Where is Joseph? He’s not there!

A little unoriginal, but it gets things off my chest – it’s time for a customer service rant, Dubai style.

Firstly, Mrs Saul’s car needs to be serviced. Secondly, our dishwasher has broken down. That can be discussed in another post.

I have to use the main dealer for Mrs Saul’s car, thanks to an extended warranty I have.

This ought to mean top of the Range service, not simply because the dealer represents the car’s brand across a large swathe of the UAE, but also because this company sells high-end luxury cars. I am not one of the owners of the million dollar Italian sports cars being driven in and out of the service area, but I could, at a big push, be the sort of customer who might wish to replace Mrs Saul’s vehicle at some point, a decision which would partly be made based on the levels of service I experience with my current model.

Every other garage I have ever used follows roughly the same process. You ring the garage up and tell them you need to book your car in for a service. They then tell you when they are free and together you work out a time that fits. Let’s pretend that ‘Tuesday afternoon’ is the time in question when work can begin. ‘Fine,’ you might say, ‘I’ll drop the car off in the morning on my way to work.’ The garage would tell you that would be ok, but that work wouldn’t start that morning. No problem there – it’s simply not convenient to drop it off any later.

On arriving at the garage on Tuesday morning, you’d go to the reception area of the garage’s service area, introduce yourself and leave the keys. You might sign a form or have the guy at the desk give your car a quick once over and take down any extra requests or details, but that’d be it.

Not so at this dealer. The entire process appears to have been engineered to annoy customers and to ensure maximum comfort for the ‘service advisors’.

Firstly, calling up the service centre usually results in a phone ringing, unanswered, for several minutes. If you are lucky enough to get through, you discover that they have chosen the employee with the worst English skills to man the booking process.

Provided you can understand the machine gun speed, garbled English rattling at you down the phone, you will eventually be given a time when the car can be taken care of. This is usually when the fun begins.

You see, instead of having someone who you can leave your car with, who then passes it on to the mechanics, you are assigned one of three or four ‘advisors’. That’s fair enough in principle, but the problem lies in the fact that you are not able to drop your car off with anyone else. You are told to come at a specific time and deal with a specific person, regardless of your own personal timetable for the day in question.

Not surprisingly, this is a little inconvenient for anyone who has a job or who has other plans for their Tuesday mornings.

My conversation went roughly along these lines.

‘You can bring the car in at 11.15 and leave it with Joseph.’

‘Ok, I have to go into work so I’ll drop it at 9.’

‘But Joseph won’t be there until 10.30.’

‘I don’t care when Joseph is there. I have to be at work, I understand that the mechanics will start servicing the car later in the day, but I need to drop it off on my way to the office.’

‘But Joseph won’t be there.’

‘So who can I leave it with?’

‘Not Joseph, he won’t be there.’

‘So who will be there? Any other service advisors?’

‘There are some there, but they are busy and it’s Joseph you are assigned to for this servicing.’

‘Look, I don’t care when you start fixing fixing the car, I just need to drop it off around 9.’

‘Ok, come at 1200 on Weds.’

‘No, I need the car serviced as soon as possible, so Tuesday’s fine. I just need to drop it off earlier than 11.15.’

‘But Joseph won’t be there.’

‘Fine, I’ll just park it in front of someone’s desk, tell them who I am, leave the keys in the car and walk out, then.’

‘But Joseph won’t be there’.

‘So who will be there that I can leave it with?’

‘Not Joseph, sir – he won’t be there.’

And on and on and on and on…

Eventually I was told that I can leave it with security and that Joseph will ring me up when he makes it in. I cannot, however, explain anything extra that needs doing when I leave it with the guard. That info can only be related by phone to Joseph, later in the day, presumably at a time that suits Joseph best.

This process happens every time and is completely infuriating and completely unnecessary. I’m amazed it’s still in place – the only reason for this must be that everyone else using the garage is wealthy enough to have their own servants to drop their cars off.

Surely I’m not the only one driven mad by this process? Has noone else complained?


4 Responses to “Where is Joseph? He’s not there!”

  1. Umar in Dubai Says:

    You should have disclosed the name of the dealer. That’s the only way common people like us can find out who to avoid.

  2. Jens Says:

    That’s the beauty of having the monopoly on this specific brand. You have no choice. Kind of the same reason why etisalats or any other company with no no competition’s service sucks. I’m with Infiniti (i.e. Al Rostamani) and their service sucks as well. But nowhere else to go.

  3. Jules Says:

    Oh no I’m taking delivery of a car from this dealer on Thursday (I won’t even go into how many emails and phone calls it took to find out such a vital nugget of information as delivery date). I look forward to developing a hearty relationship with my advisor!

  4. aqoaq Says:

    ". . . . .you discover that they have chosen the employee with the worst English skills to man the booking process.
    Provided you can understand the machine gun speed, garbled English rattling at you down the phone. . . ."
    English is not a pre-requisite for living and working in UAE. May be you should learn some Arabic – after all you are in the Middle East.

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