A wasted Saturday afternoon

I've just wasted a Saturday afternoon, but in the process I've learnt a valuable lesson, and a lesson which will be of benefit to anyone who runs their own business.
For the last few months I've been thinking about buying a new car, but it's all got a bit stressful, and so in the end I decided to keep the one I've got for a few more months and have some essential work done on it.
The thing I needed fixing was very small and I was quoted £80 to do the work by my local branch of Kwik Fit.
Without going into the technical details, it's something that was only going to take about 20 minutes to do. But before agreeing to the price, I decided to get some other quotes - and my local branch of Wilco Motosave said they could do the same work for £70.
I have used this branch of Motosave several times in the past, and I have usually found their staff to be rude and unhelpful. In addition, their waiting area is unpleasant, noisy and uncomfortable.
But on the understanding that they would do the work on time, I thought I could put up with a bit of rudeness and discomfort for 20 minutes if it would save me £10.
So I booked a slot at 2.30pm today for the work to be done. I even said they could choose the time of the appointment themselves, but I made it very clear that I would be in a hurry and I really needed the work to be done at the time they stated.

And this is where the problems started
I fully expected to arrive at 2.30pm and have the work finished by at least 3.15pm so that I could go to an important appointment elsewhere.
I arrived dead on time, and handed over my car keys, only to be told that the work wouldn't be done for several hours. I asked why, and they said it was because they were “busy”.
It became quite obvious what was going on. They had experienced an influx of people just coming off the street without an appointment, and they didn't want to turn away the potential business. So people like me who had gone to the trouble of booking an appointment at an exact time, were being pushed to the back of the queue so they wouldn't lose the business of the 'walk in' customers.
As you can imagine I was pretty annoyed about this, but in the end I managed to negotiate with them that they would have the car finished by 4pm. The manager then suggested that I went off to the local McDonald's to wait there.
I'm not fan of McDonald's (I'm a strict vegetarian and I wouldn't be seen dead in that place) so I walked around aimlessly in the rain for an hour just to kill a bit of time. I then returned to the garage at 4.10pm, fully expecting my car to be ready.
By now I was desperate to get my car back so I could do other more important things. So I was horrified to discover that my car was still up on the ramp - and the work hadn't even been started!!
There were no staff to be seen, so I had a look round the back and discovered all the engineers were together in a huddle, laughing, smoking and chatting - and they clearly couldn't give a damn about the fact that I desperately needed my car to get somewhere else.
I went inside the store and asked the manager what was going on, as they had promised me the car would be finished well by 4pm (which was already an hour later than originally agreed).
The manager’s reply astounded me. He said that his staff deserved a break, and in any case it was MY fault for leaving the premises (that is what he told me to do!!)
So I waited outside in the rain again. And it took another whole hour before they could be bothered to finish the work on my car (a simple job that took them about 20 minutes, once they’d actually got round to doing it). So I finally left the garage at 5pm - two-and-a-half hours after the time booked for the work to be done

So what have I learnt from this experience?
I have learnt an important lesson from this experience which will not only benefit myself in the future, but will also benefit YOU if you run your own business.
I could have gone to my local branch of Kwik-Fit and paid £10 more. I have used them in the past and they have always done the work to a high standard, more-or-less exactly in the agreed timescale. They have a pleasant waiting area with big comfortable chairs, a massive TV to watch while you're waiting, and a free coffee machine with a range of different delicious drinks that you can help yourself to.
So, the next time I need anything doing to my car I will have to weigh-up whether it's worth wasting an entire Saturday afternoon wandering about in the rain for the sake of saving ten quid. I think I know what I will do next time!
If you run your own business, it's worth bearing in mind that most customers are prepared to pay a higher price if they are treated with respect and given good, efficient customer service.
And companies that treat their customers with disdain like Wilco Motosave will eventually pay a heavy price for offering slightly cheaper prices, but with terrible customer service.

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