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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Old School Customer Service

I work for Community Wholesale Tire of Kansas City.  We are located in Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas. 
I have worked for this great company for almost twenty years now and it has always been company policy that if a customer orders something we will deliver it.  I know that sounds simple and silly but I still have to argue with some of my younger drivers about the logic and reasoning behind this seemingly bazaar policy.
They argue that we are losing money by driving 30, 40, or 50 miles out of the way to deliver a single tube that maybe only costs a few dollars and that we only make maybe a few cents on delivering it.  Yes they are correct in the assumption that with the high price of gas, the cost of running a delivery truck, and paying that driver by the hour I am losing money delivering that tube.  Yet I will staunchly defend mine and the company's policy to deliver that tube if the customer ordered it.  I will deliver a valve stem that costs pennies to that customer if that's all he ordered that day.  Yes we will lose money, today!
As I have stated I have been working at Community Wholesale Tire for almost twenty years and most of our big customers were not so big twenty years ago.  Neither were we.  When I started here we had four delivery trucks at the Kansas City location.  Two route trucks, two city for city deliveries.  The city trucks, one went in a circle one way and covered half the city, the other went the other way and covered half the city.  Today I routinely send out eight to nine trucks to cover just the city, and another twelve trucks to cover our out of town routes.  We didn't get to where we are over night.  We didn't buy an established company with an established market and customers.  We built it, customer by customer, delivery by delivery, and yes sometimes with only delivering a valve stem or a tube when we went to a customer.
It says something about our character and our commitment to our customers and their success that Community Tire will deliver what they ordered when they order it.  That they can depend on us to be there for they need when they need it.  That we will be here day in and day out doing what we need to do to make them successful and grow, because in turn that's how we have grown over the last twenty years I have been here.  One customer at a time, one sale at a time.  We do it very well.
We have no minimum to buy, no agreements that you have to only buy from us, or buy a certain amount from us.  We don't charge a fuel surcharge or a restocking fee if you send something back.  We do ask that if return something to us that it is in new condition as it was when we delivered it to you.  We do ask if you return something to us that you actually bought it from us at some point in the past.  Beyond that, we are very easy to do business with.
I just thought in this world where most companies are too focused on the bottom line instead of customer service, and marketing is web sites, tweets, posts to blogs, status updates, or commercials.  That customer service is still important and still job one in some places.  Go back far enough and it is a lot of little guys who made America what she was.  If we focus too much on the just the big dogs, you may be fighting to be here when the little dogs get bigger.  I also want to point out that Rome was around for hundreds of years and even Rome fell eventually.  Don't ever forget where you came from or what it took to get you where you are.

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