If you sell customer service, it helps to be good at it.
This week, a lady I follow on Twitter wrote: “Are you a AAA roadside assistance member? I’ve been for 37 years — and today used it for a flat tire. Love having assurance in my wallet.”
Offhand, I can’t think of an organization that delivers better customer service than AAA. They sell a lot of other things, too: car insurance, life insurance, batteries, lots and lots of batteries. I bought one last Thursday.
My Explorer had made a harsh ratchety sound when I tried to start it. I called AAA (Auto Club South), described the sound, guessing that the starter was cooked. The AAA lady knew better and sent the battery guy, Maurice Watts.
He showed up in half an hour, popped the hood and let out a low whistle, “Lot of corrosion on that battery post!” He scrubbed most of it off with a wire brush.
“Will it start, now?” I asked.
“Maybe,” he said. “Let’s test the battery. Hmm. Looks like one of the cells is dead. I’ll get a printout.” He pressed a button and out came a paper report, complete with a diagram that showed what was faulty. I even understood it.
Maurice shook his head. “The clamp is corroded, too. I’m going to have to cut the cable but first I need to get to the car’s computer port.”
“For a battery?” said I.
“Yep. The factory settings will disappear when I disconnect the battery, so I have to hook the car up to this,” he said, pointing to a boxy thing with cables.” A few minutes later, my car started like it was new.
“You’re a genius,” I said. “Is that a bypass machine, sort of like in a heart operation?”
He laughed. “I suppose so. A lot of companies don’t do that and you have to get in touch with the factory to get your settings right and so on.”
I wrote a check for the battery, we shook hands and off he went. Nice guy. Outstandingly good at his job and pleasant.
Over the years, AAA’s emergency service has been worth a lot more than I’ve ever paid them. And, whenever I deal with any of their employees about anything, they’re all like Maurice Watts. Professional and pleasant.
They’re trained to be professional and pleasant; without great customer service they don’t get to sell much of anything, including customer service.
Maybe they could start a side business that offers customer service workshops. I can think of more than a few organizations that could use the help.
It can’t hurt to remind us that, one way or the other, we all sell customer service and if we don’t deliver, pretty soon we won’t be selling much of anything.