In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some really surprisingly good service from unexpected places. Service that was so good, that my mouth got all watery with the urge to pontificate profusely about the experience! I admit, that when I like something I go all enthusiastic and drive away having daydreams about how I could “totally market them. They deserve more business.” Geek! Go ahead, it makes me laugh too.
I can’t help it, but I also can’t help wondering about it. Years ago, when I was a young thing and The Container Store was also young (only 7 stores when I started in the Advertising Department) I got a deep rooted education on what “customer service” meant. Kip Tindell and Garrett Boone truly believed that (and how many times did I hear this phrase???), “By filling the other guy’s basket to the brim (with service beyond products) that making money would become an easy proposition.” They believed that if you offered the absolute best customer service by educated and empowered employees, people would return again and again for quality products, and price was secondary, simply because the service was extraordinary. If someone came in to buy a hook, you didn’t simply sell them a cool hook. You found out what they needed the hook for because if the underlying problem was that their closet was a big black hole, then that hook was a finger in the dike. It wouldn’t solve their problem and wouldn’t make them happy. What they really needed was an organized closet. We did closet planning for free! It worked. People loved us. People still absolutely love The Container Store (me included)! To this day, you can count on knowledgeable salespeople who really have the skills and products to help.
My point is that my definition of “good service” comes from very high standards from way back in my formative years. Thanks Kip and Garrett! It’s hard to impress me. Yes, we all know that my laid back countenance ensures that I’m easy to please <grin>… but impressing me to the point of spontaneous marketing fantasies, is honestly MUCH harder.
So, with all that interesting build up and background, I’ll get back to my point. I’ve had a great experience this week. It started out with a boom and a crash (and an interesting expletive from my son). I was rear ended at a yield sign. We pulled into a parking lot and a very nice, very apologetic man approached with his insurance card in his hand. We got out to survey the damage and my bumper was squished and was rubbing on my tire. His hood was crumpled, but everyone was okay. We traded information and my son pulled my bumper off my tire. Great, I thought… Geico. He has Geico. This ought to be fun.
From my first conversation with them to my last I was blown away. It wasn’t fun, but it was amazing. I can’t believe I just wrote “amazing” but it was. Not only did they find a repair place 2 miles from my house, but a Geico guy worked there, AND they gave me a rental. Fine, but how well would the body shop take care of me?
Heritage Body and Frame is directly across from the SAAB dealership (I spent a lot of time there with my old SAAB and that’s another whole blog) and never noticed it. Wow. I mean WOW! They were awesome! Simply put, they were so genuine, polite, honest and eager to please that I had no qualms about leaving my car at all! They fixed it up in about a day and a half, left me messages about what exactly they were doing and even popped out a dent on my front fender for free (soccer ball incident). It’s an awesome, family-owned Austin business and it sounds weird to say that I’m glad I found them.
So, I haven’t exactly gone on a marketing frenzy, but whenever I’m given the chance I will offer them up enthusiastically with my full “high standards” endorsement. And ya never know, in 15 minutes or less, I might save some money on car insurance!