Sometimes we learn how to be amazing service providers from having amazing models, and then, sometimes, we learn how to be great from seeing what NOT to do.
A few weeks ago I took my car to a repair shop in my neighborhood to have my brake pads replaced. I’d found them online and decided they were a good choice because of their positive reviews.
After the work was complete, however, I noticed on my drive home that I was hearing a strange sound, almost like a buzzing or whining, coming from the front left tire. Upon returning home I of course called them and arranged to bring my car back in.
My first visit back consisted of a mechanic taking it for a drive and then telling me (with a rather condescending smile) that the car was completely safe to drive and that he couldn’t hear the noise I was speaking of. I told him I’d take it home and see if the sound went away after a few days (it didn’t).
My second visit back consisted of them ensuring me all was taken care of, only for me to discover later that now a different and stranger sound was coming from the tires on the opposite side.
My third visit back consisted of them telling me that they’d, at last, identified the real issue. Apparently, because my car is a Ford hybrid, it needs Ford-specific brake pads (as opposed to anything after-market) because the car charges its battery when braking.
“No more strange sounds,” the owner told me. “I like my customers to be happy.”
(Mind you each of these return visits required me to either take the bus to and from the shop or walk the two miles on foot).
When a few days after this final visit I realized that although things were improved, I was still hearing some kind of frictional sound with every tire rotation, I decided to smarten up. After all, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, right? The mechanics at that neighborhood shop were clearly not capable of resolving this issue for me, so I decided to take my business elsewhere.
(And as it so happens, I’m writing this blog post from a coffee shop while waiting on a mechanic, who came personally and highly recommended, to check out my car’s brake setup. Fingers crossed!)
So what’s the lesson here?
As I’ve said before, I believe there to be a silver lining in every crappy situation. This one was no exception.
As a business owner myself, I couldn’t help but a) notice how I felt as a customer and b) want to make sure I NEVER EVER made one of my customers feel this way.
I would never want a customer to feel talked down to.
I would never want a customer to feel as though I’d dismissed their concerns.
I would never want a customer to feel I’d wasted any of their time or energy, especially due to my lack of knowledge in an area I claimed to be an expert in.
I would never want a customer to lose their faith and trust in me.
And so, out of this crappy experience, I decided to re-center in how I want my customers to feel when they work with me.
I want them to feel seen and heard, always.
I want them to know that I take their concerns very seriously.
I want them to know that I value their time and energy.
I want them to always trust me and have total faith in my abilities.
So, the next time you experience some really crappy customer service (because hey, let’s face it, it happens to all of us) instead of getting all bent out of shape (which is easy to do), take it as a beautiful reminder of how you want your own customers NOT to feel – and how you do <3