complete-tyre-auto-chchAs you know we’re big fans of ‘cheap’ – we have, to the best of our knowledge, the most competitive prices on new business websites and website hosting. But while we’re more than happy to support other service providers who champion the spirit of great value, sometimes it’s worth making decisions on more than just price alone.

Case in point is a recent WOF experience here in our hometown of Christchurch. Over the last few years I’ve generally headed down to All Cars in Maces Rd. Price-wise, it’s hard to beat a $25 WOF. And while the place has mixed reviews, I’d generally found them adequate to get the job done. Don’t expect any niceties – it’s got all the charm of an abandoned caravan site and the guys are as rough as it gets. Of course, you shouldn’t be too surprised – this is junkyard alley, the home of Leroy Brown himself – so it’s not going to be white-glove service at any stage of the process.

Of course, even though you get a cheap WOF you do have to keep your wits about you. The biggest gripe people generally have is that they’ll sting you on the repairs, even if they have to make something up. I never found any proof they did that but if they did – and it does happen in the industry – that’s pretty low. A good tip is to never agree to them doing the suggested repairs unless you have a clear idea of what they say needs fixing and you know for sure it’s broken. If there’s any doubt, drive away and get a second opinion.

While I never got ripped off with phantom repairs – that I know of – the steady decline in service got to the point where it just wasn’t worth saving ten bucks on the WOF. Getting the car in for a WOF recheck was such a drama it ended up going beyond the 28 days for repairs. Even trying to book was a pain – no email address so I had to call and these days that it is a right pain! It was time to change providers.

Good customer service doesn’t take much

After a little bit of Googling for $35 WOFs (my new price point) I stumbled across Complete Tyre & Auto on Ferry Rd. While they don’t have a website they do have a Facebook page and an email address, which really should be a minimum requirement in this day and age. A quick email and a prompt response had me booked in for the next day. Phew, that’s easier than having to play cat and mouse with the last place.

See also: Why should your business have a website?

Turned up there the next day, a friendly welcome, a bit of chit-chat even a hot drink machine – wow this felt like first class, relatively speaking. I sat there in the waiting room and it wasn’t long before it was all done, passed and paid up. Painless. How it should be. An all-round friendly team. Great work Complete Tyre & Auto!

They probably didn’t even think anything of it – it’s what they always do and it might not have been so amazing to win any customer service awards but when you’ve had a bad experience the contrast is a welcome relief.

Cheap prices and good service can coexist

Providers that believe just because they offer cheap prices are entitled to treat you like garbage have got it all wrong – yes Jetstar I’m looking at you!

Yes customers appreciate a sharp price but if you’re doing it at the expense of treating your customers like decent human beings then you obviously haven’t figured out how to do it properly.

Offering $25 WOFs is probably quite difficult for a garage to do profitably but if that means you look for ways to screw over your customers on repairs or just making their life difficult then just stop – find another way. There needs to be a baseline for customer service – if your prices mean you’re consistently below the line then it just won’t work, you’ll not only attract the wrong sort of client, they’ll be posting bad reviews and no one enjoys that.

Cheap websites – how do we do it?

We often have customers ask if our prices are for real – they’ve shopped around and found most other website developers are charging two or 3 times what we do. It’s simple really – we chop out all the stuff that doesn’t make a positive difference to our customers, and focus on what does.

Don’t need…

  • Expensive office space
  • Overpaid managers
  • Company cars
  • Wasteful advertising
  • Gimmicky giveaways
  • Employees
  • Costly services esp. when free alternatives exist

Do need…

  • Prompt response to customer emails
  • Free helpful advice and knowledge based on over 10 years experience in the industry
  • Flexible websites and services that don’t lock our customers in
  • Going the extra mile, providing services that other providers charge for
  • Suggesting alternatives that suit the customer better even if it means missing out on potential income
  • Flexible solutions that match the customer’s needs – instead of forcing them into a solution they don’t need
  • Looking for cheaper options for our customers, which includes setting up their website that allows them to switch providers without incurring additional costs
  • Prices that reflect the actual cost of providing a service instead of just charging as much as we can get away with
  • Working to put things right whenever customers are unhappy, even if there are mitigating circumstances

It is possible to keep customers happy and offer cheap prices – PaknSave do it everyday and so do we, combining cheap websites for business owners while working to look after our customers (and future customers) as best we can.

Is cheap always best? Why it pays to shop around
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