Tires, Auto Parts and Dead Batteries: The Miracle of Actual Customer SERVICE!
These days, it seems like we often have plenty of reasons to complain about a lack of customer service at various establishments, or grumpy servers at restaurants, or being put in ”voice mail jail” when we call some company to resolve an issue we're having.
I'm happy to be able to say that there are exceptions... real customer service is alive and well!
Currently, we're having ”car issues” around here. Last week, our pickup truck — which runs just fine in spite of being 20 years old — suddenly decided to develop electrical issues, essentially amounting to the entire instrument panel cluster going completely dead so we neither knew how fast we were going, nor how much gas was in the tank, nor whether there were any idiot warning lights coming on to let us know that something had gone seriously wrong.
So we very carefully drove the truck into the mechanics', where a bit of diagnosis revealed that there were some kind of circuit board that would have to be sent back to the regional manufacturer service center to be recalibrated or reprogrammed or something…
The upshot of which was that we would likely be without the vehicle until late next week.
Meanwhile, our backup vehicle — a 25 year old Nissan — has been having issues of its own for some time, primarily related to the fact that the battery is aging and not holding a charge. What I mean by "not holding a charge" is that you basically have to start it up and drive it thoroughly at least once a day in order for the battery not to be completely dead when you need to go somewhere.
More than anything, it was a waste of gas since we rarely need to go anywhere... aside from just being annoying and frustrating. But car batteries are expensive, and we were doing OK with just one usable car. However...
With the more reliable vehicle in the shop already, we reluctantly decided that the time had come to get a new battery put in the Nissan… even though we couldn't actually afford to do so.
Somehow, that seems to be "the way of the world" in 2023… we're all expected to be able to keep investing in things we can't afford because the price of everything goes up but our incomes don't follow suit. Grumble, grumble, grumble...
But That's not What This Post is About!
Surprisingly, the AAA driver was able to help us jumpstart the Nissan even though the battery was thoroughly dead after a while of sitting idle in frosty weather... we'd expected it to be towed.
So off I went to the local Les Schwab tire and battery center where we usually get our work of this nature done.
Although we live in a fairly small and sleepy town this particular Auto Center is always tremendously busy. And there's little doubt that their level of customer service has a lot to do with that. I got to be a front row witness to a well-run business for a couple of hours, while I waited.
As unlikely as it seems in today's world, the entire staff from the front office to the work bays all seem to be remarkably efficient, fast, courteous, knowledgeable and generally happy.
And they really go above and beyond what you'd normally expect.
Today, I witnessed Shayna — who is the front office manager — help a frustrated Mr. Grumpy who evidently had some very specific custom rims for his vintage truck that made it very difficult to install the appropriate tires without some kind of ”spacer” that ideally had to be obtained from the manufacturer… who had, of course, long since shut down their business and there was nothing available in the aftermarket. Mr. Grumpy only had three spacers, and obviously needed four.
So Shayna starts musing out loud that it sounds like the kind of part that it might be possible to 3D print, and then she muses out loud that she ”may just have played around with a couple of $10,000 3D printers... although she's no expert,” and then allows as how the foresaid 3D printers actually live at her house... and next thing you know she's on her personal phone to her husband asking whether they would be able to get the specific kind of nozzle and raw materials needed to 3D print a metal part.
Now, let's keep in mind that those 3D printers are her own family's personal property and have nothing to do with the Les Schwab auto center; what she was doing was her own initiative to simply help a customer independent of the actual business.
It all reminded me rather of some of the things I was taught when I first got into the import and retail business back in 1985 and a wise and experienced person pointed out to me that we were not in the sales business we were in the happy customer business.
And, of course, there's little doubt that Mr. Grumpy — who had long since stopped being grumpy — will remain a loyal tire and battery customer at this particular auto center from this point forward.
It was just nice to see that level of actually giving a shit unfold!
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!
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Created at 2023-02-25 00:28 PST
That was definitely a refreshing story to read. Customer service so often seems to be a thing of the past. I've had my own frustrations with that recently. But then there was the Costco employee who walked back several aisles to see if the product I wanted was actually there, and even checked to see if more had been ordered.
It was definitely a bright spot in a world that often seems to not care!
I've generally had pretty good luck with customer service at Costco... they treat their employees really well, and people are generally happy to work there... which typically translates into good customer service.
Hi @cuddlekitten, nice to see you!