Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Alghanim Auto Service Center - My First Experience

Prior to arrival, my first impression was good:  Website is great, provides information and pricing. Tells you numbers to call.  Gives a customer feedback form.  So exciting....but....

Looks can be deceiving.

The information that the website provides is incorrect.  You don't need an appointment and should you TRY to make one, neither the numbers nor the feedback form work.  No one ever answers the phone and the form on the site isn't working at all.  What are your options?  You go there.

So, on arrival (around 1pm):  Alghanim's car service center is bagorgeous; everything  you could ever want in a shop.  It's clean.  Dudes wear uniforms. They take your tag number and assign a lane so that you can speak to a service advisor.

Looks can be deceiving.

Once I got into the lane, the service advisor really didn't have an understanding of 1) my vehicle nor 2) what I was requesting.  I asked for a tune up and oil change and for him to check the brakes.  I also asked for a license plate holder.  I was advised that my car would be ready the same day.  I went to their car rental office (which they say they have on their website).  No available cars.  And there were no taxis in site, so I had to wait.  Thaaaaanks.

Service Advisor Man (SAM) said that he would call me about the brakes.  He called before I left the service center to tell me that the license plate holder was not in stock.  Apparently, he promised a phone call - and yup - that was the only one I was going to get.  I started calling him at around 4:30.  No answer.  I called the main number (et voila) an operator answered and I asked to speak to SAM.  No answer.  I kept calling until 7pm when they closed.  (And I still didn't have a car.)

Next day, I start calling SAM at their opening time (7am).  Several hours later, he picked up the phone and acted surprised as if he had never promised to have my car back the same day.  I checked the service ticket and he had written 5:30 the next day (ok, I get it - he said one thing, but wrote another and so it became my fault for not reading the paper).   SAM said his duty ends at 4:30 so he wasn't there to answer the phone.  Gee thanks.  Apparently, no one else answers the phone either.

So, I go back to pick up the car at 5:30 and had to wait an additional 45 minutes while someone washed my car.  OMG.  Didn't they know I was coming?  Ya have 2 days to do an oil change and a tune up and you can't squeeze in a car wash and git er to me on time?  Whutup?

During the Time of Waiting and Contemplation, a cashier hits on me and gives me his mobile phone number "just incase I ever need anything from Alghanim" - like money maybe?  Then, I pick up one of Alghanim's pamphlets on service for my particular vehicle.  It says some tasks are performed at every service (it does not say "checked" at every service.  It says "performed".)  Dayum!  Did my tires get rotated?  Did I get new windshield wiper blades?  I just paid 200 KD for what amounted to a tune up and oil change.  I want my free shit!  So, I go to the customer service dudes.  THREE people (including a Senior Supervisor)  try to explain to me what the brochure means.  Hey - I know English purty good:  performed vs checked.  I know the difference.  They don't.  Sigh.   Never get an answer to my questions. I fill out a very unfavorable customer comment card and I leave.

I drive the car.  It is running rough (engine vibration).  I call SAM.  He's incredulous. He asked me about how the service was on the car and I tell him that it was not a good experience.  He's sorry.  Asks me to bring the car back in.  Yada.  (At this point, do I reeeeeally want to bring my car back?  I dunno...)

About the same time, my Irish Cousin gives me the mobile phone number for the service manager (harps playing, angels singing).  I send dude an SMS the size of encyclopedia Britanica telling him what happened.  He called me; asked me to bring my car back in.  I tell him fine, 8:30 the following morning.  Then SAM calls, upset that I've spoken to Service Manager Dude (SMD).  Calls me many more times later.  More SAM calls even as late as 9:30 pm on Saturday night.  Dude WTF - I'm a customer not a family friend.   Whatever.  SAM promises to be there at 8:30am.

I go in at 8:45.  Where's SAM?  Where's SMD?  Oh.My.God!!!  WTF.  I start sending SMSs to SMD.

