Occasionally I experience something in the business world either so good or so bad that I cannot help but blog about it. My goal (beyond ranting) is to remind the business owners who read this blog about the priceless value of real customer service, as well as providing a taste of the business-crippling effects that spawn from bad customer service.
A few weeks ago, Andrew and I were introduced to a new restaurant by a client. This Utah Thai Food Restaurant was a refreshing experience in every way: 1) The food was outstanding, 2) The service was TOP NOTCH (the ladies we interacted with were the definition of customer service), and 3) The owner gave us complimentary homemade coconut ice cream just because we had never had any before.
I left craving her food and accompanying service for weeks. I have since been back more than once and told many friends and family members about the company. All of this message spreading happened for the price of 2 coconut ice cream scoops. Every business owner worth his/her salt knows that good experiences beget referrals. That is probably the simplest rule in business, but unfortunately is not followed like it should be.
Yesterday, I had a horrible experience with the Highland Utah Jiffy Lube. My wife was in a small car accident yesterday and so I took the car out to have it checked out, serviced, etc. I decided I should have the oil changed while I was out taking care of bizness. So I stopped at the Jiffy Lube and was greeted by “KID” (to protect the un-intending I will just call him KID) who proceeded to instruct me to leave the keys in the car and take a seat in the waiting room. So I left the car, with the door open, and the keys on the front seat. A few minutes later “KID” comes into the waiting room and asks me if I locked my keys in the car. Excuse me? No KID, I sure as H did not lock my keys in the car, in fact I left them on the front sear with the door wide open like you asked me to.
I let the Jiffy Lube crew try to break into my car for an hour with a clothes hanger. Unfortunately, the pit crew is better at changing oil than jacking cars. I had now been at the “service” (yes, that is a pun) center for an hour and a half. So, I kindly walked in and asked KID if I can talk with his manager and request that they hire a locksmith to come pop open my door so I can go home to my family. KID breaks out in a sweat, grabs the phone, and goes to another room. He comes back with the phone and says “Mike wants to talk to you.” (I am going to call this guy Mike b/c he was a 1st class jerk). Mike greets me by saying, “I understand you locked your keys in the car and would like us to pay for a locksmith… we are not going to do that b/c it was your fault.” WTF. I left a door open. KID closed a door. But, this is my fault? Me and Mike “conversate” for 30 minutes or so. In the end, there is no offer for a locksmith. Guess what? It is now 6:00 pm and the store is about to close. My cell phone has died and my wife is not around to come pick me up. So, I WALKED home on the Highland Highway (which is a narrow road at the mouth of an imposing canyon) in the snow and ice. It was very dark, and VERY cold.
This morning I wake up and call the Fleet Manager for this region. I leave 2 voice mails describing my experience and requesting that he please call me back to help make the situation right. It has been 8 hours and I have not received a return phone call. I finally convinced a friend, who is also a police officer, to come unlock my car – she is a sweetheart and came to the rescue. (Yes, I REFUSED to pay for a locksmith as a matter of principal).
Guess what? Highland Utah Jiffy Lube will absolutely lose business as a result of this “Service” Center’s service. I will never go there again. I will not let anyone I care about go there. And, I have written the first of many negative reviews to come about their “Service” center. Not to mention the business they lost as my car took up one of their three service bays for what amounted to one full business day. That is the type of decision making and service that over time will cripple a business.
Lesson To Be Learned
With all of our attention and focus on ways to more effectively advertise and manage our company’s reputations; please do not forget that one of the easiest ways to grow your business and prevent negative press is to provide great service. To the Jiffy Lube’s of the world, if you cannot provide great service at least provide fair service.