The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Desperate times demand the very best

On November 13th, 2017, posted in: Service, Uncategorized by

Toy Volkswagen Van in the Setting SunThe battery was dead.  At least that was the first thought.  The car just clicked at us.  There are only so many things that can go wrong when the parked car clicks:  battery, alternator, or starter.  We guessed the former, but quite frankly, we were operating under an extremely limited base of knowledge.  I can barely get the gas cap off. Diagnosing a car that wouldn’t start was a real reach for me. 

This isn’t about the battery.  It’s about the value that comes from having the AAA card.  I’m telling you, it might be the most valuable tool one has in the way of fixing a tire, starting a car or getting a tow.  There are many who are well-heeled in their ability to fix things and can’t wait to get some grease under their fingernails, but for those of us who don’t dare attempt to go horizontal to fix something underneath a car, calling AAA is Nirvana.  Keep your socket wrench, I’d rather have the piece of plastic showing that I’ve been a member since the turn of the millennium.

In the business of providing a service to the general public, there are three main components that are never far from the forefront on one’s thought…

  • Are you providing a valuable service, i.e. are you unique, significant and relevant?
  • Does your product design make sense?
  • Lastly, and equally important, is the service experience memorable?

Yes, yes, yes is the perfect score given to AAA.

Here’s my take.  The AAA card gets an A+ on all fronts.  I’m not sure what it costs me per year, but I’d pay twice as much to have the peace of mind of knowing that I can dial 1-800 Uh-Oh, and a guy who is adept at finding his way around the engine of a car, or who can change a tire blindfolded is on his way.  One year (no lie), we gave all of our children AAA cards for Christmas.  Next to the gift of everlasting life, Triple A ranks #2 in my family.

His name was Jeff.  He showed up with a portable battery charger, some sort of diagnostic machine, a plethora of knowledge, the certain smell of a guy who worked on cars for a living, and he couldn’t have been nicer.  It was the battery sure enough.  He started the car, and determined through his handy-dandy little machine (that’s my unofficial name for it), that the battery would not hold a charge.  Yep, it might start one or two more times, but eventually, we would be making that 1-800 call again.  The battery was defective and he had the machinery and a printout to prove it.  Are you kidding me?  That was the most proficient use of ten minutes ever.  I’d still be trying to untangle the battery cables.

Jeff told us that since the car was on lease, under warranty and since the dealership was closed (it was a Saturday night), he could replace the battery, give us a printed readout, and we could get reimbursed by the manufacturer.  How long to replace the battery you ask?  Ten minutes tops.  No kidding.  Come Monday, we checked out Jeff’s tip to get our money back.  He was right.

Product design could not be easier.  Two or three minutes on the 1-800 number, a text confirmation, a call from Jeff, and a tracking device displayed on our phone as to when he would arrive.  That’s using technology the right way.

The experience could not have been better.  Knowledgeable, quick, efficient, and the value add of giving us the truth about the situation.  From the time we called until such time as Jeff showed up and subsequently got us rolling again was all of forty-minutes.  Desperate times demand the very best.

Look at all the relationships you have with service providers.  Are there any that good?  Where AAA is the best is in that they know that when you call, there is a problem that needs immediate attention.  Sort of like an emergency room for car problems without the wait and the cost.  Oh yeah, and they come to you.


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