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Unforgettable Customer Service
“It starts with respect. If you respect the customer as a human being, and truly honor their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier. (Doug Smith)
Customer and service are two words thrown around by businesses and consumers alike. Most businesses want to be known for providing good service to it’s’ customers. They write vision statements, goals, and provide workshops for employees on how to implement and deliver good customer service. Businesses do this because they realize that customer service can make or break the connection to their customer base. I do wonder why so many businesses miss the mark in providing the kind of warm and unforgettable experiences that satisfy customers and keep them coming back.
I enjoy writing about things, people, and situations that make us want to be better, do better or perhaps just inspire and lift our spirits. I am grateful whenever I encounter people that allow me a moment, or two of smiling from the inside out. People and situations that help me release a few burdens. People that allow me to realize like Luciano de Crescenzo once said "We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.
Customer Service is a way of life that involves putting the customer first in every aspect of the business. It is characterized by an obsession to achieve complete customer satisfaction in each and every encounter. It is an obsession that is shared by everyone in the company from the chairman of the board on down. (Every Manager’s Desk Reference)
Of all the definitions, that I found this is the one that spoke to me and spoke to me out of a recent experience.
Oh Happy Day, or Not
Like most of us, I have had my share of mediocre to outright bad service. When it comes to someone needing an “attitude adjustment”, I try not to take it personally and chalk it up to the person having a bad day. However, there are times that I will draw the line, times when exceptional customer service is expected. I know, I know, I hear you, even expecting is is not always a guarantee. However, when we receive good, great or exceptional service is makes up happy and when we are happy we tell others we are happy.
There are two places that I normally take my car for service--the dealership or a popular tire and auto repair center in the area. The Monday after Easter, I called the dealership but they could not get to me for a couple of days. I then called the tire and auto center but, for whatever reason, no one answered the phone all day. The wait time at either of these shops can be extremely long therefore, I was trying to get an appointment for Tuesday or Wednesday because I had flexibility all day, both days. I took it as a sign that I was unable to secure an appointment. During my last two visits at the tire and auto center several people left unhappy and the technicians did not seem too concerned. I’d used them for several years and had always been pleased with the service they provided, but I was beginning to hear complaints about less than stellar service to vehicles and sloppy treatment of customers. I decided to look for another alternative. The dealership is great but very expensive; I needed a back-up plan.
I started poking around on the internet and came upon a site called superpages.com that offered a super guarantee for businesses listed on their site. Right at the top was Platinum Plus Auto Repair with all five stars filled in under the review section. Itwas obvious from the reviews this place had a great reputation for great customer service. I checked out their website and decided that I would check them out by first getting my oil changed. Since they were closed, I called first thing the following morning. I was told that if I could come right away they could take me.
Platinum Plus Auto Repair
"Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” (Anonymous). From the moment I drove into the parking space and got out of my car I was greeted with a smile and a “good morning, how are you today”. Once inside I was greeted again in that same warm and welcoming way by Erica who took my information. It truly was not long before I realized they took the customer service to another level. Instead of just provide service they allowed the customer to experience service. Jimmy, who had initially greeting me outside, was the technician who took charge of my car.
In the meantime, Erica and I exchanged pleasant conversation about various things. It was great because as she continued to do her work she continued to talk with me--not a constant chatter, but an acknowledgement of my presence. It was a good feeling. Then Tonya arrived and the energy in the area went up another notch. Tonya is one of those people that when she enters a room you know she is there because she brings joy. She also brought a beautiful tiny little dog that I soon realized greeted everyone with a “happy to see you”. After a few minutes, Tonya begins to build a file as she asked me questions about the car and its service record. They wanted to know the car and me. Jimmy came in, spoke with Tonya, and then ask me to follow him into the garage (unheard of). I did and he showed me that my front tires were wearing on the inside. He did not try to scare me, just wanted me to be aware. It did not take much for me to realize that before long it would be dangerous for me to continue with those tires.
Jimmy walked me back to the waiting area. Tonya came over to sit with me and talk about the tires. Again, she did not try to scare me just told me that it would need to be taken care of soon. She also had pulled my service record and had made a list of what would be coming soon. She asked if I wanted her to price some tires. My answer was yes. I also begin to price tires to see if I could find something more cost effective than she could get. When Tonya came back with prices, I was surprised that her prices were in line with the prices I had check on my own.
Long story short. I went into Platinum Plus for an oil change, however, I came away with my air conditioner working better, and two new tires for less than anything I could have gotten at either of the places I normally frequent. Believe me when I say making unexpected expenses work within the budget is something you appreciate when you are retired. More than anything, I felt valued as a person, as a customer. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com once said, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
This was, indeed, my happy!
A Great Experience...Oh Happy Day
I had a great experience at Platinum Plus Auto Repair. The next time my story may be different but I will always remember how I felt on that first visit. Jimmy, Tonya, Erica, Richard, Daryl and Tim all made me feel welcome. I was happy to have made that phone call….it was a happy accident. Some things in the Universe conspired to bring me to that place at that time. My shout out is to Jimmy because I want him to know that I think he is amazing. Please never change your smile or your wonderful attitude.
Platinum Plus participates in the community, offers various programs that allow customers to win prizes at each visit; and allow customers to set up a Paypal account to paid for repairs over time if you do not have the money. Remember when gas stations were actually “full service” service stations? Platinum Plus reminded me of that, only they do not sell gas.
Business owners looking for a good business strategy should make sure your customers are satisfied and feel valued by everyone in your employ. How? Easy! Make your customer feel that they are part of your environment by making them feel comfortable; and, create an atmosphere of helpfulness. Every company representative should make it a practice to be courteous and maintain a responsive attitude toward customers.
I thought about something I read so I looked it up and found it was said or written by Roger Staubach “at a car dealership, the person who sells the car is the hero, and so gets the commission. But if the mechanics don’t service that car well, the customer won’t return.” How true that is…..
If you are in the area of Prince George County, Virginia or near Hopewell, VA, Chester, VA, Colonial Heights, VA give Platinum Plus Auto Repair a try. They are located on Oaklawn Blvd in Hopewell, VA and you can find them on the web at
I know what good and great customer service looks like, but I never knew what it feels like until I walked into Platinum Plus Auto Repair. It feels exceptional.
Love to all,