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How’s your alignment?

Not long ago, I stopped into a local tire / auto repair shop to see if I could get an alignment.

I had a coupon for a free alignment (my son won it) from this place, so they had my business even though they didn’t know it.

I don’t usually do business with them because it’s way across town from me, but $100 worth of free service was enough to get me there.

I had to run into town anyhow, so I figured I’d stop in there and see if they could do the alignment.

Because it was Saturday, the guy at the counter didn’t have an alignment expert in the shop. I’m ok with that. Payroll expenses are high and if you know your business well enough, you know that not enough people come in for alignments on Saturday so why have that guy be away from his family *and* lose money on him?

The question

I waited for the counter guy to ask me the next question…. but he didn’t.

Remember, I didn’t tell him that I had a coupon for a free alignment. I could easily run down the street to Les Schwab or any other open auto place that *does* do alignments on Saturday. He didn’t know that I wasn’t planning to exercise that option.

Here’s the problem. We’re in an area that has pretty high unemployment. Competition is fierce (or should be) for every piece of business.

Despite all that, when telling me that his shop couldn’t do the alignment on Saturday, he let the conversation end.

It would have been SIMPLE to say “Our alignment expert isn’t in on Saturday, but I’d be happy to make an appointment to get that done first thing next week. When’s a good time to come back in? The sooner we get it done, the less likely that an out-of-alignment suspension will ruin a tire and cost you a bunch of money.”

But he didn’t.

Your next step

If they absolutely have to leave and come back, take the initiative to make it easier for them to return and solve their problem. Give them a reason that provides value to THEM (ie: “save that tire”). Don’t just say “sorry, can’t do it today” and let them leave.

Build an entrepreneurial culture of “What can we do next?” among your staff. Helping your clientele before they ruin / break something or waste their time / money is always good business.

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