Win – Win

We spend an enormous amount of time and energy working to achieve a “win-win”. In all sorts of settings – board rooms to back alleys, kitchen tables to sales floors of all kinds – that perfect solution is the trophy chased by many but achieved only rarely.

I dropped my car off this morning at a local dealership so they could look at my CD player. A few weeks ago it simply quit responding. The radio works just fine, but push the CD button…nothing. With a one hour commute each way it is fair to say that my affection for that 6 disc in dash piece of luxury is a bit… unnatural.

The service manager asked that I leave the car with him so he could complete the additional diagnostic tests required by the warranty claim. During the conversation I briefly mentioned that I was glad this was working out so well. My extended warranty was due to expire in two weeks.

Some time later I get a phone call. Since the warranty was going to expire soon he put the car on a lift and had his team go over the whole vehicle. They found two oil leaks that were still in the very early stages of creating an issue, but definitely needed to be corrected. He could cover the repairs under the warranty today if I gave my approval. What? Can you repeat that please? I’m having a hard time hearing you on account of the awesomeness of this customer service. ME: “An $800 extended warranty purchased in 2004 is going to completely cover almost $1,200 worth of repairs (between the CD player replacement and fixing the oil leaks) in 2010?” HIM: “Yes.”

The WIN for me should be obvious. What’s in it for him?

  • Morale. His shop was slow today. Like a drunk turtle trying to wade through molasses, slow. Nobody wants to go to work and have nothing to do. That’s bad for morale. He was able to put his whole crew to work and keep them busy for quite some time. The whole vehicle check took time, then the necessary repairs took time.
  • Money. Paying people to do nothing is not good for the bottom line. It’s his job to generate revenue for the service department. By finding warranty repairs he did exactly that.
  • Marketing. Knocking a customers socks off is always a good thing. He went to bat for me. Treated me like he would want to be treated. Why not have a warranty cover the expense on necessary repairs? Picking up on the limited window of time and grabbing that opportunity helped him generate revenue for his shop at no cost to me…what customer wouldn’t be impressed?

Minor point of amusement: It’s a Toyota dealer. You see, brands are created by companies. Companies are made up of people. So I guess it’s actually people who create the brand of a company. It’s also people who either support or erode that brand. When people representing a brand help other people supporting that brand…we just may have a “win-win” on our hands.


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