Wow your customer – irrespective of price

Andrew Foote, managing director of Party Plus Franchising writes, “Jurek, here is a true story for you that concluded today – if some other business can profit from this, please feel free to reproduce or edit it as appropriate.”
My wife Donna had the pleasure of taking possession of a new car. We needed a second car and decided that buying an inexpensive new car was the way to go. So, the decision was made, she’ll get a Hyundai Getz, pretty-well the cheapest and lowest number of features you can get in a vehicle. Not content, we bought it from John Hughes Hyundai, a low price dealership. A standard story so far, but here is where it gets interesting from a retailing and customer service perspective.

Scott, the salesman, asked us questions and answered our questions honestly. No stereotypical car salesman techniques here. He didn’t try to do the big upsell. He presented options and when we said no, his only suggestion was the tinted windows, saying that he’d do them “at close to cost” because he really felt they were important. I’m sure the dealership still makes a little bit of money on this, but hey, we wanted tinted windows and it was almost half the stated retail price, so we felt like we’d got an additional bargain.

He told us the timing process, clever at this point. He told us it would be the end of the first week of September and yet he phoned on 28 August to say it was being registered and detailed Friday and delivered first thing Monday. Ahead of schedule – under promised, over-delivered. So far everything sounds like pretty standard, good customer service with a bit of thought and care. But when we arrived we were in for a shock. 
After finalising payment, he took time to methodically go through the key aspects of the vehicle before we left his office, making sure we understood the John Hughes follow-up Customer Satisfaction Survey process and how important it was to them to get honest feedback. We were told that John Hughes personally reads every form, that the good ones go into the monthly updated testimonial sheets that are clearly displayed everywhere (social proof), and that if there were negative comments, John personally phoned those customers to fix the problem (I know he does this from other friends who were shocked to get a phone call from him one Sunday morning – and who keep purchasing because John lives up to his “I personally stand behind every car I sell” credo).

He made a big deal about the servicing options. They can come to us and so forth and how important it was to them that they have good quality tradesmen. My guess is that the service guys are just like Scott.

During all of the explanations, he maintained eye contact with my wife the whole time, while occasionally referencing me, because she was to be the driver and it was in her name (I was just the moral support on this occasion). I like that. Nothing ticks me off more than a man assuming that he has to speak to another man.

After all of that, we were about to get up, but he stopped us, presenting my wife with a boxed bouquets of flowers and a bottle of good quality Voyager Estate wine. We’re feeling pretty chuffed at this point. But now it gets better. We went to get the car which we were told was in the showroom. But when Scott stopped we couldn’t see it. Scott pointed to a display stand with the sign reading in big letters “Donna’s Car – Getz …” with details. Cute, and we had a laugh, but it felt like a presentation. We looked in front of this sign and saw the car was completely covered by a dark coloured parachute-type of material. Grinning like teenagers (and we’re, ahem, 50-ish), with flair he whisked back the cover to reveal a freshly washed and dried new car. How do you reckon my wife felt?

Not content, and after presenting Donna with the keys, he then spent a solid 20 minutes demonstrating all the features and even offering to set-up our Bluetooth connection for the phone. Just before we were ready to go, he then said “Would you like a photo?”  Why not! Okay, it’s not the world’s best photo, but it was printed onto photo paper and placed inside a presentation folder pre-printed with “Congratulations” and all the bells and whistles. And did I mention the full tank of fuel?

What’s my point? Someone has thought hard about this process. My guess is that the fuel, the flowers, the wine, the time, the reveal and the surveys cost extra time and money and take a little preparation. Would it have changed our buying decision if we didn’t get these? Of course not – we’d already bought the car. But did my wife feel special with her inexpensive new car? You bet! Do you think we’ll be telling people about the experience? I’ve just told you, haven’t I!
And no, I’m not associated with John Hughes. Not in the slightest. I confess I’ve always been a little anti that business because of the cheesy commercials. But I’ve now become a raving fan, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they will be the first port of call for the next vehicle.”

Think about what you can take from this article to apply in your business.

Printed with permission
Jurek Leon