Little things

A few years ago, I bought a car. I had a great conversation with the sales guy and the whole experience was very pleasant. I got to test drive it and we discussed a couple of things which were wrong with it and they would fix them. At closing, I asked if they could put on license plate holders without any markings on it. It’s a personal thing, but I don’t want to drive around with free advertising for the dealer. After a couple of days, I picked up the car and the sales guy was happy to see me. We had a short pleasant chat and then he asked me to pick up the plate holders from the parts desk. I was a bit confused by that but did as asked. He had them set “aside” for me. I went over and they gave me my plate holders. They were exactly as I wanted them. And then they charged me $39 for them.

I picked up my car and never went back to them. My car is maintained somewhere else.

The moral of the story is that little things matter. Overall the $39 was peanuts compared to the sales price of the car. It wasn’t even worth debating over, but it did set a tone which made me choose another dealer to maintain my car. I’m typically a┬ávery loyal person to a business. If you treat me well, you’ve a customer for life. If you don’t, I couldn’t care less. I think this applies consciously or subconsciously to many transactions you do. The transaction doesn’t end when the signature is on the paper and the money has exchanged hands. It’s a continuous effort to get someone’s business and do the best you can.

The first transaction with a new company like in this story is the most critical. You’ve no creds as a business with this customer. If this would’ve happened to a dealer I’ve been doing business with for years, I would’ve said something. Now I let it go, I’ve nothing to lose. I’ve no relationship with you and I rather spent my effort on building one with someone else.