How to Get a Lifetime Customer and How to Lose One Forever

I had my car smog checked a few weeks ago. When I got ready to pay I was given a list of things that needed fixing on my car. This was a surprise to me because a few months ago when I had work done there were no problems. I was told I needed my brake fluid changed, my alignment done, new spark plugs, a new brake light, a new license plate tag light and a few other things. I was puzzled and suspicious especially when I wasn’t given an estimate of prices to make the repairs.

Oh, let me say I went to this new place after the business I had been to a few months ago closed down and had their phone number forwarded to the new place. I was shocked that an automotive repair shop that had been open for years closed suddenly and with no notice to customers. I hadn’t received a postcard, letter, email or phone call that my repair shop was no longer going to be servicing my car.

Hmm, poor marketing could be a huge reason why it went out of business. I also hadn’t received a time to get your oil changed notice and my car was overdue for an oil change. Another failure to communicate with customers. In the past I’ve received repeated postcards from places for months that I only went to once and didn’t like their service and so never went back. Yet this place that I liked, didn’t keep up any continued contact about regular maintenance on my car.

Maybe I should’ve noticed this before hand but I hate getting my car serviced so I don’t think about it unless I have to travel out of town then I start thinking of checking out my car. I don’t want to end up stranded somewhere because I failed to get my car checked out. I have friends who’ve had that happen and then been at the mercy of out-of-town auto repair shops.

This new shop sent me a thank you card which I thought was good follow-up and then I got a letter about the supposed needed repairs. Again with no cost estimate enclosed which aroused my suspicions again. I also got a coupon for what seemed like outrages prices for an oil change and tune up.

I decided to ask a friend who worked as a Fleet supervisor about this list of repairs. After explaining the list he gave a derisive laugh and said I likely didn’t need any of those things done and to see a mechanic of his recommendation.

He told me it sounded like this auto repair shop where I had the smog check done at was trying to make some easy money off me. I didn’t like that at ALL! I called the first shop he told me about and scheduled an oil change. I figured this should tell me what problems I really have by seeing someone new.

At this shop I mentioned up front my car shimmies at higher speeds. Immediately the manager said I needed my wheels balanced and recommended a local tire store to do the work. I noticed he didn’t say I needed my wheels aligned and was willing to refer me to another business whose niche was tires and balancing tires, etc. I was happy to be doing business with the shop already and they hadn’t even started working on my car!

When I came back to pick up my car I found out the only new problem was the replacement of the license plate tag light which cost me all of $1.94. Who knows what the nefarious smog check place would’ve charged me for it. I even asked if anything else was wrong with my car. I was told it was in good working order and reminded to have the balance done at the tire shop.

Wow! What a huge difference. An honest mechanic willing to refer me to other businesses. This was even better than frequent mailers. I could trust this business to take care of my car and not over charge me. They may not know it but they have a customer for life. Finding a mechanic you can trust is vital especially for a woman.

In the past I’ve had auto repair shops try to rip me off because I’m a woman and not very car savvy. One thing they didn’t realize is I have male friends that I ask questions before getting new repairs done. That has saved me hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars. Plus I keep all my repair receipts so if some dishonest mechanic tries to sell me a repair I’ve already had done I can point it out and save myself money. And let me tell you it has happened more than once over the years!

Don’t business people realize the fastest way to lose a customer is to rip her off? And the quickest way to get a lifetime customer is to be honest and trustworthy? This is especially important when marketing to women. Women value relationships and trust is vital in relationships.

Cheat me out of even a nickel one time and you’ll never see me again. Be honest and I’ll do business with you for years and years.

Oh and I went to the tire shop and since I had purchased tires there before they balanced my tires for free. Now my car drives smooth like frosting on a cake! Sweet!

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