The long and short of it all

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For the past few weeks I’ve been driving around with the “low tire” alert flashing red on my dashboard. I’d stop and fill the tires with air, reset the alert, and the flashing red light would go away. And then it would come back a few days later.

The other day I finally realized the problem… the back tire had a screw securely in the tire, causing a slow but steady leak. At the time I noticed the screw I was close to my car dealership, so decided to stop and ask their opinion. I was immediately told that the screw was in a location that couldn’t be repaired. The only option was to replace both back tires. They then printed me out a very nice looking estimate that totaled $715.00.

I gasped and said thanks; I’ll be in touch. I quickly decided that I needed a second opinion. So my next stop was the local Costco.

Well, my tires are “run-flat” so Costco couldn’t fix the problem. On the way home I stumbled upon a tire store called America’s Tire. I decided to stop. And then oh-my-God a life-changing event began to unfold!

The moment I walked into America’s Tire, I knew things were going to be different. Within 10 seconds someone looked me right in the eye and said one of us will be right with you. And by the way, there were 15 folks in the waiting area at the time.

Sure enough they were on it. The customer care guy came out to my car, looked and said “Sure, we can fix that in about an hour. And I’d say that you’ll need new back tires in another 1,000 miles.”

Wait. What? You can repair the tire? And I don’t really need new ones just yet?

Needless to say I said yes to them fixing the tire.

And then the game really changed when they handed me the invoice and it said in bold letters: “FREE REPAIR – $0.00.”

I said, probably louder than I should have, “This was free?” And I was told, “Yes. Repairs are always free.” And it turned out that half the people in the waiting area were also experiencing a free repair.

Now whom am I going to go to for my next set of tires? Such an easy answer, right?

The lesson here about customer care is pretty obvious. What are you doing in your own business to attract long-term customers?

My tire was fixed for free, and yet I would have gladly paid them to fix it. But they had the long-term game in mind, not the short-term gain. What a great way to enroll folks into becoming long-term customers, right?

That free tire repair now has me choose to give my “tire dollars” to America’s Tire for the rest of my life – which will no doubt be many tires in my lifetime. And just think of the number of people I have already told this story to since they fixed my tire! It’s brilliant marketing and P.R. on their part for sure.

As you play your Bigger Games in life, this is such a great reminder. Are you focused on the short-term gain? Or the long-term game? What can you create in the short-term that will help sustain your long-term goals?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.


1 Comment

  • Alton Reynolds Reply

    Rick, I have had the pleasure of meeting you. Further, this is my 47th year in healthcare. The point of this email is to tell you that I always tell my clients that “Life is all made up” and I give you credit for the wisdom.

    Kind regards … Alton

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