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Price just isn't everything


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We’re not the cheapest guys in town. There – I said it. But we’re not downright unfair, and we do a good job at offering over the top value to those we hope to serve. In any market or industry, there are three distinct categories of customers, the price conscious, value conscious, and the quality conscious. Sadly, the price conscious folks seem to be the most discussed in forums.

 

We had a young lady come to us 2 years ago for service when she had a breakdown. In addition to the way her concerns were addressed from a technical/mechanical standpoint, she received such over-the-top treatment (I think her initial invoice was about $300), that her review of our company online indicated some key points in our company's mission statement, validating our effort to serve our market in the way we set out from the beginning. This, alone, made us dance joyfully. (I know…picture that, will you…)

 

A month later, she cancelled an oil change appointment...actually, I think she was a "no call, no show". When we called, we found that she had fallen ill with the flu. As she was local, and exactly the kind of customer we knew we wanted to be of service to, my service writer took it upon himself on his lunch to buy her a get well card, some hot soup, and a balloon, and deliver it to her door that afternoon. Total cost? About $10. Weird, I know, but seriously, how awesome do you think SHE felt about it?

 

What happened after that, and over the next 2 years was nothing shy of amazing. She has, without failure, come in EVERY FRIDAY with a plate of fresh, homemade cookies for us to leave out in our lobby for our other customers to share. Every week, for two years and counting! He cookies initially sat next to a well-articulated, printed letter she wrote, expressing her gratitude for “these weird mechanics who always seem to be more interested in the people who come in than the money they are hoping to make.”

 

As it turns out, she had a rotten experience with her last mechanic, and as we’ve all heard the story, vowed she’d never return there. Apparently they just didn’t seem to care about her…they only wanted her money, and over time, it became more and more evident to her & her family. Zig Ziglar (paraphrased) said that you can have everything you’ve ever wanted in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what THEY want. He’s right. We focus on serving the people that come in, not the “almighty dollar”. Focus on the needs of people, and the money will ALWAYS follow, I promise. Focus on the dollars, and you may make a few…but you’re falling short of your potential.

 

By the way, the customer described herein is married, has 3 college aged kids, and an elderly parent living with her. 6 cars. Six. In the last 2 years, we’ve collected almost $12,000 dollars from them for services provided, including 2 engine jobs. And she couldn’t care any less about the coupon in the paper at my competitor offering $10 off an oil change.

 

Just one man’s story.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Funny you mention it, I picked up zig ziglars book at the dump one day in the book share pile and it really changed my life. As soon as I focused on helping others get what they want, I mean honestly ingrained it into everything I do, my life changed for the better. Thanks for the post, very uplifting!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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