Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Bad Customer Experience

I have just had the most frustrating experience with my local garage. I am sure Covid and Brexit both had an impact on what happened, but I do not know for sure because communication was non-existent.

My car only went in for a small job. I was expecting it to take a day, maybe two if they had to order in a part. Eight days later and I have only just got it back.

I do understand that things are weird and difficult at the moment and if the garage had contacted me and said 'we’re sorry our mechanic is off sick' or 'we can’t get the part right now, can we rebook you in later in the month', I would have said of course, no problem.

Instead I heard...nothing.

If I rang, the poor lady on reception would promise someone would ring me back. They never did. And at no point did anyone ask me when I would need my car back of if it was convenient for them to have it for a bit.

And it was only when I rang and told her that I would be in at 5pm to collect my car as I needed it tomorrow, that it finally got sorted.

This really should not have happened.

So here are my three observations of what would have made the experience better from a customer point of view. None of them are ground breaking and none of them would take that much effort, but could make the world of difference for the customer.

Firstly, do what you said you will. If you have said you will ring back at a certain time, make sure you do it. If you say the car will be returned washed make sure it is.

Secondly, do not promise things you can not do. If you know you are really busy or a person down, do not promise to ring someone back until there is something to tell them.

And thirdly, be proactive with your communications with customers. Keep them up to date if there is an issue or it will take longer than expected. Do not wait for them to chase you.

I would have been a lot less stressed and upset if I had had a better understanding of what was happening at the garage. If they had kept me in the loop they would not have felt obliged to reduce my bill to try and pacify me. Imagine how much money they must be losing if they have had to do that for everyone this week compared with the cost of a few phone calls or emails.

And although I have been a customer for nearly 10 years, this is the experience I will end up remembering when I come to look for my next car. It is not a very appealing one.

Good customer experience does not have to be complicated or expensive, but can have massive repercussions on your business. Do not leave it to chance.

⟨⟨ Previous | Blog home | Next ⟩⟩

Contact Me

If you have any questions about my work please feel free to contact me.

Email me on or find me on Twitter or Linkedin.

Sign up to The UX Life Chose Me Newsletter and get the most interesting UX Research articles, videos and podcasts from across the web straight into your mailbox once a month.