I pull into Lane #7 (my lucky number) where this tall, gorgeous guy named Bader trys to help me.  I know his name is Bader because, like the professional he turned out to be, he has a large, legible sign hanging in his kiosk window.  Cool.  Et he speaks Camaro!  He knows the problem and tells me that many of them have the same problem:  large engine, manual transmission = vibration at idle.  Ok fine.  As long as someone knows what the hell they're talking about and makes me feel confident, I'm good.  He says he'll have it checked on the computers and let me know.  I also ask for a wheel alignment and balancing (desert + Camaro = no good, baba).  Bader calls me back in the afternoon, tells me that everything is normal with the car and explains how the tires might affect performance (needs new tires) and to stop trying to bend my rims on sand dunes.  Understood.  I feel completely at ease and confident with this person.

So anyhoo, SMD sent his second-in-command to help me that morning.  Sent me to my office in an Alghanim provided vehicle and driver and even offered to lend me his X5.  (Ok, flirting and sexy boots are really beneficial in these cases.)  Great service at that step.

Get back to my office feeling good about it all and then SAM calls me.  Oh.My.God, what NOW?!  Leave me ALONE!  Get this.... no.... I mean, get THIS:  SAM says to me, "I thought of you last night.  I was late to work because my son had diarrhea last night.  (As if that wasn't bad enough - he goes into more detail) He had loose bowels..."  No.He.Di'in't!!!  Seriously?  Do I care?  I have one of those faces that people feel that they can say ANYthing to.  Here's what SAM should have said, "I am very sorry I wasn't there to greet you.  I had a family emergency."  What he should have done was to send me an SMS - either at night or in the morning - to let me know someone else would have to handle the car.  I didn't even laugh when he told me about the kid with the squirts; I just told him, "good luck with that" and hung up.

As it was, it was a complete blessing SAM's kid got the trots and he (SAM) wasn't there because whenever I go back, I will ask for Bader.  He knows his stuff and is 100% professional.  THAT is the kind of guy I want to be looking after my vehicle.  So, if you have a Camaro and you have to go to Alghanim, go see Bader.  (If you're buying the 700 HP, 24,000kd super-duper Camaro.... for sure see no one but Bader.)

Also, if you need anything electrical diagnosed, go see Ehab Zamel in Bumper to Bumper. I ran into him there.  He used to work on my Stealth and is a magician with electrical systems and diagnostics.  (My Stealth sat at Al Mulla for 2 months with an electrical problem that they could not diagnose.  I had it towed to Ehab and within 2 hours, he found and resolved the problem.) G E N I O U S

So that's my story.  The end.


American Girl said...

I love it when you post. Definitely brightens up my morning coffee as you always crack me up.

So sorry you had all that drama for a simple service to your car. But thank you for reminding me of yet another thing I don't miss about Kuwait.

Edgar said...

I use Jacob, I think he's line 10. He's great and always goes the extra mile, I've taken my Tahoe in a few times with minor issues and he'll call a guy up to take a look at it and fix it on the spot at NO CHARGE! Too bad you had a terrible experience, but mine have been great since I bought my Tahoe in 2010. Next time you go check him out if Bader is not around!

5hapimonkeys said...

LOL. Sorry that you had such a crappy experience but the way you wrote about it is just too funny. Have a great week DG.

Anonymous said...

i have a ot of respect for al ghanim industries since it was passed to the younger (harvard mba) generation - massive clean out and up grade in the last 10 years in all of its sectors
but things can get mucked up - my advice is (you may want to erase this) dress in DS fashion and walk upstairs in corporate HQ (don't bother signing in with the guards)with written complaint and copy thereof - have corporate secretaries sign that they have received your complaint and then say "I want an appointment with Omar..."

Anonymous said...

So the moral of the story is, "It is who you know in Kuwait to get something done." In this particular case, if you didn't find Bader, I really don't think you would have experienced any proper customer service, because SAM was useless and HIGHLY unprofessional and unqualified to do his job. Quite frankly SAM should be issued a warning and if his job performance doesn't improve, then he should be fired. Kuwait needs to improve their customer service level on a whole and it shouldn't be acceptable in this society that everyone performs at such an unacceptable level. It is country-wide, girl-friend! But something that infuriates me is when someone answers your question with a totally unrelated subject, has that happened to you in Kuwait? I confronted a clerk about that recently, I hope I taught him a lesson.

