I was ready to try a new auto shop. A few years ago, a TV assignment took me to a AAA Auto Repair shop. I’m not referring to a shop “approved” by AAA. I’m talking about a series of auto shops owned by AAA.
This concept intrigued me. If one of AAA’s responsibilities is to help steer us toward honest mechanics, I assume honesty would be in its highest gear at a shop owned directly by AAA.
I hadn’t taken my car to one of these shops. None of the locations was conveniently close until a new one recently opened.
After an oil change at the new shop, a AAA Arizona service advisor named Dave recommended I consider soon replacing the car’s timing belt. I had a choice: Do I play macho man and pretend to understand the mechanics of a timing belt? Or do I play reporter, acknowledge to myself that the concept of understanding cars skipped a generation and ask lots of questions? I decided to play reporter.
Due to a timing belt’s location, Dave couldn’t show me my car’s timing belt. However he took me across the lobby and showed me a model of an engine’s timing belt. I don’t recall, without requesting, someone before at an auto shop pulling me off to the side to show me a visual. Then he led me outside to another vehicle where someone had already removed parts allowing me to see a timing belt and how it works.
How many times have mechanics used their hands and words to try to describe car parts we would better understand by conducting a Wikipedia search? Dave went out of his way to help me understand a timing belt.
The cynical side of you may wonder why I’m going out of my way to praise an auto shop. AAA is not one of our clients. But cars are a big part of our lives especially when they are not working properly. I’ve conducted much research over the years trying to determine honest and qualified alternatives to dealerships. And when someone like Dave and AAA make a first good impression, I like to share this information.
Plus, any business, from a public relations point of view, can learn how small steps such as Dave’s can help you on the road to further success. A little extra effort can help secure a customer a longer time.