Last week I had a perfect opportunity to see why local businesses sometime beat the pants off big national corporations when it comes to customer service.
Last week my car died while I was between meetings. What could have ruined my day turned out to be a minor inconvenience thanks to fast, friendly service by some people at a local service station.
When my car decided not to start, the first thing I did was call the roadside assistance service that came with the car when I bought it. After waiting on hold long enough to make me impatient, I started walking to a service station about a block away.
When I got there, I was still on hold with my wonderful roadside assistance service so I hung up the phone. I asked the service station guy if they could jump-start my car. He was busy working on another car but he stopped to help me. He said their tow-truck was out all day but they had a booster pack that might work. So he grabbed the booster-pack and we went and jump-started my car.
Things would have been fine except when he hooked my car battery to their battery tester it gave us bad news. The battery was dead. So, for me to get anywhere that day, I was going to need a new battery.
This wouldn’t have been a problem, except they had no batteries that fit my car. He just sold the last one the day before.
But, rather than give up and leave me stranded, he grabbed the phone and started calling other service stations in the area. When that didn’t work, he called their battery vendor on the slim chance that their truck might be in the area with the battery I needed.
Finally, someone at their battery vendor found the battery I needed. But it was not anywhere close to us. So they sent an employee out to intercept the truck that had the battery and then bring it to us.
About 45 minutes later the “battery car” raced into our parking lot and screeched to a halt. A young man jumped out, popped the trunk, grabbed the battery and ran it in the service garage, straight into the hands of the waiting mechanic.
Within 10 minutes, I was back on the road with a new battery, just in time to make my next meeting.
What amazed me was that all these people worked so hard to help me get on my way. It didn’t require any pleading or prodding or begging on my part. I heard no whining or excuses from them why they couldn’t help me. They just did it, no questions asked, like this was just another day for them.
I have a feeling that if I had stayed on hold with the toll-free roadside assistance, I might have still been on hold hours later. At the very least I’m I would have missed my meeting (and probably dinner too!)
Sure there are large companies that deliver great service. I don’t want to suggest they can’t or don’t. But this instance was clearly victory for small, local companies.
Do you have a similar experience when a local business really went above and beyond the norm to help you in your time of need? If so, please let me know.