Of Tires and Ties and Taking Off the Blinders

While visiting my family this past week, I got called out about my treads and sent the car to have two tires replaced. (Your intrepid Experience Designer is far too busy helping folks to Go Where their VisionPoints to notice worn treads on any usual day. Yes, I acknowledge this may be a problem. In my defense, I had them replaced last year, which I thought was recently enough.) The next morning the car was ready, and the shop had replaced two tires, and a thingy called a tie rod.

Apparently you need your tie rod very much. Mine was in danger of breaking off at any moment. A broken tie rod causes your car to stop where it is and move not one more inch. For a person who does as much long-distance driving as I do, this could be mighty inconvenient, to say nothing of dangerous.

What’s unusual about needing this fix? I was involved in an accident a couple of weeks ago, and I had the car checked out “thoroughly” at a body shop for damages, and to be sure it was safe to drive. The mechanic who replaced the tie rod assures me the problem would have been obvious then. I’ve had my brakes replaced quite recently, and the mechanic assures me it would have been obvious then, too. It seems it takes some time for your tie rod to go bad.

You know I’d like you to overpromise. In a world of luke-cold underpromising, it’s one of the surest ways to delight your customers—as long as it’s followed with “and overdeliver.” It’s my personal favorite way to turn a client into a raving fan.

Is that what this mechanic did? No. He promised tires, not tires and a free check around for other issues. If he does this regularly, he should start shouting it out loud, but he did not shout about it.

What he did was to do more. To do the right thing. To care more about sending out a product—my repaired minivan—that he could be proud of, than he did about being expedient.

I thank him. My daughter thanks him. We’re safer because he cared. My business thanks him. I’ll get where I’m going because he did more than I asked for. My family thanks him. I’ll be back up to visit shortly, with no mishaps, because he thought about the human beings who rely on his good work; because he didn’t have work-order blinders on when he was under my car.

Do more than what you promised. Do the right thing, not the quick and easy thing. DO CARE.

Put that on your checklist next week. Easy to check off, every day, in every industry. Do more. That’s how you turn customers into Propheteers.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson