Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kudos to Autowest Honda

In February I bought a Honda S-2000 - which is a great car - fun to drive, with lots of pep - exactly what a sportscar should be. It was described to me, at the time of delivery, as a "swiss watch" - with all the precision that implies. And, with one minor exception, that is exactly how the car has performed.

The one minor exception was the Honda Ipod link. I purchased it when I bought the car. For whatever reason, the device was unreliable. I would take it back to the dealer (I think in the end four times) and they would be able to get it to perform for about a day. The sound quality was always inferior. So last week, I went back to the dealer. I spoke with the service person and said I was dissatisfied with this accessory. We talked about whether it could be repaired. I said after the several times I had had it in the shop, I thought it could not. I asked them to pull the unit and wanted a refund. Yesterday, Autowest sent me a refund check to cover the cost of the unit and the installation.

One of the reasons I switched from a Mustang to a Honda (besides the design changes in the Mustang which made it a lot less nimble) was some real problems I had with my Ford dealership. When I was in college I worked as a mechanic and I decided upon graduation that I did not want to spend my free time working on cars. So when I buy a new car, I am also buying service. The Ford dealership would follow up each service call with a questionnaire which asked about the quality of service (which in this particular dealership declined rather markedly from the time I bought the car to the time I sold it). But in the case of the iPod link and Autowest what I found was two things different. First, they genuinely tried to solve the problem I had with the device. But second, when it became clear that the device would not work to standards, they stood behind it and promptly refunded my money. In the long term, any business can maximize their short term profits by extracting as much as they can out of each customer or they can choose to try to meet their customer's needs for the longer term. Autowest seems to have chosen the second course. It is refreshing to find an auto dealer who understands that kind of service, which will ultimately build better brand loyalty.

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