Expat and the City said...

Sounds like you shouldn't just get your car serviced with Badar. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've had mixed experiences with Al Ghanim. I hate the lengthy check out process in their stores. Why can't I pick up an item and pay like everywhere else? Their Xcite delivery service is nice when it works, but more often than not there are issues. They often don't come on the day they say they will. More often than not their drivers only know how to take K-net and cannot take Visa or MasterCard, even though their website and customer service clearly say they can. Complaints often are ignored. I recently bought a water cooler. It stopped working. They sent someone to verify it wasn't working (as if I would lie about it). Then they sent someone to pick it up. I eventually got it back, only to have the exact same thing fail less than a week later (electrical short). I again had to wait for someone to come verify, then wait again to have it picked up. The repair took so long (over 30 days from the beginning) that I went and bought a different one from Eureka. I was treated like an idiot on the phone (nothing was ever their fault) and many of my emails went unanswered. Now we only use Alghanim when we have to and try to go elsewhere first. -Kevin

RobW said...

I haven't heard anybody ask for a 'tune-up' since the good ol' days of carburettors! :)

Alghanim Automotive said...

Dear Desert Girl,

Thank you for relaying your experience at Alghanim Automotive Service Center in the details and frankness in which you did. We duly apologize for any mishaps that may have occurred.

Alghanim Automotive strives to provide all its customers with the best possible experience at the Service Center and all its other facilities. We take customer feedback very seriously and the points you have mentioned have been heeded and noted.

Once again, your sincerity is truly appreciated and we hope to live up to your expectations in the future.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment from 10:32 AM: I guess SAM is so fired at this point.

Anonymous said...

I bought from Alghanim a year ago. Had a deal, all scheduled maintenance for 60,000 KM for like 200kd. Also was told that any breakdown and repairs longer than 5 hours justify a loaner.

Car breaks down on a Friday about noon. Took almst three haours to get the car picked up. Because they are closed on friday no loaner.

Saturday morning 9AM I get a call from them wanting to know what was wrong with the car. All the calls I made the day before, and they never entered the problem into the system. I tell him what happened. He said not able to look at car until Sunday. I tell I need loaner car. He said he would get back to me. Nothing by 1130 so I call back. He said no loaner was available. I told him I needed to go to work Sunday and I needed a car. He told me he was going to get the paperwork from the manager and to come in.

I get my taxi friend to pick me up in Mangaf and he drops me off at the Shuwaik service center. I go and get the paperwork from the service advisor and go to the office where they do the loaners. I get in there and they tell me 'no cars today come back tomorrow'. I tell them I need to be at work in the morning and I need a car to get there. They tell me 'not my problem'. I explain to them that I am not a wealthy Kuwaiti with 20 cars outside my villa and have a backup. My backup plan is the fact they sold me that they have loaner vehicles for situations like this.

Now, I tell him that I was just going to go to to the airport and rent a car and they would just have to reimburse me. They told me that I couldnt do that because that wasnt in the contract. I had to remind them that it is in the contract that any warranty work requiring me being without a car that they are obligated to provide a loaner. Once again they told me they didnt have any cars for me.

Now, I need to go into a$$hole mode just to get what they are obligated to provide me. I tell him that they are the largest chevy dealer in the country, and they have plenty of fcukin cars and I didnt give a rats ass If they had to pull a new fcukin car off the show room floor, I wasnt going away without a car.

Five minutes later I was leaving with a loaner.

It really sucks that I had to get shitty about it, it wouldnt have been an issue if they just didnt try avoiding giving a loaner car in the first place.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right about the Bumper2Bumper contact-ability (or lack of it!). They have no number you can contact and get a response. The 1881111 ext 1821 does not work! So the best way is to get the mobile number of the supervisor in charge. Hope someone at B2B takes notice!

James said...

Regarding Ehab Zamel, you are ABSOLUTELY right. Fantastic attitude and a great technical asset at B2B. Even more is the fact that he never says no first. He listens - and listens carefully, makes sure all options are thought out and will try his best to fix it even if its out of his immediate area. The dedication is enough for these machines we care about so much to get back on the road! Ehab rocks!