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Blog: Customers can be your biggest advocates

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Customers are advocates

PARMA, Ohio — After being on a week-long work trip in sunny California, I came home to Parma to a blizzard.

The weather was gloomy, and although I had to wipe six days of snow off my car, I was still happy to get out of the house to meet my cousin and her daughter for her annual birthday manicures/pedicures.

As we were sitting in the pedicure chairs, feet soaking and massage chair kneading, I was catching up with some of my favorite people, with work as far out of my brain as possible. But all of a sudden, the work switch clicked on.

A woman walked into the nail salon and spoke openly to everyone at the shop about how nice the guys were who work at the Discount Tire outlet next door (the Parma Heights, Ohio, Discount Tire location opened in November 2014). She kept talking about her experience and how the dealership’s workers offered to drive her over to the nail salon — even though it was not far away — since there was snow flying around outside and it was bitter cold.

Employees at the nail salon joined in the discussion, saying they’ve purchased their tires from the location and have heard other patrons say great things about the work done there.

I turned to my cousin, laughed and said, “See, I told you tires are important.”

Other ladies in the shop started asking about what services Discount Tire provides, etc.

I was so amazed that this was all unraveling before my eyes. I felt like I was in a tire shop commercial.

The other aspect I was impressed by was when the Discount Tire employee came into the nail salon to return the customer’s keys. They previously had arranged this, and she was able to sign off on the work from the comfort of her pedicure chair.

As soon as I got home, I started writing this blog. And in doing so, I thought that any business manager would love to hear about such a great endorsement of their business, so I called the Discount Tire store. I spoke with location manager Chris Sallie to set up an interview.

Discount Tire Parma Heights
The Parma Heights, Ohio, Discount Tire location opened in November 2014.

When I pulled into the parking lot and started to walk toward the building, an employee came out and met me in the snowy cold to ask what I needed help with that day.

After sitting down with Chris we had a great talk about how his store strives for such customer reactions as the one that occurred in the nail salon.

“The way I look at it is, a customer is a customer,” he said, about catering to different demographics.

He views the experience detailed above as what should be expected to happen. It should be the rule — not the exception.

To achieve this level of customer service, Chris said he tries to hire good people. No one at the location makes a commission; the goal is to have excellent customer service and help customers make decisions “by empowering them with information.”

Chris has been a part of the Discount Tire family for 17 years, moving to Ohio in 2013 to open a location in Macedonia, Ohio, then opening the Parma Heights store at year-end 2014.

Chris said at Discount Tire, striving for excellent customer service starts at the top and goes all the way down. He said Bruce Halle, founder and chairman of Discount Tire/America's Tire, expects all locations and employees to act with integrity all the time and to do what is right.

I am a big supporter of social media and reaching out to your customers online, but there is still something powerful — and always will be — in your everyday efforts to support your customers and show them that you care about their needs.

The moral of this story is that your customers truly can be your biggest advocates. You never know when one positive experience can travel like wildfire through a nail salon.

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TB Reader Poll

Previous | Published March 18, 2019

Where can you expect to see the most growth in 2019?

Tire sales
45% (34 votes)
General automotive service
15% (11 votes)
Brakes, shocks and other undercar services
7% (5 votes)
Add-on business
15% (11 votes)
Anywhere we can get it.
19% (14 votes)
Total votes: 75
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