Let me tell you about a couple different experiences I had with businesses over the past week. One terrible, one good. And by good, I had the experience I expected.
I went to Big O Tires in West Valley City, Utah, to get my car inspected and tag renewed. This normally takes 10 minutes at autoshops, and I was told it would only take that long at Big O. 30 minutes into my visit my car hasn’t moved and I’m standing at the counter watching the attendant on the phone. Not talking on the phone, just holding it to her ear. I sat back down and waited, because I can’t stand confrontation and assumed my car was next in line.
20 minutes after that I’m standing in front of the counter while a couple of bros munch on some Taco Bell at each of the cash registers, talkin’ bout cars and the Super Bowl. Curious how long until they’d acknowledge me, I stood there and stared at them. After about 5 minutes, I said “Excuse me” and they reacted as if I’d interrupted the birth of a child or something.
“WHAT?!” they blurted.
I asked for my keys back, and as I was walking out the door the lady who was no longer with her phone says “We had a stall in one of the bays.”
Great to know. A piss poor experience on every level.
Today I went to another shop, Performance Emissions and Inspections. I walked out in five minutes with my car inspected. I didn’t get a cheerful reception and I’m not thrilled with the price, but I had the experience I expected. This is a BIG DAMN DEAL these days. I’ll go back to these guys again.
Look, I wanted simple car service. I don’t think any reasonable person in the world expects much from car service: be honest, be fair. Unlike the grocery store, or a hair salon, I’m not looking for smiles and candy canes. just fix my damn car. When I’m standing at the counter, take a few moments to pause the Taco Bell grunting to acknowledge me. Don’t choke on your Doritos Loco taco when I ask for something.
People have asked why I didn’t say anything to the Big O people. I can’t stand confrontation, especially with strangers. I’m quite content to walk away and spend my money elsewhere (and in really crusty cases like this, blog.) I believe there are a lot of you out there who would do the same.
It comes down to this: know your expectations and surpass them. If you can’t surpass them, ensure you’re excellent at the bare minimum, which is to give people exactly what they expect when walking in your door. If you can’t deliver that, in a social media-driven world where opinions can spread like wildfire, then you can expect to close up shop soon.