Your best efforts are pointless if your customers don’t know about them

customer-service.0822.12I never intended to start a string of posts about customer service but it seems the more I write about it the more things happen that make me think about another customer service post.

This time, it’s about a business doing something right, but missing out on a huge opportunity to make customers happy because some of us don’t know about this business’ initiative.

One of the vehicles in my stable is a Volkswagen and I have it serviced and maintained at the local dealership where I bought it, Williams Autoworld. Volkswagen service is known for being expensive but detailed, and I’ve found the service department to be very customer friendly, so the cost is a little more palatable. One of the nice things this dealership has always done is wash your car when they finish working on it.

Unfortunately, there are several months here in Michigan when that service simply isn’t available. They have a rule about not washing your car if the temperature is below 29 degrees, because they are concerned about frozen rubber gaskets and more that can be caused by mixing water with crappy Michigan winter weather.

It’s a bummer but understandable. Recently I was in for service and when I received my receipt, there was an ink stamp on it that read:

Sorry, due to the cold weather, we are unable to wash your vehicle. Please return in above-freezing temps and we will wash it free of charge.

The thoughtful gesture impressed me and when I filled out my dealership survey, I took the time to add a note giving them kudos for the car wash offer.

I received an email within 24 hours from an executive at the dealership, noting that he reads all the surveys and pays particular attention to notes included by customers. He was glad that I was pleased by the car wash offer but seemed surprised I didn’t know about it since they had offered that service for some time. He also attached a the text of a sign he was thinking about posting in their waiting room that would alert customers to this offer in case others also weren’t aware of it.

 A shot of my car when it was much happier visiting Florida than it is suffering through Michigan winters.

A shot of my car when it was much happier visiting Florida than it is suffering through Michigan winters.

After offering my opinion on the wording of the sign, I also told him doing so was a great idea, because I have been a customer for about seven years now and I never knew they offered the “come back for a car wash” service until I saw the stamp on my receipt.

The point is that here was a business doing the right thing by offering a an extra free service to customers, and following through by offering it free at another time if they couldn’t complete it at the day and time of your visit. But they were failing in a big way because your best efforts are pointless if your customers don’t know about them.

So if you’re involved with a company or business that goes that extra mile for customers, don’t assume your customers know about it and don’t say anything because they’re ungrateful. It could turn out that they simply are unaware. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. After all, if you won’t, how can your customers?

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