Originally Posted by Brumby
I don’t know if it’s the same in other countries, but would like to know from the members settled abroad.
First of all thanks for sharing this. Wonderful thread, showing how Toyota takes it after sales services very seriously indeed. Nice to see these training programs for their mechanics!.
Let me share some experiences from the Western world when it comes to after sales services. Like in India, there are the manufacturer dealerships and the independent service garages. I will concentrate on the manufacturer dealerships only.
By and large these days the basics on how they operate are very similar. You make an appointment, either you call or you do it online. At the appointed day you drive over there. Unless it is something really small and you have agreed it up front, most people will leave their car for the day. You are seen/received at a proper service reception facility. They will have the records of your car, they will talk you through the items you want servicing and give a price. These days most will quote fixed prices on everything.
The service reception is always well maintained, they might have a separate waiting lounge. There will be free coffee/tea/water, free magazines/newspapers and free wifi.
In the Netherlands, many will offer free bicycles for you to peddle back home/work. Quite a few offer a drop of service. One of the mechanics will take you and your car and drop you off somewhere. High end brands might even lend you a car for the day for free. (As did my Jaguar dealership in Kansas City).
Everything is completely digitised/computerized. If you booked your car for a particular job, the parts would have been ordered and are already in the workshop. All workshops have separate bays. There are usually a couple of special bays where specific jobs are carried out that require special tooling.
Parts are ordered ahead of you showing up. All regular service components and parts are stocked by all local dealerships as well. Anything else will get ordered and they will make sure to check everything they need early on in the day. In countries such as the Netherlands and Germany the automotive parts supply and logistics is phenomenally well organised. A dealership will get 2-3 deliveries per day. Deliveries are usually within 2-3 hours after ordering (all online).
It is extremely rare for your car not to be ready by the end of the afternoon. The service centre will call you when your car is ready for delivery, or when they find something that needs attention too and is outside what you had agreed.
Being a car mechanic is considered a good job / career. It earns decent money and these days good car mechanics are in high demand. There are several special type of college degrees as an entry level and just about all brands offer continuous schooling throughout your career.
There is no separate quality control on the work performed. Each mechanics will have a checklist for the type of work he/she (yes there are female car mechanics too) does. You are responsible for your own work. There might be special kind of jobs that need (sometimes for legal reasons) sign off by a dedicated person. Usually the chief mechanic. (E.g. MOT inspection)
When you come to pick up your car, it will be outside in the dealership courtyard. Depending on your dealership they might have thrown in a car wash and a valet. Our Ford dealership has it’s own car wash, so every car no matter what kind of service it comes in for, will get a car wash, free of charge. My Jaguar dealer always valets the car too, no charge.
One thing is common for all, you will need to settle the invoice in full before they release the car to you. Most people will pay by debit/credit card. To give some conext. A regular service on my wife’s Ford Fiesta costs (labour and parts) around Euro 350 (INR 27000). If you get charged by the hour it will be around Euro 70 (INR 5500) per hour, excluding parts (but included are all the facilities and tooling).
The next day, sometimes the same day, you will receive either a telephone call or an email with a customer satisfaction survey. Anything you flag as not good enough is likely to be followed up with you. They will check and come back to you.
So what Toyota is aspiring to implement in India is pretty much how things are done and have been done for quite some time in (most parts) of the Western world.
A very consistent, customer centric, professional service. Fixed pricing, same day turn around, no surprises.
Many dealers will have something like a quick-service. You can just drop in without an appointment. They will check and if the job can be done, they will do it on the spot. Same treatment/proces as your regular service.
I have read many posts on the forum of members complaining being taken for a ride by the dealerships on after sales services. I would say that is more or less unheard of in the western world. It does happen though (I have experienced it too). But by and large you will get a very fair treatment, fixed prices, all done in one day. No hassle.
There are a few downsides too. As they quote standard prices, this implies they have standard procedures and working methods. Which often means they will replace rather than check the part. Often parts can be repaired. This is one of the differences with independent workshops. They might charge by the hour, but they tend to be more flexible in their approach.
One more thing: If you like to hang around whilst they work on your car, obviously there is the nice customer lounge. But nearly all will offer you the opportunity to wander into the workshop and see your car being serviced. In some countries there could be some restrictions due to legal reasons. But usually it’s not a problem and many mechanics quite like it, being able to talk to the customer, showing/explaining etc.