on a long road trip in the middle of no where and suddenly my car would no longer accelerate. I could be flooring it and it wouldn’t go anywhere. The three times it happened I was always able to turn it off for a bit, restart it, and everything would be fine.

Last July when my grandfather died I took it to the Ancira Nissan dealership to get looked at. The last thing I needed was for it to crap out on me during a drive to Indiana (I ended up riding with my parents anyways). They couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. They drove it all over and the problem never happened. They were really nice about it and just asked that the next time it happens I bring it in. I totally get that there are 80 billion sensors on cars nowadays and if the problem isn’t happening they can’t do anything about it.

When I picked up my car, I checked in on Foursquare at the dealership and typed, “Of course they couldn’t find anything wrong with my car.” My check in was then posted to my Twitter feed. A day later during the road trip with my parents I get an email from April Ancira (a VP of Ancira Auto Group) asking about my car and what they can do to help. See, she had done a search and seen my Tweet and Check In. She found my blog address on my Twitter profile and found my email address via my blog. At first I wasn’t sure that it was her, so I looked her up on Twitter and asked if she had emailed me. Turns out it was her!

We emailed a few times. I explained that I was not in any way upset with the service I received and completely understood that they weren’t able to solve my car problem. John and I have bought 3 cars from Ancira Nissan and are big fans. She then had the Service Manager contact me. He and I have emailed a few times as well and he was watching the Nissan message boards to see if a problem similar to mine has come up.

That was about a year ago. Despite many long road trips in the past year, I haven’t had the problem happen again. In a way I thought it was a fluke.

This past weekend I drove to Houston for my little brother’s engagement party. About 2 hours into the drive I started having problems. There was a sudden downshift and I couldn’t accelerate. I tried reaching the dealership and they were closed for the day.  Not really knowing what to do, but not wanting to miss an opportunity to get the car looked at I emailed April and asked if she knew of an affiliated dealership in Houston. I wasn’t wanting to hit up the “competition” but also didn’t want to have problems on my way home the next day. I continued to drive and somehow, the problem fixed itself. I eventually had to stop for gas and didn’t have any issues on the remainder of the trip. April did email me back, didn’t know anyone in Houston, but was willing to Google a Nissan dealership for me close to where I was staying. Talk about customer service!

I let her know that I was heading back the next day and that it had somehow fixed itself. I was kind of hoping I’d have problems on the way back so I could get it figured out and well, you get what you wish for!

The acceleration problems happened almost right off the bat. If you’ve EVER driven from San Antonio to Houston no one goes the speed limit. I remember on the way out I was going about 85 and people were passing me. Seriously!? So when your car suddenly turns off cruise control and basically slams on the breaks for you, dropping you from 75 to 60, you’re going to have a problem. The time that happened I was luckily in the right lane and could immediately pull over. Plus did I mention I was in middle of nowhere Texas? Yeah. Here’s the map. 


There’s NOTHING out here. San Antonio to Houston is more boring than the 35 split you take in Hillsboro on the way to Dallas.

This time turning off the car wasn’t fixing it. I drove like this for another 30 minutes to an hour when I eventually stopped for gas. After gassing up the car was fine, but making a loud whining noise. It’s always whined a bit, but this was bad. I even tried to record it so I could take it with me to the dealership the next day. (Yeah, that didn’t work)

This morning John was off and I asked him if he could please get up early and take me to drop my car off. Just as we were walking out I get a call from the dealership (Thank you April!) I talked to Brian about the problems I’m having and say that I was just about to head over there.  He says, “Great. I’ve even got a loaner car ready for you.” Loaner car!? John was happy to go back to bed!

I dropped my car off this morning and was told they were going to keep it until they figured out the problem. Awesome.

Well I’ve already gotten the call that it needs a brand new transmission. Thank god it’s under warranty because I have no idea how we could ever afford to fix it. Plus I get to stay in the loaner car until the transmission comes in. It’s on backorder so it looks like the 15th of June, but could be earlier or later.

We’ve all seen events play out where people try to use social media to get something free, or a legitimate concern goes unnoticed despite attempts to reach out. I in no way expected to hear anything from Ancira. I have no idea the role that April may or may not have it any of it. I’m just amazed by the customer service we’ve received even before I ever tweeted anything about it. I was never upset about anything. It just shows that even positive comments also make a difference.

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