My Family’s Car Accident – A Tale of Service Excellence

October 7, 2007 Blog 32 comments

Yesterday afternoon, my wife together with my son and maid got into an accident along CTE (I was attending a work lunch then). What happened was a tale of God’s divine providence mixed with extraordinary service excellence.

My wife was driving towards the city and encountered the usual Saturday afternoon jam. Traffic was extremely heavy and crawling at a snail’s pace. Unfortunately, a slick black BMW driven by a young 19 year old guy crashed into the rear of our car. He must either be driving his dad’s car or distracted by his girlfriend.

The shock was so hard that the beamer’s airbag popped up. Fortunately, my family didn’t suffer major injuries although my maid had a swelling on her head (currently under observation) while my wife’s back hurt. Both cars stopped and my wife took down the driver’s full particulars (NRIC, license plate, hand phone photos of damage, insurance company, car model).

Immediately after, a circus of different “animals” descended on the scene. First were tow truck operators from accident workshops who stopped and offered help. Second, the EMAS tow truck arrived, hoping to clear up the mess from the expressway. As the car could still move, I advised my wife to drive to an authorised workshop instead.

As she drove, the rear bumper came loose. It fell to the floor partially and started to drag. A vehicle behind my wife’s car signalled for her to stop and she pulled into the road shoulder.

Apparently, a loose part of the bumper hit the front light of the car behind. She immediately thought that the driver and his friend (Gary and Zack) wanted compensation. Instead, they said that the loose bumper was very dangerous especially to motorcyclists and offered to tie it back. They waved off the broken headlamp as unimportant.

Despite their best efforts, the bumper wouldn’t stay on. It was then that Gary asked if our car insurance company was aware of the incident. My wife told him that our car was covered by AIG, and Gary replied that their workshop was actually authorised by AIG. Although it was his off day, he would be happy to handle all the accident related issues for us. However, it was entirely up to us if we want to do so.

After some consultation, my wife and I agreed. After all STAR Workshop was one of the reputable leading motor workshops in Singapore, owned by the ST group.

Gary and Zack drove my family back to our home where I met them. We then proceeded together to the workshop. Concurrently, Gary arranged for a tow service for the car to the STAR workshop called XCars Pte Ltd at No 15 Kim Chuan Terrace (near Paya Lebar).

We were chauffered to the workshop by Zack, who was very friendly and spoke in reasonably good English. Quite different from your typical mechanic I must say. On the way there, he told me that a replacement car was already arranged at the workshop ready for collection.

STAR Workshop

Once we arrived, all paperwork needed for the accident was done by Gary with the help of Zack. Gary handles group operations for STAR, and helped to show the ropes to Zack. I got a close up look of my car to assess the damage. It certainly looked like a few thousand dollars worth – bumper gone, rear sensors gone, and even the chasis was dented.

Car 1

Professional and friendly, Gary told us that he will manage all expenses incurred under the workshop’s account. We don’t have to pay a single cent – no excess payment, no service charge, no doctor’s fees etc. Naturally, the workshop will claim everything from the insurance company.

What’s amazing was that he remembered me from our NS experiences 15 years ago even though I sheepishly couldn’t recall who he was. As we spoke, my memory was slowly awakened. Soon, we regaled about the good old army days.

We next proceeded to our replacement car – a bright red Toyota Corolla Altis. This was the same model that we got the last time our car was hit! Hmm….

Temp Car 2

Zack next drove us a clinic at Ang Mo Kio Hub to make sure that everybody was all right. This was part of the service that they provided. Gary paid for the doctor’s fees. He even had a photocopying machine in his car so that he could make copies and return the originals to us – on the spot!

Before we departed from Ang Mo Kio, I thanked Gary and Zack for going to all the trouble in helping us with our case. What I liked was their professional yet personal, friendly, and non-pushy approach. Even Ethan liked them and asked “Uncle Gary” to carry him a few times.

I told Gary that I will definitely share my experience and recommend his services. If you ever (touch wood) get into a car accident, just remember to call 92207212 or 62821313.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. It’s unfortunate that your family was involved in an accident, but it’s good news that everyone is safe and well. It must have been quite a big impact because from what I know and have experienced, a BMW’s airbag is not as sensitive to activate that easily.

    I’m also glad to read you have received such good services from XCars Pte Ltd. However, I am wondering whether is it because of their seniority in the company so it’s easier for them to make such decisions? What if it were the other mechanics at the lower end – will they be as good?

    Nevertheless, I will be keeping that number. I will never know when I will need it for myself or my dad. When my dad’s friend repaired my previous car, I found evidence that I was overcharged and what was supposed to be brand new, wasn’t brand new at all. In my heart I was like… “friend’s son also wanna cheat.”

  2. was worried there at the beginning for a while. glad everyone’s okay.

    and the workshop seems so professional. one thing less to worry. i love it when people do their jobs well. everything becomes less stressful.

