It’s the little things that count

where did you get our number image

Just been to have my car serviced and it was a great experience. That’s a strange thing to say. Ordinarily car servicing would be considered a dark art by many. After all, who knows how cars work? You open the bonnet and are confronted with hoses, wheels, cogs, bottles, knobs, and metallic shiny things. How on earth does it go? Magic. Yep, that’s right. And who do you need to practice magic? A witch? No. A magician.

Mechanics (or technicians as they like to be known these days) are the modern equivalent of wizards or magicians. They can take your cantankerous motor car sitting out there on the driveway mocking you with its immobility and make it purr again. But there’s a price to be paid for this. Not normally in first borne children but in surly attitude, laughing looks and pockets full of cash.

“You don’t know how to fix your car?! You must be a retard sir.  In the meantime, me and the boys will laugh at you, twiddle some knobs and ask for £500 in exchange.”

Normally, you don’t really have a choice in this ‘transaction’. You pay your money, take the abuse, they wave their wands and the car comes back. Sometimes better, sometimes worse than it was.

It’s these little things that matter in all transactions.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”raised” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#829AB5″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]How are you treated when you first ring up to enquire of the cost? Does it sound like the people at the other end of the phone value your business?

Was there a pleasant person to meet you when you arrived and talk you through the process?

Did they give you the impression they wanted to see you again when you went back to collect the car?[/dropshadowbox]

This sounds like the basics of customer service. But every transaction is more than just the human interaction. It follows this path:

Finding -> Contacting -> Interacting -> Transaction -> Encourage Future Transaction

Then, if you are the business involved, you want it to repeat again but without the Finding bit. You want the customer to Contact you straight away.

This week when I shopped around for a car service I initially looked at Google Maps to see who was close. My normal servicing agent is an hour away and I couldn’t get anyone to drop me off and bring me back again twice, and they do not have an option of a courtesy car there, so I needed to look locally this time. A few companies had bothered to fill in their google profile but not many. There must be more garages round here I thought. I turned to the local free magazine that is produced every couple of weeks and is chock full of ads. Its an absolute boon when you need a tradesman. Somehow, they’ve convinced all the local businesses to advertise with them. Some local businesses sometimes use feather flags to get customers from street traffic. Meanwhile free services like a Google profile and simple things like a web site are left unfilled….

I found a garage with a half decent advert promising 10% off for a service. Sounded good. They’ve used an obvious hook to gain my attention.

I rang. A nice bloke answered the phone and we talked about the cost, how long it would take, when it could be done and where they were. I liked his attitude. Sounded honest and approachable. Job done on his part, I was hooked with the car booked to go in a couple of days time. He also asked where I got the number from. I replied from the local free magazine and he said, oh good, we give 10% off for people who say that. I’d forgotten to ask for the 10% myself but he had readily given that information to me. Amazing. Already I was won over.

Three important marketing concepts already demonstrated in this transaction:

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”raised” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#829AB5″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

– An advert has been placed that attracts attention.

– A discount is offered to encourage trial.

– Market research is being conducted to track the usefulness of their advertising . (where did I get the number from?)[/dropshadowbox]

The day arrived and I took the car in. They looked at their notes from the phone call and asked again about the two issues that I had mentioned on the phone. Brilliant. Somebody had listened. I left the car with them and telephoned in the afternoon as instructed to check on progress. I was told the car was just getting washed so to wander round in 10 minutes to pick it up. They’re washing the car! Awesome.

Turning up at the garage, the bloke went through the things they had done, listed some items that may need attention in the future, handed over the keys and took payment (complete with the 10% off which I didn’t have to ask for). He pointed out the little tag he’d added to the key ring which had their logo, phone number on, and dates for the next service and MOT. Hopefully he’ll also have taken down those dates and ring me next year too. He added that if I needed the tyres replacing (a point that was raised in the MOT a couple of months ago) that they could get very good prices on those too.

So more good marketing going on there:

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”raised” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#829AB5″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

– future calls to action with date reminders for next year’s service and MOT

– a key ring tag that looks professional and is unlikely to be taken off

– an invite to purchase more products at good prices.[/dropshadowbox]


I don’t work for these guys, just admire the way they are using good marketing techniques along with decent customer service to promote their business. If you need your car serviced and live in Thame, you could do worse than give them a call.