I know now as I did then that it was cliche, but soon after my first marriage ended I bought an old, ill used BMW 2002 (tii for the purists), much like the one in the photo above. I loved that car in spite of its semi-frequent catastrophic and always ill timed break downs.
One momentous failure occurred while the kids and I were in Chicago, 5 PM on Michigan Avenue, on the Friday of a long July 4th weekend. Chicago's finest were not amused, especially when we didn't wait for the tow truck. We simply left a note on the front seat for the garage owner to call us, we'd work the details out later. And we did. The kids and I flew home.
Saturday morning I called John, my regular BMW 2002 fixer, asking if he knew of his counterpart in Chicago. After a brief discussion about what happened, where and why, he told me not to worry, he'd take care of it. Late Sunday evening the car was resting comfortably at home, in my garage. John visualized what happened, grabbed the needed parts off the shelf along with his toolbox, rode the train to Chicago, replaced the clutch and transmission in a gas station lot and drove the car home. How's that for service?
A few weeks ago I purchased my second BMW, but have been too busy to even wash the beast, but have mentally been preparing its fixit list. Yesterday morning I drove across town to visit a BMW wrenchmen. Walking into an immaculate, modern, well lit work space, the owner, my old buddy John, greeted me. I had not seen him in 25 years.
I led with, you may not remember my name but here's my story and I reminded him of his trip to Chicago. Quickly, we were once again bosom buddies, introducing me to the shop, relaying to his mechanics that I was "the guy" "the guy from Chicago". With evident pride he showed me around the shop, told of his second location, then said something I hope to never forget.
He said, "Toad, a young guy starting a business has to prove himself every day. That trip to Chicago was a necessary step to prove to myself that I had what it takes to succeed. Thank you for making my business happen." That's how you build customer loyalty. Work, from John's list, begins shortly after Labor Day.