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Best practices

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I had an experience recently that I want to share. I drove to visit my dad last weekend and acquired a slow leak in one of my tires. I took it to the closest tire dealer, Les Schwab, the mechanic found a nail, and fixed the tire. For FREE. I said, for free, really? Yes, the clerk said, we just hope you buy your next tires from us.

What if the snowsports center had a similar FREE service for their mountain's skiers?

Do you folks any similar stories of where a service business scored big points with you?
post #2 of 21
Yep (nail in tyre), mechanic didn't want to charge me, but I slipped him $20.00 as a thankyou anyway.
post #3 of 21
Had to get a new tube and tire for my wheelbarrow. Got a tubless tire so I needed a valve stem for the wheel. Went to Pep Boys auto supply last Sunday late afternoon. I asked in the service dept for a valve stem and the guy gave it to me and said no charge. The asking price was $2. Don't usually use that store but I might on occasion.
post #4 of 21
At the law firm where I work, we do an annual seminar for all of our clients.
The seminar is top notch. Many of the attorneys do presentations on issues that are important for our clients. We have a great lunch and a cocktail party afterward. Each participant gets a seminar notebook with desk aids, tip sheets and thorough outlines of the presented topics. There is no charge for any of this. This has been an annual event for about 10 years.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
I had an experience recently that I want to share. I drove to visit my dad last weekend and acquired a slow leak in one of my tires. I took it to the closest tire dealer, Les Schwab, the mechanic found a nail, and fixed the tire. For FREE. I said, for free, really? Yes, the clerk said, we just hope you buy your next tires from us.

What if the snowsports center had a similar FREE service for their mountain's skiers?

Do you folks any similar stories of where a service business scored big points with you?
Les Schwab is a market exemplar. In Missoula, they have forced Expert Tire (the main competitor) to offer similar perks for free. Expert Tire does free rotations and spin-balances every 7500 miles, and will discount your new tires if the old ones don't measure up to the sales pitch that backed them originally. I've received such great treatment at Expert Tire most likely because of Les Schwab's business practices.

Schwab runs his business the way I believe EVERY business should be run:

- never take the customer for granted
- treat them with respect and consideration for their $$ they're about to spend at your store
- make things right when something goes wrong

I learned such business practices from a master of business, an "old world" Polish man named Adam Kahane, who founded Ski Center in Washington DC. As I understand things back in DC, Ski Center remains that type of business some 40 years after Adam first founded it.
post #6 of 21
Subaru sponsored a program a few years ago that included free tips from ski instructors. On the hour, a group went out with a full cert who would give them a mini-lesson called "tip of the day". An additional corral was set up on the hill where two other full certs gave tips to skiers who made laps. Although it was tied to a sponsor, it kept us busy with customers we normally would not see at the ski school desk. It also included skiing with a past olympic skier (Diana Roffe). Multiple layers and free to the skiing public.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31
At the law firm where I work, we do an annual seminar for all of our clients.
The seminar is top notch. Many of the attorneys do presentations on issues that are important for our clients. We have a great lunch and a cocktail party afterward. Each participant gets a seminar notebook with desk aids, tip sheets and thorough outlines of the presented topics. There is no charge for any of this. This has been an annual event for about 10 years.
good idea.

when I was at ALPS, we had a local insurance specialist come to talk to the "customer service" people about best practices in the insurance industry, and what kinds of things get companies in trouble despite the employee's innocent belief that he/she wasn't doing anything wrong. the attorney never billed us for this service and was eager to offer it because, in his view, it both made ALPS a better company (which is better for many in the long run) and helped everyone become aware of his firm's desire to improve things rather than just get rich.

John Bohyer is the lawyer's name, Phillips & Bohyer is the firm. I nearly went to work for them when I left ALPS, but since I decided to quit lawyering, well....
post #8 of 21
I've had relationships with Ski Shops that have comp'ed little things or hurried (ignored a few day turn around to get my suff done in an hour), but that's shops that I've known and done business for years, as well as shops that know I teach (the whole, comp now receive referals later philosophy).

At my Ski School, we've done similar programs on busier days, when we get a ton of 1st timers out and waiting for lessons, we'll provide a few instructors to give them some basics while they wait. Comp'ing them lessons on what their different peices of equiptment are, how to put them on/take them off, walk around, begin sliding, how to stop, how to get up from a fall, and how to side-step/herringbone up the hill, etc. By doing this, not only are we helping them and keeping them busy, but we are also able to break some students into higher levels right off the bat (keeping students to instructor ratio's lower).

