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Check your oil?

Check your oil?

Remember those stories we have heard from our parents or grandparents about pulling up to, a service station (gas station) and having someone and most likely two people rush out to fuel up your car, check your oil, washer fluids, tire pressure and who knows what else?  I don’t know about you, but when I remember hearing such stories or watch old movies that show this kind of service, I can’t help but think that kind of catering to a client seemed over the top and not very efficient.  I suspect that those service station companies knew that drivers could take their cars to the next station if the value added services were not provided to each customer.

The current business environment is most likely going to remain flat with customers continuing to be tough to win.  This means that businesses are going to have to use service as a key differentiator between their business and the competition.

Service and the way that customers are treated has always been something that influenced return business and now the reputation for service plays an even more important role thanks to social media and resources such as Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com).   Provide bad service or even just average service and within minutes or hours, your reputation has been damaged.

Picture a group of customers all standing in front of your door with signs telling everyone who walks in that their experience with your business was poor or fell short of expectations.  How do you think your potential customers are going to react to those testimonials?

I heard a great example of service this week.  A local lawnmower and small engine shop had one of their valuable repeat customers bring his lawn mower to the shop to be serviced and along with him; he brought his young son and his toy lawn mower.  As young boys often do, he was learning through mimicking how the adult world works and was asking the shop to service his mower as well as his father’s mower.

The shop manager told the boy that they could service his mower and return it right away making the little boy very happy.  The toy mower was taken around back to the service area where the lead mechanic took a couple of minutes to use the air hose to blow off the dust and then did a quick wipe down of the toy mower.  The mechanic even put a service tag on the toy indicating that the mower was ready for immediate use.

As the mechanic was blowing off the toy, another employee ask why the mechanic was wasting his time catering to “just a little boy”.  Right then, the manager took the opportunity to explain that providing great service to that customer extended to making sure that the client’s son had an enjoyable and professional experience.  The manager also explained that by taking a few minutes to “service” the toy, the paying customer was pleased and the shop increased the value of the relationship, which will result in continuing income for the shop and possibly help to gain referral customers.

At the end of the toy “tune up”, the service team of the shop rolled the toy mower out and even helped the little boy lift the mower, just like a real one, into the bed of the father’s pick up truck.

Do you think that shop has a customer for life and a future customer as well?

What is your business doing to provide a level of service that your competitors are not providing and making sure that you are retaining profitable customers?

If you have examples of great service being offered to customers our on-line community would love to hear of them so don’t be shy and post your own example of killer service.


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