tom walsh motors, baldoyle, dublin 13
When this dealership went way, way beyond the call of duty...
The size of modern car showrooms often makes them feel clinical and quite impersonal. But a recent experience at Tom Walsh Motors in Baldoyle in North Dublin proved that if warmth, and a willingness to go the extra mile for a customer are at the heart of a business, size and space don't matter.
This is a family run dealership that sells Honda, Kia, Seat and Citroen cars. It was set up in 1972 by Tom Walsh and his wife, Molly, and is now run by their daughters, Sandra and Paula and their brother Alan.
We called them first thing on a Monday morning a couple of weeks ago with an urgent problem. The phone was answered quickly and when we outlined the situation to Sandra she instantly went into "action" mode assuring us the problem could be solved without delay.
The "problem" was that a car belonging to friends visiting Dublin for the weekend was refusing to start in their hotel car park. They were not members of any rescue service and to make matters worse, one of them had suddenly been taken seriously ill and was in hospital.
Needless to say, getting their car mobile was a matter of some urgency. Sandra offered to send a tow truck to the hotel to collect the car and bring it back to the dealership for repair.
By the time we arrived to hand over the keys, she had been on to the hotel to check that the tow truck could get access to the basement car park. As it turned out it couldn't.
Unfazed, she offered to send two of her mechanics to the hotel to retrieve the car. Later that day we got a call to say the car was ready for collection.
In our book the dealership had gone well beyond the call of duty and in the circumstances we were expecting a hefty bill. It came in at a whisker under €50. Absolutely no advantage had been taken of our situation whatsoever.
Throughout the time it took to resolve the issue Sandra showed a genuine concern for everyone caught up in the incident and a willingness to take on the problem and to solve it. To us, this was customer service at its best.
It should be pointed out that Sandra didn't know us from Adam.
On our trips to the showroom during this incident we had ample time to check out the facilities. Each car brand is well displayed in its own space, there a big stack of brochures, plenty of customer seating, a coffee machine, magazines and a TV. The customer toilets were spotless and modern and there was plenty of customer parking.
Walking into a car showroom these days can be a bit like visiting the Marie Celeste, as so many dealerships have had to let people go because of the downturn. But this garage was a busy place and still has 20 employees.
The salesmen were quick off their mark to approach us in case we were potential new-car buyers, and had we been in the market for a secondhand, there was a list of the models available with prices and other key details.
What was not on display but most certainly on offer was a service second to none.