CustServ: How Big O Tires Convinces Its Customers Never to Come Back

Unless I'm paying compliments, I usually don't include the actual names of the people or companies I'm writing about. However, in this case, it's necessary.

The company involved is Big O Tires.

I was visiting a friend of mine recently when her son, while borrowing her car, got a flat front tire. AAA came out immediately (props to AAA) and changed the flat for the so-called 'donut' (I remember when spare tires were real) - so my friend knew that she was going to have to do a quick turnaround in getting either the flat repaired or a new tire purchased. She also knew she'd probably replace the other front tire at the same time as it was showing enough wear to warrant replacement.

We went early in the morning to her local Big O Tire store. Now, to be frank, I didn't want her to go there. I wanted her to go to Costco - because I trust Costco.  In earlier years, I had used Big O - as well as other tire dealers - but once changing to Costco, consistently found that my tire experiences were great, both during the process and in their after-care (so props to Costco, too).

My friend had used her local Big O's services over the years, so she figured they were convenient and she could trust them.

She was wrong. She couldn't.

I won't take your time by going into the long details (do write a comment if you're interested in hearing them - because I'll be happy to let loose), but the upshot was:
  • They gave her - and charged her for - services she specifically told them she didn't want.
  • They rotated her old and new tires such that both new ones were front and back on the same side of the car.
  • Upon going back and confronting them with the facts, the store manager as good as told her it was all her fault.
  • He then, upon giving her the refund for the services she didn't want, opted to pay her in cash (she had paid with her credit card) and shorted her on the amount he gave her (which, you'll notice, also means he was stealing from the company).
So, to cut to the chase, the Big O manager:
  • Provided bad service
  • Put her and anyone else in the car at personal risk and then, to top it off,
  • Stole her money.
You gotta love these guys. Or not. Definitely, not.

The 'after-care' was so bad that - even before she realized that the manager had stolen her refund money - my friend had opted not to have them touch her car to put the tires in the right place. She didn't trust them even to perform that service.

So, bye-bye Big O. As my friend told the store manager, "You don't want my business" - and she was right. He couldn't have cared less whether she - or any other customer - came back again. Otherwise he would have ensured that he and everyone on his staff was providing the best, most honest and trustworthy service possible.

All of which leads us to what you can learn from this. Ask yourself:

Are any of our products or services convincing our customers that they don't want to come back to us as their preferred provider?

If the answer is yes - even to the most infinitesimal degree - it's time to take action. Otherwise, not only will your business get the same decision my friend made - but you'll get me and others happy to tell everyone else about it.