How The Tire Shop Lost a Customer, Me!


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It was a busy day, yes it was, but isn’t this what every business longs for? If not for the busy days, the doors would shut, windows would be boarded-up and the suppliers clamoring for payment. So how can we complain for days like this? We’ll see.

I had a flat tire on my snow blower that needed to be repaired. The storm was coming, at least that’s what the television weather people said, so I made a few calls to see which of the local tire sales & repair shops would fix a small tire on my blower. Yes, it’s not a big job but one that must be done.

One of the first shops I called at 9:30am told me “Sure, we can fix that, bring it right over”. Great news to start my day, I rejoiced.

By 10:15am I was already in the shop with my machine. Well, not actually IN the shop, more like waiting outside the door at the back of the line. It was a busy day and it seemed like everyone in the neighborhood was looking to get new tires for their car. Remember, the storm was coming?

But the line moved fast and I neared the counter. “How can I help you?” said one counter man. “I called a little while ago about repairing the flat tire on my snow blower”, I said. “Sure we can fix that but it’s a busy day today” was his reply. “That’s fine”, I said, I can leave it here and you can get to it whenever you want, as long as it’s done by the end of today”. “Ok, we close at 6pm” he finished. I parked the blower right outside the shop window, left my name and cell phone number and was on my way.

As the day wore on and doing my daily chores I lost track of time. I glanced at my watch saw it was a little after 5pm and no phone call from the tire shop. I guess they just forgot to call me; it must be fixed by now, so I headed over to the shop.

The snow blower was still in the same spot as when I left it over 6 hours ago. This is not a good sign.

As I entered the now quiet shop, only a few customers took up the waiting room chairs, I said “I’m here to pick up my snow blower”. “I don’t think we got to it yet”, said the counterman. After looking around he said “You’re next”. “I’m next”, I said, “You have had the machine for over 6 hours and never fixed it, but NOW I’m next”? “We’ve been very busy today” was his reply.

Not wanting to make a bigger deal of this I patiently waited 25 minutes for the mechanic to repair the tire on my machine, paid my bill, and was on my way home.

?What’s The Difference Between a Customer and a Guest?

Why do some businesses lose sight of the big picture when it comes to their customers? We all want the big sale and prioritize the customers as they come in our doors but shouldn’t they realize that a small customer, this time in my case, can lead to a larger customer, increased business and more customers down the road?

We all have a circle of family and friends and are more than willing to recommend the goods and services of a business we like and one that has taken care of our needs. My sale was not a large one, especially compared to the replacement of 4 tires for many of the other customers, and I understand the shop not getting to the repair right away. But to forget about it and not make the repair at all? This is why I left the machine and gave them over 6 hours for the repair. I am still a new customer for them with potential business for the future. Apparently that was not important for them.

Some studies have shown that almost 80% of small business customers make their choice on trusted referrals from friends and family.

Do you think that I would refer this business to others based on my experience? Probably not. I would have more respect for the business and its management, if I was told earlier that they expected to be very busy and would not be able to fix my machine today. That would have been fine since I would just go somewhere else for the repair. But their short-sightedness came into play and they now lost the opportunity for my future business.

By the way, the snow storm never came…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve DiGioia
Steve uses his 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry to help companies and their employees improve service, increase morale and provide the experience their customers' desire. Author of "Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift...Even If You're a Bad Waiter" and named an "ICMI Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leader" and a "Top Customer Service Influencer" by CCW Digital, Steve continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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