SCHEDULED SERVICE – a story and a sales lesson

By Todd Liles SCHEDULED SERVICE – a story and a sales lesson
Broken Promises

I had a terrible experience with a local company. Hill Country Outdoor Power in Austin, TX.

It involved a rider mower, missed promises, and bad customer service.

Why We Bought In The First Place:

The wife and I bought a new house on 2 acres. It has a beautiful rolling hill in the front, and a spacious backyard. The old push mower was out of it’s league.

So, I invested close to $4,000 for high end riding mower and weed eater. I bought a Cub Cadet 46″ rider.  I even upgraded to the Zero Turn Steering Wheel Model. This model is less intimidating for the wife to drive.

The service before the sale was great. They asked great questions, determined my needs, and closed me on the right mower.  They even provided free delivery. But this level of service wouldn’t last.

Promises Made

The gentleman that originally delivered the mower told me the following,

“You need to change the oil on your mower after the first 10 hours.  That’s the break-in time.  After that, you can change the oil every 50 hours.”

That’s good to know. I believe in scheduled service, and understand it’s importance to long life.

He then went on to tell me about their service options,

“We have a great service department.  I can pick up your mower, and drop it off for you after we are done servicing it.  And, the first service is completely free. After the first service, there is a small pick up fee and service fee.”

I love this approach!  I’m sold on their scheduled services for my mower. It sounded simple and convenient.

After the first 10 hours of mowing, I gave them a call for service.  That’s when the service starts to breakdown.


I called in to schedule my pick-up.  We schedule the pick-up for Friday.

After thinking about it, I ask, “When will I get my mower back?”

I’m told, “3 to 6 weeks.  It’s the start of mower season.  We are really busy.”

Well, I’m upset about this.  Imagine if this was one of your clients, and you told them you couldn’t see them because you are busy.

“Sorry Mrs Smith! I know I told you to service your system. I know you spent a lot of money. But right now, we need to sell more systems. See you next year.”

That’s not exactly the same analogy, but it’s close!

Can you imagine what my yard would look like after 3 to 6 weeks of not being mowed?

I told them, “Never mind. I will service it myself, I can’t wait that long.”

They then went into save mode, and promised to delivery my mower back by the following Friday.  7 days. I can deal with 7 days.

However, they lied.

I know it’s harsh to say someone lied. But, they did lie. Friday came and went.  They didn’t call to let me know my mower wasn’t being returned.

Monday I called them.

“Oh.  Hi Mr. Liles. Yes. Here is an excuse. See you Tuesday.”

Tuesday no one showed up, and no one called.

“Oh.  Hi Mr. Liles. Yes. Here is an excuse. See you Wednesday.”

I’m being nice.  I’m doing my best, but it starts to get harder to be nice by Friday.

On Friday, they give me another excuse, and I get mad! I made it clear that I was angry with their broken promises.

I got my mower back after 2 weeks.

Rule #1:  Get a client, and keep the client

It makes sense to keep the clients that do business with you. Yet, there are companies that repel clients with their service after the sale.

Bad service after the sale violates the #1 rule of business.

Rule #1:  Get a client, and keep the client. – Ron Smith

Getting a client is usually the hard part. Keeping a client should be much easier. Clients want a relationship with a company. Believe it or not, most people are loyal to their service providers.

And, most people are very forgiving with an honest apology. Sometimes, it takes a little more than an apology. It takes sharing the pain.

In the video (watch it if you haven’t), I said I wouldn’t do business with the company again. Well, I might. If they take action to make it up to me.

I don’t think they will take this action on their own. Why? Because I wrote a bad review on their Facebook and Google site, and they haven’t responded.


So, I’m going to send this to them in an email as well. I’m going through this effort because I believe in business. I support business. And, I want them to fix their service after the sale. I want this for me, for them, and other folks that may buy from them in the future.

Question:  How do you keep the client after the sale?  Share your answer on social media.

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