If you are unfamiliar with the quote used as the title for today’s post, it came from Ben Franklin, and if you haven’t connected the dots yet, today we’re addressing customer service. Please don’t mistake this as buzzwords for telling people how awesome you are, it means creating stories that do the talking for you. It’s important to remember that I am a consumer (and you are too) as well as a sales coach, and am always on the lookout for interaction between me and companies I do business with that provide teachable moments I can share with others. The story I’m about to share does that perfectly and happened to me just a few weeks ago.
The calendar suspended by magnet on the side of the refrigerator told me it was about time for the annual family reunion held by my wife’s tribe every summer on the same weekend. The location is a remote part of south Mississippi, 350 miles and two states away. That small town is not exactly the end of the world, but you can see it from there. That same calendar also reminded me it was time for an oil and filter change in the Kia Sorento. Since I maintain dual citizenship in two different parts of Georgia, I rarely use the same vendor every time for this automotive necessity.
This time I chose American Lube Fast, the 10-minute establishment I have frequented intermittently for about a dozen years. That sounds cozy, but considering the turnover in that industry, it’s not like “I have a guy there.” After concluding a sales coaching session with a senior B2B sales representative at a local client’s office, I whipped into the lube place at a great time when there was no wait time. Like most, this visit was an uneventful and routine, and as promised I was back on the street in about 10 minutes.
Four mornings later, the day before we were to leave for the reunion, the wife asked me why there was oil on the garage floor where I park the Kia. This is the same garage floor that is attached to the brand new house we just had built four months earlier that was clean and spotless. It’s a good thing she noticed it, since I jump in the car and back out and then upon returning, cover up that oil spill by pulling back into the same spot. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to see this mess without her “assistance.”
I snapped a photo of the garage floor with my phone and immediately went back to the lube store, receipt in hand, and told my story and showed the evidence of their error. The guy in charge, who immediately said he wasn’t there on the day I came in, had another fellow check the tightness of the filter and the drain plug. He assured me both were properly snug and that everything was OK. He went on to relate that “sometimes oil from the old filter might spill a bit when it is removed, and that excess oil could get trapped in the channel and crevices of the housing that shields the motor from stuff that could ricochet up from the roadway and damage the motor.” I shared my concern due to our leaving on a 750 mile round trip the next day. He went on to say that the excess oil would “blow out” and the bottom of the vehicle would dry as we traveled at highway speed. He rechecked the engine oil dipstick and showed me that it was still at the “full” mark. With all the oil on the garage floor, he said I would be a quart low if it had leaked from the engine. “Not to worry” were his final words. After returning from the reunion, where we had driven nearly a thousand miles and saw the end of the world, I inserted a piece of cardboard under the front of the vehicle on the garage floor, and the next morning saw proof that the leak was still active. I pulled the dipstick and saw the Kia was fully a quart low, following our road trip.
I could have passed for Mr. Grumpy Pants’ body double as I drove back to the lube joint, but on the way decided to “chill” as much as possible, and not verbally castrate the first guy I encountered wearing a blue lube store uniform shirt.
In next week’s Part II post I’ll share the “he said he said” and what happened next. Don’t miss it!
“Doug is a passionate and motivated sales leader. He understands the day to day grind that sales people constantly endure. Doug creatively presents the sales process in a simple, engaging manner in his book “Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word.” He takes you back to the focus on selling through his stories, ideas, and “Dougisms.” This book is great for everyone; those just getting started in sales, sales veterans, sales managers, and business owners that are serious about their sales teams growing and progressing. After reading this book you will be saying “Aha” and making lots of sales! Investigate here.
Juliana Pfeifer-Charleston, S.C.
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