Don’t get burned by this (Vance tries to change a tire)
Well… I have a confession to make. And it is pretty embarrassing. I did not follow my own advice.
The temptation of a low price, and then the acceptance of that low price as a buyer is like being addicted to crack (or so I am told). You say to yourself, “I’ll just do it once”. Low price shopping is an addiction
Let me relate a little story to you that happened to me just this week, and boy did I get burned by not following my own advice.
As many of you know, in addition to being a Disney Way and Marketing Strategist, I also own an Oriental Rug and Carpet Cleaning business on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have a few vans on the road that each travel about 30-35,000 miles every year. As you can imagine, that is a lot of oil changes and new tires.
I used to buy the tires for my vans at the best tire center in the area. But with the mileage we put on them, I was spending almost TWO GRAND a year in tires. I thought, there has to be another way. Well a new tire company came into town and offered “used” tires at a ridiculously low price. Against my better judgement, I took their bait and started down the dark path of buying on the criteria of price alone.
I started buying “gently used” tires for the vans. I was lured in by the low price (about 40 bucks a tire) which beat buying four new tires at about $180.00 each. But there always seemed to be a problem. The alignment would be out of whack, the vans would have a weird rumble, or there was an odd bubble on the tire. The tire company would always replace the tire, no charge, but it became a hassle.
Then I started to notice other things that were happening in their store, mainly being left on hold for an eternity with no promise (or hope) of anyone returning to pick up the phone. The front desk person was surly at best, more like snarly and rude. The shop was usually in disarray with tools, oils, fluids, and kitty litter all over the shop floor. I should have bailed out right then and there… But I was hooked on price, like a junky on crack.
But we all have our breaking point. Last week I got a panicked call from one of my employees, “Boss, the rear tire just blew out and there are hunks of it all over the highway”. Are you ok? “Yep” he said. Well change the tire, I told him. “The spare is stuck, I can’t get it down”. OK, ok… So I gave the cheapo company a call to try to get some help. Surly lady answers the phone “Hello”. No mention of the company name, her name or even a pleasant greeting.
“Is this P&R tires?” I asked. “Yep” she states.
“One of my vans is stuck about 10 miles from your shop, can you send a truck out?”
“Let me check” was the last thing I heard for the next 3 minutes. I hung up and called back 2 more times and was placed on hold for a total of at least 7 minutes. Finally on the 4th call, surly lady said “Can’t you hold?!”
By this time I was driving out to the stranded van to help my employee get the spare tire that was stuck under the van. On my way, I called the BEST tire company in town, the one I had been lured away from by the cheapo price. “One of my vans is broken down on the highway and he can’t get the spare disconnected from the hold”.
The first words out of her mouth were “Brent can be there in 15 minutes and help you out”. My jaw dropped. How could I have been so stupid as to be lured away from these guys? To make me feel even more guilty, she continued “We help ALL of our best customers, don’t you worry”.
Well I felt like a total schmuck. I could not bring myself to confess my sin of leaving them for a cheaper competitor. After Brent got down there, he managed to dislodge the spare tire and get us on our way. We shook hands and he said “Great to see you again Mr. Morris, glad we could help you out today”.
Sheepishly I thanked him and told him I would be in the next day to have the tire repaired.
By the end of the week, I had spent, no… invested, in new tires for all of my vehicles. About two grand in all.
I never felt better…
So… is low price always an indicator of poor service? Maybe not always, but is damn sure a powerful indicator:
- Walmart vs. Nordstroms
- McDonalds vs Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Hershey Park vs Disney
- Motel 6 vs. Four Seasons
I will let the comparisons speak for themselves.
For more on service standards check out my free special report “Systematic MAGIC, How to Disnify Any Business”. Vance Morris is a Walt Disney World Resort Management Alumni, having spent 10 years as an executive in the Resorts. He runs the only Disney Service & Direct Response Marketing business on the planet. Here he coaches companies to create Disney Style Service Systems and then monetize them through direct response marketing. He is also the GKIC 2015 Marketer of the Year. He can be reached at www.DeliverServiceNow.comor firstname.lastname@example.org .