When I was just a young lad I remember when my mother bought her first car, a 1970 Ford Maverick. It was white with a red plaid “Landau” roof; just a fancy term for a car roof style with a layer of vinyl.
Note: Remember years ago when all those monkeys were ripping off and eating the Landau roofs from the cars in Great Adventure Amusement Park in New Jersey?
Anyway…back to my story.
We went everywhere in that car. The only problem was that, as a new driver, Mom was so focused on watching the other cars that she was not able to look at the street lights or stop signs. That’s where I came in. I went everywhere with her. I was a great co-pilot and we took a long car trip on every 3-day weekend possible. But how did we know how to get to our destinations in the days prior to GPS satellites or Mapquest?
We went to the corner gas station.
Back then the station owner always actually worked in the station and didn’t treat it as an investment. But he did make an investment in his customers.
My mom would ask him the best way to drive to Virginia for example, from our home in New York, and he was happy to help.
He would take a map from the rack in the store; all gas stations had road maps of the neighboring states for sale, and would use two different colored markers to plan the route. One color for the way there and another for the way back.
He would then give her the phone number for “Triple A” and told her to call them if we were ever lost. He also recommended we should sign-up for “Triple A” in case we were ever stuck or the car broke down.
The amazing part of this story is that his maps and planned routes were always great. We used his “mapping service” for years until we were able to figure out for ourselves how to get around the East Coast.
These were great bonding times for Mom and me and as youngster I got to visit more states and tourist attractions than most of my friends did. I don’t remember ever getting lost. Now, of course, we probably did but I don’t remember.
Could you ever imagine the local gas station doing something like this today?
Of course not. Either the station is manned by some teenager that barely looks you in the eye when speaking to you or by someone that couldn’t care less about making you a long term customer.
This was 40 years ago and I still remember his kindness.
This is what sets apart “customer service” as done years ago versus the impostor we deal with today.
One is all you need. Why only one? Because most businesses are nothing more than cookie-cutter copies of those around them and don’t make any efforts to be memorable.
Nothing to show you are special, nothing to make you want to come back because of how you are taken care of, nothing deserving of YOUR business.
Isn’t time you change that?
How many memories of great customer service, or ways it has changed, can you remember from “days gone by”?
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