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I read all the horror stories about Honda Service and shiver, being a first-time Honda owner. I bought my first Toyota in 2003 and I've been a faithful customer at that dealership ever since thanks to the service writer I dealt with later that year. He was a veteran, been there and done that for years before I came along, we argued over charging for fuel injector cleaning when my wife's Camry had to have the ECM replaced under warranty but he gave some and I was OK with that. I got the feeling from working with him that he really was about taking care of the customer. Since then, he's taken care of me through the Camry, a Chevy Blazer, three 4Runners and two Matrix's. I trust him to treat me well, I know I pay more for factory service over third-party providers but he keeps it down to a minimum. He's aware of competitive pricing and because of his seniority and sales records, he gives me a break most walk-in customers don't get.

Look for that person when you need your truck serviced. Go the the dealer's website, look at the "Our Team" pages and find the service writer who's been there the longest, they haven't been there that long for no reason. Go in, bump elbows or whatever, introduce yourself and tell them you would really like to work with them as a long-term customer. Explain what you need done,ask for the price and compare it to competitive quotes from other dealers nearby. Haggle but don't get antagonistic, you're here to make a friend, remember that.

And if you find you just can't get along there are lots of Honda dealers with service departments.
 

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Didn't work for me. The general manager of the dealer I bought my last two Ridgelines from is my neighbor. The service manager has been there for half of his 50-year life. They sympathized with my situation involving my 2019 Ridgeline, but admitted Honda has quality problems and understood why I was leaving. They said they hoped Honda would improve and that I would some day come back. Honda customer service ignored my pleas for help and Honda PR said they didn't have any influence over customer service issues.

On the other end of the spectrum, I inherited a 2016 Ford Fiesta a couple of years ago from a family member who died. It needed a few repairs to meet my standards. I took it to the nearest Ford dealer and was absolutely blown away by their courtesy and genuine concern. They knew I inherited the car, was going to sell it, and wasn't a "Ford guy", yet they still went above and beyond. It wasn't enough to convince me to buy a Ford, but it made me realize how uncaring and unhelpful the Honda dealers I've been to are.

Honda has three problems: 1) Poor customer service, 2) poor quality control, and 3) poor dealer experiences. That's a bad formula.
 

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I've been a faithful customer at that dealership ever since thanks to the service writer I dealt with later that year.
I got the feeling from working with him that he really was about taking care of the customer.
I trust him to treat me well
he gives me a break most walk-in customers don't get.

you're here to make a friend, remember that.
In general, this is really bad advice.
Dealership service writers are NOT your friend.
It is their job to make EVERY customer feel like they are "friends" who are "trusted" and want to "take care" of them.

This is how they make their money. They work on commission...
"basically they are salesmen. They're even paid on commission. That means that the more work they convince you that your car needs, the more money that puts in their pockets."

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Didn't work for me. The general manager of the dealer I bought my last two Ridgelines from is my neighbor. The service manager has been there for half of his 50-year life. They sympathized with my situation involving my 2019 Ridgeline, but admitted Honda has quality problems and understood why I was leaving. They said they hoped Honda would improve and that I would some day come back. Honda customer service ignored my pleas for help and Honda PR said they didn't have any influence over customer service issues.

On the other end of the spectrum, I inherited a 2016 Ford Fiesta a couple of years ago from a family member who died. It needed a few repairs to meet my standards. I took it to the nearest Ford dealer and was absolutely blown away by their courtesy and genuine concern. They knew I inherited the car, was going to sell it, and wasn't a "Ford guy", yet they still went above and beyond. It wasn't enough to convince me to buy a Ford, but it made me realize how uncaring and unhelpful the Honda dealers I've been to are.

Honda has three problems: 1) Poor customer service, 2) poor quality control, and 3) poor dealer experiences. That's a bad formula.
Sad to hear, zroger73. Service has always been a major part of a dealership's profits but it seems like since the GR owners have been leaning on service managers to increase income and they're pressuring their advisors. Unfortunately that mindset hasn't changed with the economic recovery we've experienced over the last 10 years, they got used to that money coming in despite sales returning to previous levels. So the advisors(is that the PC term?;)) are limited in the amount of leeway they have in pricing and suggested service to customers they know will keep coming back if they don't feel like they're being pressured or screwed.

It looks like your Ford dealer has figured out it's easier to work with repeat business and more profitable in the long run. Too bad they don't make a truck comparable to the Ridgeline.

"Honda has three problems: 1) Poor customer service, 2) poor quality control, and 3) poor dealer experiences. That's a bad formula." I haven't had my Ridgeline long enough to comment on 1) and 2), but I'll give you a big +10 on 3) when it comes to buying one. But that's another topic and the language won't be polite....

Best,
Bill
 

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I guess I am the lucky one when it comes to service at a dealership. I met my advisor on my first visit, this is when he found out I was a stickler about my Ridgeline. Knowing this, he set me up with a 20 year mechanic who also drove a Ridgeline. It was a match made in Heaven. The mechanic only does work that is needed and cleans everything down when done. No little residue drips after fluid change with him.

The service advisor gives me a discount on work. Yes, they probably have room to discount because of higher shop rates. I am sure it is a way to keep bringing me back, which it does.

While I was at the dealership getting service I asked them to replace the five year old battery, the advisor came back and said the battery was in excellent shape and I would be wasting money by replacing it now. The old battery is still in the truck, now 12 months later.

I have even gotten several free oil changes.

My mechanic is leaving the dealership to branch out full time on his own. Since it is so hard to find a good mechanic, I will be leaving the dealership and following my mechanic. I will still go to the dealership for any warranty work on my ‘20 CRV.
 
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