Customer Service Notebook

In my workshops I talk about something that I do in my life that has helped me to grow a better business. It's my customer service notebook. In it, I keep a record of great - and not so great, customer service experiences that I am blessed or depressed with. I then review these notes and pull things from it to apply to my businesses. I find it a great reminder for what is really most important to the success of any business: a great product, knowledge of and belief in your product, and outstanding customer service. With these things you have the recipe and ingredients for a lasting business.

Yesterday, I had a great experience and a few things to add to my notebook. I have been searching for an iPod dock for my car stereo for some time. I surfed the forums, googled manufacturers, and the outlook was dismal. I have an unusual make and model (as far as iPod connectors go) and most everything I read said it really couldn't be done. Fooey! I then started calling every car stereo shop in town. Several said, "sorry, we don't know of any product for your car." A couple of them said, "We'll look for something and call you back." ONE shop actually did call back - and within the hour. They had a solution. I didn't believe them. I played along though and placed an order for the product with them.

When it came in, I brought the car in for the install. The shop was clean - even the bathroom. That's weird. Car stereo shops are a guy thing. Only guys work in car stereo shops and auto repair joints. Guys don't typically maintain spotless bathrooms without the help of women – unless they are fanatics about attention to detail. This was a good sign.

As I was turning over the keys, the owner posed the question, "How are you going to actually mount the iPod?". I figured I'd get one of those suction cup thingys or just throw it in the glove box. The guy said, "Our installers are pretty creative. If we can come up with a cool way to mount the iPod that looks clean, would you like us to do that?" Sure I would. Sounds good to me - pun intended. I thought about this afterwards: what a great upsell! It satisfies my needs perfectly and gives them a little icing on the cake. I'm all for it. I was still skeptical though.

I left my car and went to the office and waited, anticipating that call..."Uh, Mr. Kubota, we're sorry but this device actually won't work with your car. You were right, you can't connect an iPod to it." The call came, but it was, "Mr. Kubota, we have a GREAT solution to mount your iPod, we can create a custom dock for it in your unused ashtray. It will look like a factory iPod dock and when you close the ashtray it is completely hidden." Bitchin'.

One hour before the promised ready time, they called and said, "Come 'n get it."

I did, and it rocked.

I am thrilled that I can now listen to my iPod, in full CD quality, in my car. It's a simple pleasure, I realize, but that's what life is all about, right? So what goes in the notebook that we can learn from?

1) Follow through. They called back when they said they would with answers to my questions.

2) Professionalism. They were polite, knowledgeable on their products, my car, and the installation.

3) Attention to detail. The shop was immaculate. They instilled trust. The installation looks like a factory job.

4) They up-sold me something I really needed, so I was more than happy to buy and appreciated the creative thinking.

5) They over delivered. I came away with a better solution than I had even hoped for.

Oh, and the clencher? When I came in to pick up and pay, the price for the custom dock was less than I expected AND after I wrote the check he noticed he forgot to add the $37 shipping for the special ordered product. I said, "No problem, I can write another check..." but he said, "Ah, don't worry about it, just come back and see us next time you need something."

Darn right I will. And I'm telling everyone I know that Sounds Fast in Bend, OR is the pinnacle of mobile audio shops.

update: some of you wanted photos of the setup, so here they are!

The original closed ashtrayThe custom ipod dock connector installed in the ashtraymy iPhone ready to rock!