My iPhone Rings . . .
“I’ve got some bad news for you, sir. This is serious. A tension rod is what fell apart yesterday, and your timing belt needs replaced immediately. If you would have continued down the road, there’s a good chance you would have lost the timing belt which would mean around $4,000 or so of immediate damage to your vehicle.”
Not the kind of news you want to hear when trying to get back home.
“So how long of a job is this? Can we leave by end of today?” I was looking for a bit of sunshine in his report.
“That’s the other part of the bad news, sir. We only have lube techs in the shop on Saturdays, and we close early today… at 12:30pm.”
“Okay,” I said. “I guess we could stay here at the hotel until Monday and then be on our way when you’re finished up that morning or afternoon, maybe?”
“Actually, sir, it gets worse. We usually book up our service department two days in advance, and we are completely slammed Monday & Tuesday.”
I’m guessing he heard me gulp at that moment, because then he said…
“Let me call you back. I want to talk to someone & see what I can do for you to get you back home.”
How did we get here?
We had just done a whirlwind trip through Oklahoma in order to celebrate the birthday of my father-in-law, experience the live stage production of The Lion King, and let some extended family members meet the latest addition to our family who turned 6 months old on Friday.
Speaking of Friday… It was 104° that day and I had the idea of going through the panhandle of Oklahoma on the way back home to Fort Collins, Colorado. We were looking up at the red mesas to the left & right of us when there was a sudden loss of power. We were able to make our way back to the nearest town which was Enid, Oklahoma, but it was after hours by then, and the Honda dealership had already closed. We stayed the night in town and while the kiddos swam at the hotel pool, I went in early the next morning to see how quickly we could get back on our way.
When I met Karson, the young man who was running their service department, I noticed the last name printed on the window to his office was the same as the dealership name… Curttright Honda. I wondered if perhaps his family-connection to the dealership might mean something for my family and I, and perhaps we might be able to get out of here by Monday or Tuesday after all.
My iPhone Rings Again…
“Sir, I was able to get one of my service techs to come in a bit ago, and we’ve already started working on your vehicle for you. I can’t promise you this, but we’re hoping we can get a good start for you this morning and get you back on your way Monday.”
I was delighted to hear this latest report, and I thanked Karson for stretching the rules beyond their normal weekend policy by asking someone else to come in for us on his day off. No longer in shock from the initial news, and now starting to get a glimmer of hope that someone was looking out for us, I realized I was being treated like a longtime customer or friend of the family. How nice it was to not be seen as an “out of towner” that they may never see again.
We held out a while longer at the hotel and then decided to go get lunch. On the way to the restaurant, I dropped by Curttright Honda in order to grab a few things we needed from the back of our Odyssey. Karson must have seen me coming, and he was walking my way with a smile on his face, and his hand extended. As we shook hands he gave me the latest update:
“Mr. Cox, I don’t want to get your hopes up too much, but we are working hard to get you back on the road ASAP.”
“So, you’re thinking maybe early Monday, then?” I asked.
“Actually, Mr. Cox, I’m thinking we could get you going again today. Again, I’m not promising that, but that is definitely my goal for you. Why don’t you go enjoy your lunch and check back with us just before we close at 12:30 and I’ll let you know where we’re at.”
I was impressed. I was elated. I was a new fan of Curttright Honda.
We weren’t there yet, but I also know one thing about someone in his position… It’s never a good idea to give a client that kind of hope unless you have very good reason to believe you can really pull it off. (I’ve made that mistake myself, and it can turn an “amazing brand-experience” into a “bummer brand-experience” very quickly. Not fun for anyone.)
On our way . . .
It’s hard to describe the surprise & delight I felt when pulling back into the parking lot at Currtright Honda and seeing our white van sitting there completely shined up (thank you for that extra touch, Karson!) and ready to drive. It was Saturday at 12:16pm, and they had time to spare.
Karson came out to meet us, beaming with pride in his great service team that pulled off this “miracle”, and we talked while heading into his office to wrap things up. We said our goodbyes, got the family loaded into our Honda, and we were back on the road again (Willie Nelson’s song comes to mind, of course.)
To Infinity… (um, Honda, actually) … And Beyond !
So, here are just a handful of takeaways from this experience I had at Curttright Honda (this list may grow as I continue to reflect over the coming days):
» First… I am always amazed at what a HUGE difference it makes when you find yourself being treated as a “friend” and not just a “number.” (Karson gets an A++ at that from beginning to end, by the way.)
» Second… It is so out of the ordinary when someone breaks “policy” in order to “love” one of their customers. The fact that they don’t normally do this kind of work on a Saturday, and then Karson “bent the rules” and found someone who would come in on his day off just to serve my family and I felt amazing. Not too many companies are doing this sort of thing for people anymore, and when someone does, it makes an enormous impact on the total experience with that brand.
» Third… Karson and Curttright Honda technically had nothing to gain from going over & beyond the call of duty in how they treated us. We weren’t local and they knew that from the beginning. They also knew we didn’t know anyone or have any family in Enid, Oklahoma. A lot of people may have taken that as an excuse to “slack off” in their service, but not Curttright.
» Fourth… I never felt like there were any “ulterior motives” in any of the extras Karson & his team provided to us. In the end, it was so apparent to me that they were simply using their business as an opportunity to put “love thy neighbor” into practice. And, we sure did “feel the love”. The entire episode could have lasted for several days, but in less than 24 hours from the time our Honda Odyssey was giving us issues, we were back on the road again.
I was very impressed with how Curttright Honda saved the day for my family and me. What a huge relief it was to get back on the road Saturday afternoon, even after it looked like it would take several days to make that happen. And, every interaction I had with Karson has challenged me to look for opportunities to take care of my own clients and friends with that same level of care.
Thanks, Karson, and Curttright Honda for taking such great care of us! 🙂
Don’t forget to “like” Curttright Honda on Facebook…