The Cost of Accountability

Recently we had the misfortune of getting 2 flat tires at the same time -- both on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Obviously we had driven over something that had punctured the tires.

I removed both tires and went looking for a repair facility. However, to compound the problem, it was a Sunday afternoon when many tire repair facilities were closed and I ended up at a garage that was slightly out of my local area and one that I had never used before.

They repaired both tires (one actually had 2 punctures) and I returned home to re-install the tires.

Monday morning, my wife jumped in the car and drove my daughter to school -- approx a 10 kilometre trip. In her rush to get my daughter to school, she didn’t check the tires (and why would she -- they had just been repaired) and didn’t realize that one of the tires had gone flat overnight. Because they were low profile tires, this is even less obvious.

Resultant, the tire was ruined because it had been driven without correct air pressure.

Very unhappy, I returned to the repair facility and explained the issue. Everyone was very polite and professional (including me). They examined the tire and confirmed that the tire was damaged and that I needed a new tire. They also indicated that it needed to be the same tire since the car was all-wheel drive and all 4 tires should match. Fortunately, the tires were all fairly new so only one tire needed to be replaced versus all 4.

They special ordered a new tire (it was an expensive original equipment brand) and indicated it would be in on Tuesday at which point they would install it.

When I asked the costs (expecting the worst, but hoping for the best) they indicated that it would be “no charge”, because in their words -- the problem was as a result of a workmanship issue at their end. The patch had not sealed properly which led to the deflated tire. No mention was made of the fact that we had driven on a flat tire.

This repair facility understood the concept of accountability -- even when there was a cost associated with their actions. They accepted full responsibility for the issue.

Rather than suggesting that we should not have driven on a deflated tire and trying to pass part of the responsibility on to the client, they acknowledged that if the repair had been done correctly, there would never have been an issue of driving on a deflated tire.

Resultant, I will actively look for opportunities to use their services and recommend them to my friends -- and I will drive the extra distance to use their services. They have not only built loyalty, but I now feel a commitment to this company because I know they acted with great integrity and I would like a company that treats people so well to be successful.

I have now become an ambassador for their services in my community and their cost for this was much less than a single page ad in the local papers, but worth significantly more in the power of Word of Mouth advertising.

In addition to considering the Lifetime Value of your customers, don’t forget the cost of lost opportunity. Compare this experience with the one I had a Canadian Tire recently which I will post next week.

For those living in the GTA area, the company was Meineke Car Care Center in Oak Ridges/Richmond Hill Ontario.

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