Mercedes has won an award for the best customer service by a car maker in the UK, despite the huge issues surrounding failures in their BlueEfficiency cars.
Mercedes has been declared to have the best customer Service in the car industry in the UK, according to a survey by the Institute of Customer Service. Which is a nice big feather in their cap. Mercedes have tried very hard to re-claim the reputation they once had for high quality products and service and – to a great degree – they’ve achieved that.
But as we’ve reported recently – and as the hundreds of comments left on articles here on Cars UK attest – everything is not exactly a bed of roses for Mercedes Customer Services at the moment. And hasn’t been for a few months. All because Mercedes are stone-walling on a huge problem they have with their BlueEfficiency engines in the Mercedes E Class and C Class.
Mercedes claims the problem with faulty injectors on the BlueEfficiency cars with the OM651 engine are small. We know the numbers run in to thousands in the UK and tens of thousands throughout Europe. Yet Mercedes policy is just to wait until the cars break down and then address the issue. Even then, many cars have been repaired with faulty injectors and subsequently failed a second, third and even fourth time. There have been Cars UK readers whose cars have broken on the outside lane of a motorway; been left at the roadside for hours in sub-zero temperatures waiting for recovery and many, many tales of woe.
The survey declaring Mercedes to have the best customer survey was actually done in late November. Before the faulty injectors problem became a huge issue for Mercedes. And the respondents to the survey were – as is usually the case with surveys like this – opt-in respondents. Which means they’ve chosen to regularly fill in surveys from the third-party company used by the Institute of Customer Service. ‘Semi-Pro’ form fillers, you may say.
There were 26,000 respondents to the survey. Which is a very good number, and should give a very valid result. Even if you ignore the ‘Semi -Pro’ status of the form fillers. But actually, only a small percentage of the 26,000 answered questions on Mercedes’ Customer Service. The Institute of Customer Service told Cars UK that only respondents who actually has experience of Mercedes Customer Service could respond to that particular question. But they couldn’t tell us how many that was.
We’re not finding fault with the Institute of Customer Service. Their surveys are as relevant as any such survey ever can be. And they are of the moment. But their results would be completely different if they did the survey now and actually asked 26,000 owners of cars bought in the last year what they thought of their car maker’s customer service.
We think Mercedes would be much nearer the bottom than the top. Along with Toyota. And Honda. But at least the Japanese companies are acknowledging their problem and pro-actively fixing cars that have never actually developed a problem.
Which is a world away from waiting for cars to pack up all together before anything gets done. With the endless grief and possible safety issues that presents.