  3. Just curious … first you wrote:

    Immediately after, a circus of different “animals” descended on the scene. First were tow truck operators from accident workshops who stopped and offered help …

    And then Gary and Zack appeared. Pure coincidence? And you never thought they’re another one of them?

  4. ed,

    Thanks for the comments and well wishes. Well, we do know that there are many mechanics and workshops out there. As new cars come with extended maintenance and servicing periods (mine is up to 100,000 km or 3 years), workshops generally can only make money from accident repairs.

    What’s different about Xcars as well as Gary and Zack was that they did not adopt an aggressive, push approach in touting their services. Instead, they offered to help first without talking about services from the start. This made a lot of difference.

  5. imp,

    Yes, professionalism is important and so is sincerity and genuineness. We have seen so many superficial service types in our lifetime. Being service advocates (my wife has brought two organisations to SQC, specialising in customer service), what made the difference was the approach adopted by Xcars. Which made the world of difference.

  6. miss loi,

    Hehe… that’s the interesting part to this tale. You see, when the other service providers descended on the situation, they were rather pushy and opportunistic. Although the overall package may be similar, my wife wasn’t very comfortable with their hard selling ways.

    In the case of Gary and Zack, they offered a genuine way of helping first BEFORE making an offer. They weren’t driving a tow truck or a lorry but their own private car. I think the other thing is that they could also speak better English and were courteous and polite. It certainly helps especially when your customer is a lady (my wife).

  7. Walter, so sorry to hear about the accident but at the same time I’m glad that there were no serious injuries. It must have been quite a harrowing experience for Ethan as well. (I assume he must be sitting at the rear which was nearer to the point of impact?)

    What is surprising is that those “animals” almost always manage to reach the accident site before EMAS does. It is hard to believe that they don’t have informers who are probably paid if they strike a deal. What do you think?

  8. I must say you’re lucky to have come out fine and happy from your experience. I would have been extremely wary about any magical help that so conveniently descended upon me after an accident. Have heard too many horror stories. But good deeds should be praised and good experiences should be shared. Thanks for telling us about it. 🙂

  9. OMG, so sorry to hear about this but glad that everyone is safe & sound.

    Your case is pretty straightforward, anyone who kiss your rear got to pay for everything! Hence, you’re already assured of claiming the other party insurance for all damages. Sure Win! 😀

    A good account on service excellence!

  10. woah..great to know you are doin okay man..I saw it in your Twitter and freaked..keke..

    eh..time to put some bodykits? coz since you need to do ur bumper anyways right? 😉

  11. victor,

    Hmmm.. maybe there is an early warning system which allows them to converge on any accident spot in a jiffy? I hear that the business is quite competitive nowadays with prolonged maintenance periods for cars. Thus, the only way to make is to identify and service accidents as soon as they occur!

  12. zit seng,

    Hehe… you are not unique. I am also naturally suspicious and cynical about people wanting to help in times of trouble. However, as we interacted with Zack and Gary, I knew that they were genuine in wanting to help.

  13. Hey Walter, oh my goodness, I must be one of the last to read about this spine rattling incident (although not literally I hope). I am glad your family and you are fine. A traffic jam on a leisurely Saturday afternoon? Too bad you don’t live in Sin Min or you could have given the transport minister an earful. ;-p

  14. Consider claiming pain & suffering for your maid and wife?

    Anyway, ur wife maybe suffering from Whiplash.

    Anyway, Xcar is one of the franchise of STA. They will assist you in claiming third party insurance since you are rear ended by another vehicle.

  15. Glad everyone is ok.. but yes.. Zaxk and Gary really provided and gone beyond their call of duty.. and provided more than excellent service in my humble opinion.. 🙂

  16. Hi I have read your article.It is heart touching,thank god every one is safe.You never know when you went through an accident.Most scary thing about accident is you lost every thing in your life, not only physically but also you lost huge financial outlay for treatment, property damage, reduced income, job loss and mental trauma make life miserable.In that situation a professional lawyer can help you out from this situation.We are a leading law firm specializing in car accidents and related issues such as car accident claims For more information visit our site car accidents.

  17. This is really good to know that everyone in your family is safe. The safety should be the first priority when you are driving and especially when you are with your family. I have met with an accident last month which was really very horrible and I am happy that I am safe. The insurance company with which I have insured for car insurance is really good and it has covered for the accident. So some of the car insurance company covers for the accident, theft and other benefit coverage which it offers, but you need to check all the detail of the insurance schemes, policies and benefits before you get insured. Thanks for this information.

  18. This is such an amazing story. Thank goodness for your very reliable airbags no one was seriously hurt. You guys are so fortunate to have a dependable insurance company and for having been serviced by Gary and Zack.

  19. Hello there! I really enjoy reading your blog! If you keep making great posts I will come back every day to keep reading!

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