The Simple Solutions are the Best

She’s beautiful, isn’t she? I decided to treat myself a few months ago, and I haven’t regretted it for even one minute.
But last month I discovered that the car had to go back to the dealer for something to be added. It was a part that needed installing in order to upgrade the functionality of the car’s communications system so that I can connect the on-board computer to my smart-phone using a special app called 'Mercedes Me'.
I was completely happy about this because it was being paid for by Mercedes and all I had to do was take the car to my local Mercedes showroom and wait an hour (with lots of free cappuccinos) while the part was being installed into the car. Easy peazy.
At least that’s what I thought.
So I booked the appointment at Mercedes Benz of Leeds, and I turned up on time, and I got my free cappuccino. And everything seemed fine.
Then after about an hour, an engineer came into the showroom to tell me that the gizmo had been fitted, plus they had given the car an extensive ‘health check’ (everything  was hunky dory) and they’d even washed the car for me (fantastic customer service, but completely pointless since I had washed it myself only a few days earlier).
So all I needed to do was take her home and enjoy her.
And that’s where the problems began. The fancy new gizmo refused to work. So I looked on the internet for advice and found a smorgasbord of information about needing to fiddle with this and needing to fiddle with that. But after hours of frustration, absolutely nothing solved the problem.
So I phoned Mercedes at their headquarters in Germany and spoke to a really nice guy called Hans* who talked me through a lengthy technical procedure to get the gizmo working so that I could connect the car up to my smart-phone.
Still no joy.
So Hans said he would write a technical report about this (typical German) and would get the engineers at Mercedes head office to look into the problem.
I waited and waited and waited. Eventually I received an email all the way from Stuttgart saying that they could not find a reason for the gizmo not working, and advising me to go back to my local dealer to have it checked out.
So I phoned the Leeds branch of Mercedes and spoke to the head engineer who said that the part might have been faulty and he would look into it for me and let me know how the problem could be solved.
So I waited and waited and waited (again) and eventually I received a call from them saying that they were unable to explain why the part wasn’t working and that I would have to book another session with them to remove the part, test it, and if necessary to fit a new part.
This would mean me booking another appointment with their engineers. This meant me taking another half day off work (but at least I’d get more free cappuccinos in their snazzy waiting room).
I had no idea when I would be able to take time off work, so I said I would call back to book the appointment when I knew I could take time off.
By this point I was getting rather exasperated. I began to question whether I was even bothered about the fancy gizmo. After all, did it really matter whether I could connect my car to my smart-phone or not? It all seemed like a lot of hassle, just for a fancy bit of technology.
Eventually, I rang them back and spoke to a receptionist who said she was unable to make an appointment for several weeks as they were very busy.
Then she said something interesting. “What exactly is wrong with your car Mr. Bugg?”
I replied that there was nothing actually wrong with it, but I just couldn’t get my smart-phone app to link up with the car.
“Which phone app have you installed?” She asked me.
“Ehh?!?!? Is there more than one app?” I replied.
“Yes, there are two Mercedes apps that you can download, but they do different things.”
So I looked at my phone and suddenly realised that there was indeed another app that looked virtually the same as the one I had downloaded.
No one had bothered to tell me that Mercedes have two smart-phone apps. I had just assumed there was only one ... and I was trying to use the wrong one!
Five minutes later, everything was working fine. The receptionist had been able to solve the problem for me immediately. A problem that neither the chief engineer at a Mercedes main dealer, nor even the 'experts' at Mercedes head office in Germany were able to solve.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: never assume the customer knows something just because you do. And remember that in customer service situations, the simple solutions are always the best. 

* Footnote: Hans is not his real name, but it sounded appropriate for this story.

To see hundreds more articles click here to visit our archive