When it comes to customer service, saying yes easily sets you apart. Customer connections can be built by being a problem solver.
This summer I was on a short road trip with my family. We had just purchased a car for my wife and were enjoying our first trip. About two hours into our journey we started to hear a vibration noise. Sure enough as we pulled into a rest area another traveler alerted to something dragging under the front of the vehicle. A close inspection revealed that the noise plate screws under the engine had loosened, causing it to drag. While it was not a dangerous situation we still wanted to make sure we could get it fixed before we continued. I decided to drive another 15 miles to the nearest town, since there was no clearance under the vehicle for me to fix it myself.
Call it conditioning or just good marketing, I first thought of the tire sales and service chain Les Schwab. For as long as I can remember they have been known for running out to meet you with a helpful mindset. If they could not fix your roadside issue they would quickly call someone to arrange a solution. Never would they leave you in a bind. They have always been known for their yes, at least they used to be.
As we pulled into the parking lot I knew we were in for a different experience. No one ran out to great us. Walking into the lobby I got a obligatory look from the woman tending the counter. As I began to explain my problem the manager standing near by over heard and simply told me there was nothing they could do. He explained they were too busy and didn’t have the right tools. He even told me they had no duct tape. I then gave him another chance and asked if he knew of a shop he could refer. Again he said “no”. I have heard their service had gone down hill but this was pretty bad.
From where I stood I could see an auto service shop across the street. Knowing I was not going to have help at Les Schwab I decided to give the other business a try. The shop appeared to be busy as well but the service employee outside said he thought they could help. Going inside I again explained my problem. They were indeed busy and had no one handy to help. What was great though was the owner handed me a roll of duct tape and said I was welcome to use the parking lot. As I walked back out to the car the customer service woman ran out and motioned for me to drive around back. As I pulled around to the back of the shop she guided me to the car lift where I could prop the front up enough to work on the plate. The car easily now had enough room to secure the plate. They had succeeded in helping us get back on the road. It all came down to a simple “yes, we can help”.
I don’t care what your business is, no should be a last resort. People ask our business all the time for services we don’t offer. We always direct them to someone who can help. The simple act of loaning me duct tape guaranteed I will always remember them. I have already told many about their act of kindness. I have spent thousands of dollars at Les Schwab and none at Kelly’s Auto Service. To them it didn’t matter, they just said yes.