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Where Did The Service Go?

Remember when every neighborhood had a "Service
Station"?  Each station was operated by a major oil
company, Texaco, Mobil, Gulf etc. 

You would pull into the station, an attendant would come
out, fill your car with gas, wash your windshield, check
the oil  and water, and even check the air pressure in the
tires for you.  You never had to get out of the car.  This was
when gas averged .21 cents per gallon.

Most of the larger major brand stations had two bays
attached to the "office".  One bay was where they changed
oil, did minor tune-ups etc.  The other bay was where they
would wash and wax your car, by hand!

If you had a flat you went to the neighborhood "Service
Station" where the attendant would fix the flat for you.

Today if you need gas you go to the local "Convience" store,
get out, pump your own gas, look around for water and a
squeege to clean your windshield, hope the oil is ok and
look at the tires to see if they are low, and if one needs air
you have to pay extra for that.  Then you go inside the store
and wait in line with the other shoppers to pay for your gas.

Or, you can go to the local  "Gas Station", get out, pump your
own gas etc, then go to a "Kiosk"  situated in the center of the
pumps and pay an "attendant" who is sitting behind a window
covered with bars.  No service whatsoever.

If you need your oil changed you drive around town and look
for a "Kwik Lube", which you never find in your neighborhood.

If you need your car washed you go to the "Car Wash", which
is self service.  You pay for the car wash and then do it
yourself. Call this service?

If you get a flat you have to look for a "Tire Store" to get it fixed.

Today it takes five different businesses to take care of the
business a "Service Station" did at one time.

Why do I bring this up at a time when more and more business
is being conducted on the internet with no personal contact?
I believe that the majority of the people still appreciate good
service when they get it.  Also, the more associated
items/services they can get at one place, the more willing they will be
to do business with you.  Wal-Mart has shown this to be true.

Take an inventory of your business.  Are there any other
items/services you could add that would compliment what you now have?  Are there
any ways that you could improve the service for your customers?  How
about a newsletter to let your customers know what you are doing to
keep your service updated or to announce special offers? 

The more information you can get about your customer the better.  Did
you get his birth date?  Send him a birthday card.  Any type of personal
recognition is appreciated.  Another idea, about a week after their
business transaction send them a thank you note and tell them that
you appreciate their business.  Get personal, your customers will
remember you for it.

John Watson

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