Building a Bond

Dec. 1, 2014
How well do you connect with your customers?

There is a liquor store in my neighborhood that bucks common misconceptions about such places. You normally wouldn’t think of a liquor store as a community stalwart, an integral part of a neighborhood that has provided significant contributions beyond selling booze. 

But this one has done it through investing in neighborhood initiatives such as annual festivals, hosting community events like car shows in the parking lot, and just being an excellent operation on all fronts. It is probably the only liquor store I know of that area residents will just stop in to say hi to employees or neighbors. My son asks to go there to pet the big, friendly St. Bernard that lounges on the floor (it’s also dog-friendly for any canine-owning patron). 

The customer service is outstanding—you’ll never find an unhappy employee—and the place feels welcoming and warm. It just makes you feel good. Other area liquor stores just feel cold and lifeless by comparison. So I go back to this one and this one alone, even if it’s out of the way.

This feeling of connectedness, of a business understanding the bigger picture, is something that can be achieved in auto service as well. Many shops already understand this concept, including the businesses featured in this month’s cover story, “A Bigger Impact,” on page 30.  

The story details how American Pride Automotive in Virginia and Ohio shops Auto Repair Technology and Mighty Auto Pro have built strong connections to their communities by giving back in meaningful ways. Customers have taken note and the initiatives have done wonders for the businesses—even if that wasn’t the goal.

“You need to be able to show that you’re not just in an area to make money. You’re part of a community. You’re no different than the people who walk in the door,” American Pride Automotive owner Charlie Marcotte says in the story.

Hopefully Marcotte and the other shop operators in the story will help inspire your own community outreach, for both the betterment of your business and the well-being of the customers you serve. And if you are among the shops that are already engaged in your community, send us your story. This message is always worth sharing again, and there are many ways to do it. 

Jake Weyer[email protected]

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