Can you drop it off?
Recently one of my tires (tyres for my UK friends) developed a slow leak. As cars go regular maintenance is the key. As a prototypical American boy of my generation (unlike Millenials) I loved the freedom of four wheels and a set of keys but that freedom can be tempered by poor maintenance, so I watch my vehicles.
Topping off my tire every week or so with my home air compressor (did I mention I like tools?) I noticed the interval shortening between fill-ups: that can only mean I had to get in to a shop sooner rather than later.
Shop one is around the corner. I stopped on a Monday morning: can you fix this slow leak? Yes. When? Maybe tomorrow; we’re really busy today. I see. What time do you open? 7:30 – we can start you first thing. Cool. I’ll be back.
Of course I went back in the am, but the shop was still relatively full and a different (much less engaging) person said they “might” get to it today but I’d have to leave it. But yesterday you said the same thing! Still the case then isnt it?
Wow! What service!
I went to shop two to find the entrance absolutely filthy. I mean filthy: they apparently never heard of a cleaning service. Now I’m nervous about them touching my car. After a short delay the “manager” asked me what I needed. I explained. He said they couldn’t do anything until after lunch because “his” mechanics didn’t come in until 9.
“But you open at 7,” I said. “Yeah, but the mechanics don’t get here till 9.” I left the shop wondering about this bit of Monty Python logic while marveling how good it was to not show up till 9. Clearly this pig sty is an employer of choice if not a paragon of truthful advertising.
Shop three is much like the inspection station I use in that it stays busy but things keep moving. Also, this place place just does tires. I stop in.
I’ve got a slow leak. Where? Right rear. Back it in here.
You hear that? I told the guy working in front of the shop my problem, he tells me where to park the car. He jacks the car, pulls the tire, puts it in the bath, shows me the nail in the tread and proceeds to fix it. All right in front of me. Then he takes my money.
There is no manager. There is no dropping off. There is no set of silly corporate logos or funny posters about “car care.” There are two guys working away heavily sweating already at 8 in the morning fixing tires, which, coincidentally, is what their sign says they do.
Which shop do you think I’ve Yelped about, told my friends of and will go back to first the next time I need tire help?
Here’s the point: if you’re going to run a business that says you do something you probably want to speak clearly to customers about what you do and when you’ll do it. And it wouldn’t hurt to be nice.
Or, you can always just ask customers to come back tomorrow.