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Oiling The Wheels Of Consumer Satisfaction

Ten year ago, a new company set out to among the top <]uick-oil-change business in the Cleveland area The strategy that has proved successful for the $12.5 million company was to build customer service right into its operations, stalling at the top. Rod Stasik, The Lube Stop's vice president of customer service, keeps things running smoothly for the 35,000 customers a month who visit the company's 30 stores. He personally reviews each customersenice report, a document that must be completed by the store manager whenever a customer returns or calls with a problem.

Even if a customer's problem was resolved at the store level, Stasik sends that customer a letter of apology; regardless of whether the store was at fault, along with a coupon for a discounted or free oil change. Of the approximately 8,000 cars serviced in a week, about 50 reports are generated.

Straightening out misunderstandings with customers is the job of everyone in the company Bays Stasik. The training that technicians undergo include.- how to talk with customers. Each store manager is given authority to spend a certain amount to quickly resolve customer problems. "We encourage manager.- to take ciu-e of any problems and, if they need help, to call more-experienced managers, their district managers, or me," says Stasik.

In situations where the store manager can't act right away, Stasik has arranged for engine cleanings to remove spilled oil or has had oil cleaned from customers' driveways. On occasion, he has gone to customers' homes to resolve problems, and once he sent a customer a rental car.

One indicator—besides the company's growing revenues—that the system work is that The Lube Stop has received a customer-commitment award from the Cleveland-area Better Business Bureau for the past five years.

"We are always looking at our programs and processes to determine if there is some way we can improve," says Stasik. 'We are selling convenience and customer service. That's what customers expect.

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