The Impact of a Simple ‘Thank You’

A Story of Consumerism and an Oil Change

About a year and a half ago, I bought my first brand new vehicle. Having previously driven two stereotypical beater cars — rusty, leaky, ugly — I was ecstatic to have a shiny, new, reliable vehicle. With my new car, I got cool perks like a recent grad rebate, 0% financing, and “complimentary” service for 25,000 miles. We all know it’s not quite complimentary, but that’s another discussion.

I’m still loving my car but I was bummed a few days ago because I had to go in for my 30,000 mile service — the first I’d have to actually pay for. So I drive to the dealership, drop off my keys, and grab my “free” cookie in the waiting area. In my light bitterness, a man walks by, wearing a casual t-shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops. I instantly recognize him from his stereotypical, silly local TV commercials. He’s the owner of the dealership.

Because of his attire, I can only assume that he had to stop in to take care of some business on his day off. Bummer for him. But as he walks by he looks at me and the others in the waiting area and says, “Thanks all for coming in today and for your business. Let me know if there’s anything you need.”

It seems like such a simple thing, but in that moment, I was extremely appreciative of his thank you. It was personal and genuine. And I didn’t feel as bummed about paying for my oil change anymore. I kind of baffled myself because I didn’t understand why this small gesture was so impactful.

But I realized that it was because those small gestures are harder to find in our consumer-driven society. It all comes back to basic customer service. Customers are the force behind a business. Without them, there is no business. So why aren’t business owners trying harder to keep their customers happy? Most people are willing to pay for excellent customer service.

Again, a seemingly obvious philosophy — but unfortunately, regularly forgotten.

Moral of the story is, consumers, purchase from businesses where you feel appreciated. With uncertain trust levels in the auto industry, I’m happy to bring my business somewhere that is friendly and honest.

Business owners, your customers’ loyalty got you to where you are today. When you’re talking or dealing with a customer, thank them for their business. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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