Your brand – your customer problem!

One of my staff – we’ll call him Bruce – recently had a flat battery and called the RACV for assistance.

The RACV mechanic came around and took over an hour to replace the battery because one blew up and he had to install a second battery.  By the time he was done, it was about 10:30 on a Sunday night in Melbourne’s outer north-eastern suburbs.  Finally it was payment time.  Bruce was asked how he was going to pay. He said, “By credit card.”  The mechanic replied, “Oh, sometimes the machine doesn’t work. Do you have cash?”  Bruce:  “Sorry, I don’t have $150 on me. Can we try the card?”  

Needless to say, the card didn’t work and Bruce was asked if he could go to an ATM to get money out. Bruce said he wasn’t going out to an ATM that late on a Sunday and asked the mechanic what else he could do.

The RACV battery man called his boss, who insisted Bruce pay cash now or they would uninstall the battery. There was no attempt to put the card through manually over the phone then, and when Bruce asked if he could call head office to make the payment by card, he was told: “No, we’re subcontractors to the RACV, so they can’t take payment.”

So the payment problem was not resolved and yes, the battery was uninstalled…only for Bruce to ring the RACV again the following day after he had been to an ATM to get cash out.

Bruce called the RACV head office to complain, but they confirmed that the mechanics were subcontractors and head office couldn’t take payments.


  • The service guy should have asked at the beginning about payment and, given the amount of time he was there, Bruce could have gone to the ATM to get the cash out while he worked.
  • If your brand is RACV, your RACV battery brand and other services should all be able to take payment for all your services. I don’t care that it’s a subcontracting arrangement. As far as I’m concerned, you’re one brand and you’re all the same company.
  • Surely the boss could have taken payment for his contractor over the phone using his machine?
  • It was a waste of time and resources for Bruce and the RACV – two phone calls and two call-outs for something that should have been resolved in one.
  • RACV should have taken the complaint on board and offered a solution.

It seems the RACV wants the benefits of appearing to be a full service business but with none of the hassles. If it was truly putting the customer at the heart of the business and creating great customer experience, all this would be seamless: “Yes, sir, let us take your money in an easy and simple way.”


About Behind the Line

Digital and online marketer, passionate about maximising customer experiences. Opinions are mine & not those of my employer.
This entry was posted in customer Experience, customer loyalty, customer service. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Your brand – your customer problem!

  1. heather says:

    That is typical – but RACV customer service AND service has been delcining rapidly or many years.
    I have had 2 BAD experiences and 2 good experiences in the last 15 years.
    They are as follows:-
    1995 – keys locked in boot of car approx 3pm, called RACV, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, after numerous phone calls, it was quicker for my husband to travel 150km when he finished work to bring me the spare set. I was in an industrial area in inner city Melbourne with a child and it was Very SCARY. RACV’s response was, after complaining to give me complimentary 12 months Roadside BASIC assistance, at no cost.
    2005 – Stuck at petrol pumps, car wouldn’t start, called RACV and kept on hold for 15 minutes from a mobile phone, IF that has been a pre-paid phone I would have been out of credit. Weather conditions, dry and fine.
    RACV’s response, oh well, we were busy
    2007 – blew the engine management system, 1km from home, RACV towed me home, can’t complain – he wasn;t meant to, but for the distance he figured better, easier and cheaper than a tow truck
    2010 – electrical problems in a 2yr old car, RACV attended, replaced battery, but something else was wrong. As the RACV guy was also the tow guy, he organised for the car to be towed that morning, without me having to place a second call through the Roadside Assist (that comes with new car purchase)

    I don’t like RACV – but they are a necessary evil living so far away from public transport and travelling the km’s we do.

    So yes – the above blog post, stands with my ideas mostly of the RACV and why they are not providing customer service and why it has been that way for over 15 years!

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