An Art of the Question Blog
How is my focus on my customers?
It had been raining for what seemed like weeks. But suddenly, the sun broke through the clouds, and with the sun’s warmth, the temperature rose above freezing – barely. And suddenly, I wanted a clean car.
I admit it. I am a car nut. No, I don’t own a lot of flashy, rare hot rods. But I love to drive, and I love having a car that handles great. And I love to keep it looking good. Due to the weather, I had allowed dirt and grime to coat my beautiful ride.
I swung into my local car wash, and was greeted by a young man who trotted out to meet me as I drove into the lot. “Hello!” he said. ”I’m Rob! Thanks for coming by today. What can I do to help you?”
I looked around to make sure I had pulled into the right parking lot. ”Is this the car wash?” I asked. ’Yes sir, it is,” came the reply. ”How can I help you today?”
“Wow!” I said. ”You really know how to make an impression!” ”Thank you,” he replied. ”We want to make sure we take good care of you. What would you like for us to do today?”
“I would like a wash, vacuum and tire shine please.” ”Perfect,” Rob said. “We can do a Number 3 for you today. It’s on special, and will save you five dollars. Say, that’s a beautiful car!”
“Thanks Rob,” I replied. ” a number 3 sounds perfect.” ”OK,” he said. ”I will personally take care of everything. Now, if you don’t mind, follow me.”
I followed him to the main building. When we got to the door, he opened it and held it for me to enter the building. ”We have snacks and magazines. Also, there is a shoe shine chair if you need to brighten those wingtips! Relax, and we’ll have you out of here in about ten minutes or so.”
“Thanks Rob,” I said, a little overwhelmed by the amazing level of customer service. I entered the waiting area and was greeted by a smiling cashier who took my payment and gave me a receipt.
As I sat, I noticed the waiting room was clean and neat. The phones rang, and were answered promptly and cheerfully. I watched through the window as the crew, under Rob’s careful gaze, began to clean my car.
When the wash was complete, Rob drove the car to another area. I watched as he dried the car to remove any water spots. He began on the wheels, carefully cleaning each opening and lug until they were shining. He continued with the windows and interior. He selected a cleaner from his cart, and cleaned a spot on the carpet he had noticed. He even used a bit of rubbing compound to remove a black smudge on one of the fenders.
“We appreciate your business!” he said. “Do you own the car wash?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “but I want to do the best job possible. Our customers deserve that.”
“Wow,” I thought. “He actually said ‘Our customers deserve that.’”
I tipped Rob, and drove away thinking about my experience. Would I go back? Absolutely. Rob had set the bar high for any other car wash to compete against. In fact, he had started me thinking about the level of diligence and customer service I offered to others. As I thought through what had just happened, I was inspired to be better at what I do. I had been inspired by a car wash guy
What was Rob’s secret? Well, he had three. First, he genuinely loved what he did. Next, he made it a point to do the very best job possible. Finally, he understood customer focus.
Was it easy? Not at all. His environment was not ideal. The day I was there, the temp was in the upper 30′s. His customers were not always nice and friendly. Many of them were in a hurry and were downright rude. He wasn’t making millions of dollars. But none of that was his focus.
His focus was simple. To do the best job possible. To deliver the best customer experience he could. And to love what he did.
What if we had a similar focus? What if we were inspired by the car wash guy?
Imagine the possibilities.