Just before Christmas, I was involved in a car accident which significantly damaged my car’s left front door and fender. I decided to go ahead and use El Dorado Collision Center in San Diego, CA, which is the collision company that partners with my insurance company. The car was taken directly there, disassembled to look for additional damage, and repaired. When it was ready, I was told I could just bring the Enterprise rental car there, and El Dorado Collision would take care of returning it for me (nice!). They even stayed open for me when they knew I was coming to pick up my car late (nice!).
As I drove the car home, I noticed it was pulling to one side quite a bit. Since it was after-hours, I called the next day and was told to bring it back in (bummer; why didn’t they catch this before they gave it to me?!). A quick look confirmed it needed to go to a different shop to get the alignment adjusted. The next day (Thursday), I took it to the suggested alignment shop and sat around while the “30 minute repair” turned into 1 hour and 30 minutes (not nice!). Worse, when the technician came out, he informed me the car’s right strut was bent, and they needed to order the part (bummer!). They would call me when it came in.
The weekend went by, and not having heard anything I called El Dorado Collision. My contact John apologized that I hadn’t received a call, and he told me the part was already in the shop (bummer not to know sooner!). He told me it would take 2 hours+ to replace the part, and I started getting concerned, until… surprise! He offered to have someone come to my house, pick up the car, and deliver it back to me when it was repaired; I only needed to let him know what time I needed the car back. Unexpected delight!
I have never heard of a mechanic doing this for a customer. It went very smoothly — they arrived on time, and they brought my car back on time. I never even had to leave the house, which allowed me to keep doing my work, uninterrupted. This service made for a very productive day from what could have been a complete waste of my time.
I don’t know whether El Dorado Collision Center does this on a regular basis, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others. Not all businesses will be able to offer this level of service, but there are things that can be done for our customers to make their lives, either business or personal lives, easier to manage. Surprise and delight. Isn’t that what customer service is all about?
Find something you can do for your customer that makes doing business with you more convenient, more useful, or more fun. Then surprise them and go and do it! See Andy Nulman’s blog on surprise if you need ideas; he has some great ones!