Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How To Irritate Your Customer Base

How To Irritate Your Customer Base


Eric M. Twiggs

'Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Warren Buffet

"Paying extra to fly first class is a waste of money!" This is what I said back in 2008 as I boarded my flight headed to St Louis.   My seat was in row 4 and the first class section was in rows 1-3.  We were all going to the same destination, and the state of the economy was at an all-time low point.  

Why would someone spend more money just to sit in the front of the plane?   Suddenly, the flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder letting me know that I had been upgraded to first class.  I was about to find out!

I noticed the seats were larger and had more leg room.  We received a hot entrĂ©e menu that included salmon, baked chicken or lasagna as options.  I looked back and observed the economy passengers being served a bag of peanuts and a cold sandwich.

 After the flight attendant announced the additional movie charges over the intercom, she told me about the free movies I had access to on my own screen.

 And then it hit me!  Those who fly first class are willing to pay extra, because they know they are getting an upgrade in their experience.

What if you flew in the economy section, but after your flight, the airline charged you an extra $500 for a first class ticket?  Spending the additional money would bother you, but you'd be more upset about paying a first class price for an economy experience!

Raising your prices without upgrading the service levels, will irritate your customer base.      Keep reading and you will learn two ideas to upgrade your shop to first class status.

Ask Your Employees 

 At your next team meeting, ask your employees what makes the experience at your shop exceptional.  You may hear the following response: " We fix the cars right the first time." If so, they are confusing the exceptional with the expected!

According to a recent service management group survey, the customer who leaves your shop feeling “wowed” is twice as likely to come back, and three times as likely to refer you as one who only had their basic expectations met.

Customers are not impressed by a level of service they expect to receive.  Asking the question of your people, gives you the chance to educate them on what it means to be exceptional, and to brainstorm on future ideas for improvement. 

Ask Your Neighbors

 Ask someone you know, to visit ten businesses in your area posing as a customer.  At each business, have your representative ask the counter person, the following question: "Where can I go to get my brakes checked?" 

The results will give you insight as to how your community perceives the experience at your location. If everyone mentions you, it's a good sign because people remember exceptional experiences. 

 If an establishment mentions your competitor, have your representative ask about your shop and gauge the reaction. 


If price was the real issue, the first three rows on every flight would be empty!   If you implement my two ideas, you will start creating first class experiences, and stop irritating your customer base.


Eric M. Twiggs

PS.   If you would like to receive a checklist of 7 additional strategies to create a first class experience,   Email me at