A Tale of Two Customer Service Experiences



On the morning of September 27 at 7:40 AM, I had the pleasure of having my normal commute to work being interrupted by another car who felt it was necessary to run a red light and hit my car. No one was hurt and after the police took a report, we were all on our way.

The Bad

I called my insurance company and let them know that somebody hit me and that my car was in need of repairs. Apparently, according to the regulars of the car wreck scene, one should call the liable party’s insurance company to have them handle the damages. But I did not. I called my insurance company because I thought, “Hey! Isn’t this why I pay them every month? To handle things like this?” One would assume that is the case and they can handle it, but not without its caveats.
My insurance company took care of the damages, but I still had to pay my deductible and then wait for them to get all the money back through subrogation from the liable party’s insurance company in order to reimburse me for my deductible. They also provided me a rental car but once I met the rental rate max, I had to pay for the rental even though my car was not ready. I was quite taken aback by the fact that I had to pay for something that, according to the official police report, was not my fault. My simple goal that wonderful morning was to drive to work not to be financially burdened by the mistake of some other driver.


I did nothing wrong that morning yet was treated as if it was my fault. Due to this experience, my family is currently shopping around for a new insurance company for the first time in over a decade. It wouldn’t have taken much for us to stay…just good customer service. If my customer was in a wreck that was no fault of their own, I would have provided them a rental comparable to their car, waived the deductible and told them that we would have their car repaired and back as quickly as possible. That’s it. It’s that simple to deliver excellent customer service. And they failed. And this would have been an overall terrible experience except for the great customer service I received from the repair shop.

The Good

You may have noticed that I did not mention the insurance company and I have my reasons. One being that two months after that accident, I still haven’t gotten my deductible back and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers until then. I’m also not a big fan of speaking negatively about companies online. If I have a problem, I let them know and hope they are smart enough to fix it. I also have no problem telling my friends and family about the negative experience i.e. Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

But on the other end of the spectrum, I am more than happy to tell the world about the positive experiences I have with businesses like the great experience I had with the Tom Wood Auto Group. My car, a Subaru Outback, was repaired by Tom Wood Collision as well as Tom Wood Subaru. They always kept me up-to-date on the status of repairs and the only thing that slowed them down was my insurance company. When I met the rental max and was going to have to pay for it out of my pocket, I asked them if they could provide me a loaner. Since my car was at Tom Wood Subaru waiting for a part, I called the dealership and without batting an eye, they said they would be happy to provide me a free loaner until my car was fixed. And when my car was finally fixed and after driving it, I noticed some issues, Tom Wood Collision took it back, gave me a free rental and fixed the issues. Awesome.

The Obvious

Great customer service is that simple. Make the customer happy and they will be customers for life and constantly tell the world how great you are. Effective marketing and advertising can only take you so far if you don’t have impressive customer service. It’s the key, the cornerstone, the linchpin of every successful business.