17 Feb

Don’t treat customers like mugs

I’d like to thank my mum for this blog post: no, really – I would.

I got a call from her, before, about the fascinating subject of getting a tyre replaced on her car. However, what she told me shocked me, as I can’t believe companies still do this (and I’m going to name and shame the company, shortly: I don’t like people trying to rip off my mum).

She went to a local Kwik Fit, as she had a slow puncture in one of her rear tyres. They put her car on a ramp, looked at the tyre, and told her she’d need to buy a brand new replacement for it.
They quoted her £107 for this one tyre as ‘the best they could do’, which they rounded down to £105, because they’re so kind.
My mum thought this was a bit expensive (she drives a 10-year-old Toyota Corolla, not a monster truck), so had to think about it. Apparently, the new tyre wouldn’t be in until tomorrow anyway.

Because she’s not an idiot, my mum checked out the prices of various tyres on Kwik Fit’s website, when she got home. There were perfectly good tyres (makes such as Pirelli and Dunlop) available for £75, including fitting.

When Kwik Fit phoned my mum back to confirm they could fit the tyre, for £105, tomorrow, my mum asked how come she’d seen equivalent tyres – good makes – for just £75 on Kwik Fit’s own website?
The response; ‘Oh, okay madam, we can match that for you’.
My mum’s reply; ‘No, sorry, I don’t feel comfortable with that. You’ve suddenly come down £30 because of what I’ve seen on your website. You could’ve offered me that from the start’.
She’s right.
All she got back was; ‘Oh, okay madam – sorry to hear that’

For a local garage, that would be a bit dodgy. For a national brand, that’s awful.

For the sake of a quick £30 there and then, they’ve just lost a customer completely. In turn, I’m fuming with them for trying to rip off my mum (obviously they thought a woman of her age wouldn’t know anything about tyres or bother to check things out), and will now never use them.
Anyone my mum speaks to will not use them, either … and I’ve just written this blog post.

If they’d been honest from the start, and done a good job, my mum would’ve been happy, my dad would’ve been happy (and he’s all about customer service – reads every Which magazine – so would’ve told other people), my sisters would’ve been happy, and I’d have liked them for treating my mum well.
They could’ve gained another couple of customers in fitting that tyre for £75.

The point is, selling just on price, or trying to rip off customers for a few extra quid, just isn’t worth it. If one of them catches you out, they’ll tell several other people – I guarantee it – and you’ll lose something that’s incredibly hard to claw back: integrity.
Do a good job for people, at the right price, and offer great service (even giving little ‘extras’) and I guarantee they’ll keep coming back to you, and they’ll bring others with them.

Don’t treat customers like mugs: it’s just not worth it.

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