In business it is much easier to gain a new customer than it is to regain a customer you have lost. A lot of hard work goes into getting a customer to begin with which is why it is important to do the right things to keep them patronizing your business. This story was inspired while talking to an Owner – Operator who had a bad experience with a particular tire brand many years ago. Here’s how the story goes:
A owner-operator goes to the tire store to purchase a certain tire for their truck, the tire dealer did not have the brand in stock which he had requested. The dealer made him an offer to take a more expensive premium tire for the same price which the owner-operator excepted. He drove away with a smile on his face due to the graciousness of the dealer, selling him a premium tire without the premium price. Keep in mind this story happened more than twenty years ago.
The premium tires purchased had twenty-eight 32nds of tread which at the time was a relatively new concept. The deeper tread would enable the tire to last longer. The downside of these early deep tread tires was an incredible amount of tread squirm. I had experienced this myself on these early tires and literally stopped the truck due to the fact it felt like something was broke in the suspension causing the truck to swing back and forth in the lane. Having experienced the same problem, I know how real and disconcerting this feeling while driving was for this other owner-operator on his premium tires.
At this point, my owner-operator friend called the dealership to complain about these ill handling tires. The dealerships told him to run them a little bit longer, the handling characteristics will improve as the tread wears in. At this point, my owner-operator friend used these tires for a few more weeks and still was not any happier with how they handled. The dealership had given my owner-operator friend the proper advice as they would quit squirming as the tread wore down some. I know this story to be true as two things happened in my own experience; the first being, it would only squirm so far and stop, secondly, the squirming totally disappeared when the tread wore down.
This did not matter to my owner-operator friend at the time which caused him to ask the dealer to put on the tires he had originally asked for. The dealer agreed to swap out the tires because he had been a long-time customer and did not want to lose him.
Fast forward this story to today twenty-some years later and you will find my owner-operator friend will still not purchase that particular brand of tires which did not perform to his expectations.
I shared with him my story on those same type of tires and informed him that the squirming problem that he experienced is no longer exists. The response I got back was “I am quite happy with the tires I use now, and I will never try that particular brand of tire again”.
The moral of this story is one bad experience can cause you to lose a customer forever. In this case, the tire dealer kept a customer by swapping out the tires and putting on what he originally requested yet at the same time the tire manufacture lost this customer for life.