Do you remember Robert Zemeckis’s movie trilogy “Back to the Future” starring Michael J. Fox? The year was 1985. With the help of Dr. Emmett Brown, played perfectly by Christopher Lloyd, Marty McFly is transported back to 1955. My two favorite scenes are:
Lou: “You gonna order something, kid?”
Marty McFly: “Ah, yeah. Give me- Give me a Tab.”
Lou: “Tab? I can’t give you a tab unless you order something.”
Marty McFly: “Right. Give me a Pepsi Free.”
Lou: “You want a Pepsi, pal, you’re gonna pay for it.”
When the car pulls up to the gas station and five young men run out to service the car. McFly stares at this odd scene with his mouth open. It’s clear he is some-WHEN else! A time warp. He has been transported back to a different time. It’s a paradigm shift for Baby Boomers old enough to remember that. It makes you smile and sad at once.
Where have those days of great service gone? Wait, there is hope.
I was having lunch with Chris Shepanek, CEO of Oil Can Henry’s. As we finished our pasta, he made me an offer: “We would like you to experi-ence Oil Can Henry’s extraordinary service. Let us buy you an oil change.” How could I say no? It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
As I pulled into the Issaquah, WA, location, a young man wearing a big smile, a bow tie, white shirt, circa 1930’s cap and coat ran out to my car with a Seattle Times newspaper for me. He introduced himself by name and told me he would be taking care of me today. What a great first im-pression. He proceeded to wow me with the kind of personalized service you just don’t see much of these days. I was “Back to the Future!” Here is what happened:
- The first thing I noticed was the facility was spotless, clean and orga-nized. It looked like a big house on the hill, with high peaked roofs and a beautiful wood design (as opposed to a glass and steel strip mall). There were three bays and before I left, a long line in each bay. This place was popular. I would soon learn why.
- They checked my turn indicators, my lights, my high beams (brights), my brake lights. We were just getting started.
- They checked ALL the oils and fluids in my truck and put a sample of each oil on a laminated card, warmly explaining what each one should look like (oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid) and made assessments which were honest and clear. I was impressed with their attitude.
- They checked my radiator fluid and showed me a sample including the condition of the cap (which they replaced).
- The men working on my car called back and forth to each other in a kind of “Call and Response” manner that let me know exactly what they were doing at each step of the process, like a beehive, swirling with positive and focused activity.
- I watched a four-screen split TV monitor of what was happening in real time on all sides and underneath me. They were leveraging technology.
- I never once felt pushed or manipulated as they used forms and simple sales systems to educate me as to what they were doing and why, always offering a choice of yeses throughout. It was a thing of beauty to behold for someone who teaches sales training.
- When we were done, they gave me the receipt with a clear explanation and an invitation to come back with a coupon for $10 off the next visit. I felt so important. I had been wowed!
With the exception of Nordstrom, I cannot recall a better and more impressive display of service and quality at the retail level. They absolutely spoiled me and it was great. I found myself comparing that level of service to others in the same field. Their competition are miles apart, a very distant second; “also-rans.” Who do you go to for service? What do they re-ally offer? Why do you go back? Are you offering extra-mile service and value? OCH does.
“We might forget what they say or do, but we will always remember how they make us feel.” I felt like someone special. As I looked at the long line behind, I smiled and understand. These guys “get it!” Service like no other. One WOW after another. Why would I go anywhere else? This was worth driving to. It was a destination. I only wish I had videotaped it. If you want to go “Back to the Future” – or take your customer back to the future – treat yourself to an Oil Can Henry experience.