Monday, April 26, 2010

Service Determines Lifetime Value

I have six kids (all drivers) and haven't had less than 4 cars for years (usually at least two clunkers among them). From the beginning I used the same outlet for tires and often other service. Safe to say, I am a good customer. Sometimes I wondered if I really needed the brake pads changed, after all I am not a particularly naive consumer, but I would write off that cynicism in favor of the congeniality of the center's manager as well as his demonstrated attention to getting my work done in a timely way, or squeezing me in on very short notice. I have been willing to trade some pricing for convenience (service).

One of my sons departs for a cross country adventure this week. He'll drive to New Mexico and so we brought his car in for a tire check-up. One thing led to another and new tires became brakes, brake pads, rotors and axles..$1,300.00. Well, no cost too dear for his safety. Lucky we brought the car in.

Upon leaving the shop my son was startled by a vibration, he correctly, it turned out, believed was the engine. Before a city block passed he returned the car and described the feeling to my friend the manager, who then put the car on the lift and while everyone waited spent the better part of an an hour investigating. He announced "it's coincidental, and I really am not sure why it is happening but nothing we did could have caused it." I don't know a crank shaft from a chocolate eclair but I pointed out that logic dictated "no vibration when we bring it in, vibration when we pick it up," it happened in the tinkering.

The manager says "can't be, stranger things have happened, and besides which if I go to a dentist for a problem in one tooth which he works on and while doing so another flares up in the other side of the mouth, does that mean he's to blame?" I finally posit to my friend the manager, that we can philosophise about this until the cows come home or he can take full responsibility for fixing the problem, no matter what he finds it to be. He decided he'd pay half the cost of repair and that my half would be about another $400.00. O.K.

Now let's say over the years, before this visit, I'd spent $5000.00 at his place; now an additional $1,300.00 for the required service this time. For another $400.00 you know he's lost my business forever. I'd say this was a very short-sighted decision and really bad service.

Great Selling!

Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
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1 comment:

  1. Happens time and time again. It's happened to me in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and in my business. And it's not just when there's a problem that needs to be addressed. It's just as important when a prospect is looking for "just a little more" in the deal. Service sometimes means being accommodating. As Bob says so succinctly: Service determines lifetime value.