My Mechanic’s Secret to the Customer Experience

My Mechanic’s Secret to the Customer Experience

This morning I had the pleasure of visiting my auto mechanic. I know, that’s a strange statement in itself – I mean, how much fun is it to take your car in for a repair? But Brucedale Garage in Hamilton is different. My family has been taking our cars there for years, and so have many other satisfied people.

“I truly appreciate your kindness while I was going through this rough patch in my life. It is a HUGE help to me”

This sounds like an excerpt from a card that you might send to a friend, a counsellor, or maybe someone at work who has helped you out. But I read it on one of the hundreds of cards that my auto mechanic receives every year. Posted on their bulletin board is a collection of thank you cards. They can’t post them all – in the past couple of days, they’ve received another couple of handfuls of cards. There is an influx of customers telling them how grateful they are for the service they provide.

“Thank you for all the great work on my vehicles over the years.”

“Your kindness is so appreciated.”

“Thank you for helping our daughter buy her first car.”

“It’s nice to see that the father’s values are ingrained in the sons too.”

These are some more of the excerpts I read from the cards on the wall. Now, it’s one thing to send a thank you for good work, but these expressions of gratitude go much further than that. This family owned garage is actually helping people through their life. As I sat there, after making the 40 minute drive to Hamilton to have winter tires installed, I thought about how special it is to actually enjoy dealing with your mechanic. How many people can say that?

What makes Brucedale Garage’s Customer Experience special?

Brucedale Garage is a family-owned business, built on honesty and integrity. Reno, the patriarch of the family, started the business in 1975, and his sons Mike and Carm are actively involved now, so that their dad can try to relax a little more (although it’s common to see him working away when you visit). Mike is at the front desk, and is always ready to greet you with a smile and a kind word.

Today, Mike asked me about my new business, which my sister had mentioned to him when she was there last. When I told him that I was working with companies to improve their customer experience through building culture and training, he asked me what I meant, saying:

“Customer service? Like, if you treat people well, they come back more and use you for more stuff?”

I couldn’t have put it better or more simply myself. Mike just gets it. He naturally treats people well, and doesn’t do it so that they’ll spend more, but because of the values he and his family run the business with. So many organizations try to script their service and add complicated steps to serving their customers. The real key is having people who genuinely care and share your customer-driven values.
When I got home, I looked at Brucedale Garage’s website. I found their “Our Pledge” page, which speaks to honesty and integrity, honouring their guarantees, and only recommending work that is in their customer’s best interest. I can say that I, along with hundreds of other customers, know that they live this pledge each and every day.

Customers know they can truly trust them.

At Brucedale Garage, in keeping with their pledge, they truly only recommend work they feel is in the best interest of their customers. I remember several years ago when Reno suggested winter tires to me and my family. I was shocked. In the past, he had said all season tires were fine and suggested that I don’t waste my money. But that winter, after suiting up a fleet of trucks every year for thousands of dollars, Reno decided to install winter tires on his own car to see what difference they really made. He was sold. He found driving much safer, and was adamant that they were all worth the investment. If it had been anyone else, I would have taken this with a grain of salt, but coming from Reno, I knew it was genuine. It took me a few years to take his advice, but that’s why I finally got them this year. I can’t wait for the first real snowfall!

They care for their customers as individuals.

Mike’s attention and memory for things you’ve told him makes you feel special. He is genuine and always ready with a kind word and usually a question about something you’ve told him before. He remembers not only your car, but details about your life, your job, your family, or in my case, my dog. It comes naturally. I don’t doubt that he treats every customer in the same special way.

They go above and beyond.

The cards say it all. Mike and his family are ready when you call for advice, they’ll take you at a moments notice if you have an urgent problem, and they are making a difference for their customers with more than mechanic service. From helping customers buy their first car, to providing a listening ear for customers going through a hard time, this family’s caring nature has made it a leading local auto mechanic shop for the past 35 + years.

Brucedale Garage’s simple secret to the customer experience is their genuine caring nature. Do you show your customers that you genuinely care? Or is that message getting lost in your need to sell more, advertise, or follow complicated policies?
It’s time to check under the hood and follow my mechanic’s advice. Treat customers well, and they’ll come back more and use your for more stuff.
By the way, they’ll also tell other people how great you are!
Thanks Mike and the team at Brucedale Garage for many years of trusted service and for inspiring this blog post (and for breaking weeks of writer’s block)!
Join me in creating a movement towards the Great Canadian Customer Experience! Please share your stories with me about companies that you love dealing with, in the comments here or send me an email using my Contact Me form!
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