What does customer service mean to you?

All firms think they are “into customer service.”  They’re customer oriented, customer centric or in the words of Pizza Hut, “customer maniacs.”

But are they willing to prove it?

Nineteen years ago, right after the birth of my daughter, my wife and I had an encounter with a new Acura dealership in Pasadena.  Three years previous we had bought a new Acura Integra in Minneapolis when we lived there.

My old car

At the time, Acura was a brand new car company (actually a division of Honda).  Their mantra was superior customer service.  Yea, whatever!

Fast forward to California and Acura Pasadena.  It was Christmas time and the grandparents were ready to fly to California and see their first grand-runt.  Two days before their arrival, our car broke … a bad engine head.  Now, Los Angeles is no place to have no transportation especially when expecting visitors.

We limped our car down the road to the nearest Acura dealership (which happened to be in Pasadena) to hope our world would be spared.  I suppose we could have picked up a rental car, but then the experience for this blog entry would never have happened.

We sat down with the service manager and explained our plight.  After his inspection – things went from not great to bad.  The Integra needed a new head and our warranty had expired 20,000 miles ago (apparently, I drive a lot).  The bill would be a thousand plus and it would take a week to get the parts, due to the holidays.

But then something happened.  The service manager (gosh, I wish I could remember his name) didn’t like the idea that the head went bad.  Regardless of the warranty being expired – a head shouldn’t  just go like that.  Talk is, well talk – and action, well that’s something else.

Here was his solution:

Replacing just one head would knock the engine off balance – all four needed to be replaced.  Since our timetable was NOW, he would pull all four off a brand new car on the lot and put them in ours.  And since … in his opinion, it shouldn’t  have happened in the first place, they would honor the warranty.

Well the general manager, his boss, put the foot down on dismantling his new cars – we ended up getting the heads at no change even though it took a week.  We borrowed a car from a friend for a few days and the grandparents and the grand-runt bonded.

We didn’t buy the car in Pasadena.  We hadn’t even been there before, but their service manager was willing to go … well, as far as he could to prove that Acura had “superior customer service.”

I’ve probably told this story fifty times (i.e. positive word of mouth).

Next time you are in a position to practice “customer service” – do something that will not only surprise them … but YOU also!

If you’re not remarkable to yourself how can you be remarkable to anybody else?

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If you like this … please Tweet it and follow me on Twitter @clayforsberg

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