Friday, January 27, 2006

1/27/06 Brilliant Marketing

I'm going to share a story that shows how customer service can go a real long way. I brought my 7 year old car to the local dealership yesterday. There's a real faint grinding sound between gears, so I figured I might finally need to get a transmission flush. One of the mechanics drove the car. While he did, the service manager looked up my car and let me know that I haven't had some of the recall work done. He said he'd just take care of it. I asked him if I would need new transmission fluid. He said no, that it would be a waste of time and money. That, if there's a problem, they'll have to replace the transmission. I definitely didn't want to hear that. And I started to not trust the guy. Of course he was going to want to replace an expensive transmission. That's how these guys get paid, right? It's a shame I started to distrust him - he seemed so helpful and friendly to begin with.

So, I calmly asked how much that would cost. I figured if it was too much, I'd start maybe looking at getting another car. "Normally it's about $4500. But they extended your transmission warranty, so it's free." Umm. What? You're giving me a new transmission for free? My car's more than 7 years old. "And we'll take care of all of the recall fixes for you. No charge."

The mechanic came back and verified that I needed a new transmission. The manager then rolled up in a 2005 version of my car with XM Radio and all the bells and whistles. He just said, "Make sure to fill up the tank when you bring the car back. We should have your new transmission by Monday or Tuesday. I'll call and let you know."

So, onto the brilliant marketing. I am now driving a new version of my car. And it rules. On top of it, the guy there took super great care of me and my car. When I get 1999 model car back next week, it's probably going to seem like such a disappointment compared to the car I have for the weekend. Is this going to tempt me into buying a new car? Sure. Is it going to leave me with a great impression of the dealership? Absolutely. Does this work on other people? You bet.

On a side note, I was toying with XM radio this morning. I spent 20 minutes looking for the new Howard Stern show (Just out of curiosity. I had to compare it to the old show). Then my morning coffee finally kicked in and I was reminded that there's a difference between XM and Sirius radio. So again, I'm retarded. After flipping through 200 channels, I realized I wasn't going to find it. So there you have it. Brilliant marketing by both the car company and by XM radio. Sometimes a little customer service goes a long way.

I'm a big fan of Albert Einstein. Yeah, he's dead, I know. I'm of fan of his life. And I found a neat collection of his quotes. Here are a few:
  • "He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
  • "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind."
  • "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
  • "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
  • "A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

No comments: