Friday, January 6, 2017

The Fine Art of Losing A Loyal Customer - Big O Tires

I have been a loyal customer of Big O Tires - the local operation on North Nellis Blvd. in Las Vegas - for more than 20 years.  The reasons are simple.  They are close, they provide good service at good prices, and most of all, they respect me as a customer and as an individual.  As I get older, that respect has become more important to me - life is too short to be treated rudely by people who are nonetheless eager to take my money.  But that had not been a problem ... until late last month.

I was getting ready for a 3,000-mile trip to see the kids and grandkids over the holiday, and I needed an oil and filter change and new tires - so I headed to Big O.  It was about 5:40 p.m., and the store had always been open until 7, so I saw no problem.  When I got there I saw they now closed at 6, so I figured I'd get the oil changed then, and I'd get the tires the next day. 

However, I was turned away.  They said they couldn't change the oil before six, when they closed.  There was no sense of recognition that they were creating a problem for me, nor were they apparently aware that, in addition to turning me away, they were being rude.  This was an entirely new attitude - they'd always been accommodating, until the time when I really needed them.

As problems go, this was a small one. Jiffy Lube was more than happy to take my money for an oil change, a new filter, a fuel system cleaning and new wiper blades - all for about the same, or maybe a bit less, than Big O would have charged.  And I had no problem finding a tire store - at 6:30 on a Friday night - who'd sell me four new tires, two new wheels (I'd had one stolen while I was in the hospital - talk about adding insult to injury) because I wanted a full-sized spare for the trip. 

Big O lost all of that business - in the grand scheme of things, this is not a problem for Big O (they can live without $750 or so) - but they've also lost my future custom - so no more tires, no more oil changes, no more servicing every 3,000 miles, no more me.  That won't shut them down, either.

HOWEVER ... if you want good service and a modicum of respect, you can no longer count on Big O Tires to give you what you're looking for. There are many competitors - so, like me, go looking for someone else to provide your nuts-and-bolts, bread-and-butter car service.

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