In the age of Cappuccinos and Tall, Non-Fat Lattes with Caramel Drizzle at $5.00 a cup, how can $0.25 be too much for a cup of coffee?
We replaced my wife’s 8-year-old SUV after it stranded her for the last time. Not that it was unreliable, it just seemed to need “maintenance” at importune times, like when she was driving down the highway. She is very happy with her new car, yet she misses her old one. (She seems to form unusual emotional attachments to inanimate objects.) Her new SUV is a Jeep. I’m going to name names to show we’re not dealing with overpriced concierge brands. Her previous SUV was an Acura.
If you open up any magazine or newspaper, listen to the radio, or use the Internet, you know both these companies spend a lot of dollars on advertising and building their brand. If you ever watch a car commercial you see that they do very little to tell you specifics. They show you a shiny car, spinning its tires, and happy drivers. Occasionally you’ll see a gas mileage rating or some other technical specification that you can use to compare to another car. So brand and image are very important to car manufactures.
The service department at Acura was very helpful, very courteous and did good work. They were understanding and empathetic when the car needed “maintenance.” In their service waiting room they very graciously had bagels, cream cheese and coffee, all free. It gave us a nice warm and fuzzy feeling that they provided all this comfort at no charge. I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, but compared to a one full page ad in the newspaper it was nothing. They probably provided the food service for the entire year at less than a 1/100th of a single TV advertisement.
Jeep’s service department isn’t quite as luxurious. It doesn’t have bagels. It does have coffee, but you have to shell out a quarter a cup.
Now it’d be silly to base the purchase of a car on whether the coffee in their service area was free or two-bits, but still it gives a mind set. Acura, with this simple gesture, gives the impression they’re there to serve not just make money.
However, the reality is that I spent way too much time at the Acura dealership. So, no matter how much free coffee they provided, I would rather have a reliable car that didn’t need “maintenance” quite as often!
The moral of the story: Don’t make business decisions based on pennies, look at the big picture. Look for quality service & products that bring you results and keep you on the road for the long run.