I had a flat tire, twice.

Now that is annoying on several levels but there were about 4 things that actually made it an experience I wanted to share. And I will share some kudos to some folks along the way.

So new cars have these tire inflation sensors. Mine went off Sunday afternoon. A cursory check didn’t appear to show anything so I continued with my day and returned home. About an hour after I got home my right front tire was flat. Hoping I could find a place to repair it at 3PM on a Sunday afternoon, I attempt to remove it. The little wrench they give you in the boot of your car is no match for most impact guns. Even with the tools I had in my garage the bolts were not moving. So I call roadside assistance to come and loosen the lug nuts for me. They arrived in about an hour and accomplished the job quickly. I left the tire in place until I could figure out a repair strategy. Any hope I had of fixing the tire on Sunday was gone and I left the whole mess for the next day. I left the tire in place until I could figure out a repair strategy.

Monday I checked on repair locations and settled on Fountain Tire as a local Goodyear dealer just in case there was any warranty implications. I arranged to take the car there before work on Tuesday and was looking forward to having this little annoyance behind me.

Tuesday morning arrived. Dropped the car off as promised, grabbed my MiFi and my laptop and started my day down the street at my favourite coffee shop. Picked up car and went to work,
expecting the incident was behind me.

The day over I go to my car and the same tire is flat again. Its 4PM and I’m left with changing this tire – again. Now this is the moment of truth. I call the store I had the repair done at:

“Fountain Tire, this is Dave” [4:12PM]
“Hi Dave, this is Bill I had my tire repaired this morning and its flat again. I wanted to know how late you are open and how I can get this sorted out.”
“We’re open until 5 but I’ll stay late if we have to to get it taken care of”
“I think I can make it there in about 20 min”

That response by Dave took what could of been a massively annoying problem and turned it around in a couple of seconds. Which was good because the annoyances weren’t quite over yet.
I was parked next to a curb and the tire was on that side. meaning I needed the little scissor jack to operate in the space between the side of the car and the curb. Luckly there was just enough room for the jack but I bashed my knuckles a few times jacking it up. 15 minutes, a little blood, some dirty hands and muddy clothes later I was on my way. Called again to make sure I still had someone waiting to take care of this.

“Fountain Tire, this is Phil” [4:26PM]
“Hi Phil, this is Bill, I was taking to Dave earlier about my tire”
“Yeah, your the guy we repair this morning and its flat again”
“Yep, I’m on the road should be there in 5-10 min”

Now this is another moment, not only did the guy I talked to first know the deal, apparently the other folks did as well. There are professional call centres who can’t do this and you’d end up explaining yourself all over again. Or wait for them to find your ‘customer record’.

So I arrive back at the store, they get right on the problem. Find that the morning repair was done correctly but there was a secondary puncture further down the tire. The first nail was so obvious that they fixed that and thought it was done. I probably make about 20 assumptions like that a day so no foul on that one.

While they are getting my car sorted out I’m talking to them about the tire pressure systems. Apparently they are incredibly accurate, and a far cry from the ‘idiot lights’ I’ve dismissed on my cars of old. A combination of 10 year lithium battery and a RFID-based sensor, apparently you can read the tire pressures from 5 feet away. So in addition to some good service I got an interesting discussion on car technology which I enjoyed greatly. Then it’s 5:08PM, I’ve got my car back.

This is where a the final little moment of the day. In my rush to get to the store, I had thrown the jack, wrench , and little pouch of tools in the back of the car. While I was happy to see my spare re-stowed under the car, it was a surprise to me that the jack and tools had been collected and stowed, including putting the little plastic door that covered them back on. Now that showed some professionalism to do that little bit extra even right at the end of the day. I wouldn’t have thought any less if that hadn’t been done.

You can talk about customer service but more and more that is just managing customers. I’d like to think of this as just good service; from the first response to my problem, to communicating the situation to others in the store, and the final clean up of the back of my car. Plus I got a little techie fix on the stuff in my car along the way. It was a truly brilliant response to what might have been a less than brilliant day for me.

[Note: quotes provided are to the best of my recollection]


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