Good old-fashioned service values

What a delight to come across people who care.

This is a personal story with a wider message. That great after-sales service matters and in these difficult times will make the difference between surviving and even growing, or failing.

I drive a 2005 5.7 litre Jeep.  It was bought (second-hand) when I arrived in the US about a year ago, en route to JeepMexico.

Just recently the automatic transmission failed.  There was no choice but to commit it to the local Mexican Jeep dealership for repair.  This is a sophisticated transmission system and I was seriously worried that it was going to be a nightmare.

I didn’t account for the help from AASTRO in Tucson, where the Jeep had been serviced a couple of times.

Here is a more detailed sequence of how AASTRO helped. (Skip to the end if you are not into cars.)

Day 1

Called James at AASTRO, E. Speedway, Tucson.  Explained that the Jeep was being sluggish in selecting gears, the fault light was on and that the transmission oil level was slightly down.

James recognised my voice even before I had properly introduced myself and knew which car I drove.  That made me feel special.  Advised me to top up the oil level and drive it to the local dealer to have them check the fault code and call him back.

Day 2

On driving to the local Jeep dealer, discovered it was stuck in 3rd so had no choice but to leave it for investigation and repair.  Later I am advised that the transmission selector solenoid had failed.

Rang James back again and he called one of his engineers to the phone (AASTRO are transmission specialists). Told that the 2005 model was known for solenoid failures around 30,000 miles (mine had 35,000).  Warned that Chrysler had introduced an improved solenoid in 2009 and to make sure that it was fitted and both filters replaced. If I could get the old part and the new packaging up to Tucson they could verify that the new version solenoid had been fitted.

Also advised me that when the transmission selector solenoid fails, the gearbox automatically ‘parks’ itself in 3rd so that the vehicle isn’t marooned.

You have to understand that there is no way AASTRO are going to benefit financially from my problem.  This is free advice given willingly with no immediate return.

Day 3

Back to the local dealership here in Mexico.  Luckily my partner speaks Spanish and was able to convey my concern about not having the outdated version of the solenoid fitted.  This being Mexico, we had no idea if we would have the latest solenoid fitted.  The part had to be ordered from Mexico City.

Day 5

We call in to the Mexican dealership and, as luck would have it, the Jeep is up on the hoist and the mechanic is there.  My partner speaks to him and he shows the new solenoid waiting to be fitted.  We make a note of the part number.

Call AASTRO back and, once again, James takes the call and confirms that this part number is, indeed, the improved solenoid. Confirms that it is most unlikely that any other damage has been caused.  James concludes the call by suggesting that the next time we are in Tucson they inspect the gearbox to ensure that nothing is amiss.

This is what service is all about.

One of the most profitable things a company can do is to retain customers.  Fred Reichheld is widely regarded as one of

Fred Reichheld
Fred Reichheld

the world’s foremost consultants on loyalty marketing and his book, The Loyalty Effect (1996) is an astounding treatise on the subject.  (It was one of the few books I brought with me when I left England in 2008.)

Reichheld claims that a 5% increase in customer loyalty, or retention, can increase profitability by 25% to 85% depending on the industry.

So when AASTRO ‘wow’ me by treating me as a valued customer and exceeding my expectations, they not only have me going back to them for my future services, they benefit from me spreading the word, just as Reichheld predicts.

Why is it that I’m not surprised to see their web-site having a page devoted to Business Practices.

Well done AASTRO Transmission and Automotive Repair

and well done James and the team at

5302 E.Speedway, Tucson (520-325-5500) for setting such a fine example!

By Paul Handover

(P.S. An essay on sales retention and loyalty is on the list of Posts to come)

2 thoughts on “Good old-fashioned service values

  1. It is great to hear your story. As the saying goes: “A friend in need is a friend in deed!”

    In the development of relationships (whether between vendor and customer, or any other relationship), it seems that trust develops when problems are solved rather than when no problems occur.


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