But aside from skiing, I've typically only run into comps when spending a decent amount of money. However, there have also been times, particularly with mechanics, when a secondary problem was found and fixed and I was only charged for the initial problem.

Overall, I think many people who works in "services" tend to see customer happiness as greater potential for earning, "if they're happy, they'll come back, if they're really happy, they'll bring their friends".
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Subaru sponsored a program a few years ago that included free tips from ski instructors. On the hour, a group went out with a full cert who would give them a mini-lesson called "tip of the day". An additional corral was set up on the hill where two other full certs gave tips to skiers who made laps. Although it was tied to a sponsor, it kept us busy with customers we normally would not see at the ski school desk. It also included skiing with a past olympic skier (Diana Roffe). Multiple layers and free to the skiing public.
They still have this program and it actually now involves Nordica.
post #10 of 21
Everybody offering advice, often very competent, in a free internet forum, is giving a similar free service.
Some of you are in the ski business and the Epicski image might bring you new customers. Others are just enthusiasts who will never have any profit - just the feeling they helped a brother/sister on skis somewhere.

The forum as such is a big free service.
post #11 of 21
I've often thought that one run clinics would be great. Give the customers a "Wooden Nickel" with their ticket on certain days. They take the wooden nickel to a corral and pick up a ski instructor according to their ability. The instructor takes them out on a lift ride and one run back to the corral. In that time a good instructor should be able to do a quick MA and give the client one thing to work on. You could limit the number of clients to 2 or 3 max.

The idea is to give the client a chance to see what a difference a ski pro can make in one run. Then entice them into a full lesson at some time in the future.

Any place ever done this?
post #12 of 21
T-square, Yes. See posts 6&9. Hey Rusty is this still going on at Loveland?
post #13 of 21
Bears that hail from CT or are familiar with the local bike scene may have heard of Zane's Bicycles in Branford. After buying my last bike there I became intrigued as I listened to another customer telling the salesman how his Ivy League business professor used Zane's as a case study in one of his classes. After searching the good ol' internet, sure enough I found numerous hits attesting to this shop's service. It's a great story, although I'll give you the short version only!

This guy Zane bought his first bike shop at the age of 16 (!!), and after a period of time became one of the top 10 grossing bike shops in the entire U.S. He did it by offering a lifetime warranty on everything he sells, very similar to L.L. Bean. Furthermore, he refuses to charge for any product or service under a certain price, I believe it's $3-5 dollars. He also offers free tuneups for the life of the bike. His catalogue which is mailed to customers features 10 or so riding "pointers" which, although written generically by a sports marketing firm, make the catalogue appear as though it comes from a much bigger store than he really is. Finally, he began doing charitable work within the community as soon as it was financially possible (donating bikes to underprivileged youth, college scholarships, etc.)

From a dollars & cents standpoint, as well as a marketing standpoint, it's sheer brilliance. Personally, his story was one reason I spent my money locally instead of buying a bike online.
post #14 of 21
Any time I get a freebie service from someone like your experience, Nolo, I pick up a dozen cookies from a local bakery and take them to the shop.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
I don't know about taking them cookies or giving the mechanic a $20--this is a big (albeit regional) tire chain, which would be a little like the lady who takes her apple crisp to thank the AOL guys for blocking her spam. Corporate made the decision to fix tires for free, not the line guys, who are getting paid just the same. What I should do is write an attaboy/girl to the corporate guys/gals.

If this was a ski school situation, on the other hand, I would want a tip.

(Gotcha! Tips are for servers, not pros. Pros should make their money the old fashioned way--via their paycheck. But that's another thread entirely.)
post #16 of 21
Nolo, don't Pros give tips to clients?
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Do you folks any similar stories of where a service business scored big points with you?
Anyone have stories about how you scored big points for the area you work at?
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
T-square, Yes. See posts 6&9. Hey Rusty is this still going on at Loveland?
I know it was done last season at Loveland and Eldora. I assume Subaru and Nordica ran the program elsewhere as well. They combined lessons with a "demo day".

I do know that Sue was very pleased with the resulting Nordica sales at Loveland.
post #19 of 21
Doesn't Sierra-at-Tahoe still give free lessons to advanced and expert skiers? Almost two hours long, too.

Thatsagirl
post #20 of 21
How quickly we forget......

Some very fine folks gave a FREE weekend (yep 2 days) clinic (with discounted group lift tickets) at Loveland the last weekend in April last season.
post #21 of 21
Uncle Louie, are you trying to start something?

Thatsagirl
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