A short while ago warning lights sprang up on my car’s dash, just an hour into a ten-hour journey. The engine was still running fine, as far as I could tell, but I didn’t fancy ignoring the warning as that situation could easily change. So I called the manufacturer’s support line and was put through to the AA (the UK’s Automobile Association, that is)!
During the next 15 hours I met four AA representatives and received five phone calls keeping me up to date with what was happening. At the end of those 15 hours my wife and I, complete with our car, were home safely. The first representative arrived within half an hour and spent a further half hour seeing if the problem could be fixed at the roadside (well, at a motorway service station); it couldn’t be fully resolved so he triggered the AA Relay service.
We travelled the next 500 miles with my wife and I in a nice warm cab and our car securely strapped to the flatbed behind us – well, it was a relay of three different trucks and drivers, coordinated behind the scenes. Throughout our journey, all the drivers spoke well of their employer (the AA) and ensured we were comfortable. Their focus was on meeting our needs; all three apologised for the fact we had to transfer vehicles but, as they explained, UK regulations severely limited how long each could drive without a break. We were kept up to date with what was happening and what the next step would be.
This isn’t meant to be a testimonial to the AA (though it certainly is) – I’m writing to say how focusing on what the customer needs, rather than what the business can do, even with the limitations imposed on it (be it legal, resource, etc) will delight the customer – and delighted customers will tell others…