If one were to ask me what was the biggest life-changing event I’ve experienced I’m not sure I could say it was meeting my better half. Although she is certainly life changing, she wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for me becoming a customer.
I was born a car dealer. My Grandfather founded the family’s dealer group 15 years before I was born. His Grandfather founded the family’s department store 70 years before that, and he ran a retail establishment after earning his citizenship. Retailing has been the centerpiece of my family’s income for somewhere around 150 years. We would like to go further back, but there isn’t a lot of known history from our European days. From what we do know, we’ve been pretty good at it. I wasn’t just born into a dealership, I was born into a profitable business with all the wonderful perks. That’s right… “perks” = silver spoon in my mouth.
In 2010 I became a technologist. It turned me into a customer. I had to negotiate car deals and actually use a service department. For shame! Scheduling appointments, and all that consumer-grade garbage, was suddenly a practice I had to succumb to. Peasants ride in shuttle vans! I miss the D-tag that could be magnetized to the back of whatever fast car I liked that day. Dealership coffee? That’s for freeloaders!
I was a customer, a bottom-feeder. And wow, my eyes were opened.
The customer has no tools. I feel like a tool. [Read more…]