What an oil change has to do with customer service…

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On March 22, 2012
It’s the little things that count.  Customer service is so much more than producing a nice product and delivering what is expected.  Delivering what is expected is boring.  Sure, I’m happy with my purchase, but I’m not talking about it.  Case in point, when is the last time you talked to your friends about an oil change?  I bet it’s been a while.   It was time to take my car in for an oil change and regular maintenance recently and I was dreading it.  Not because it’s a bad experience, but just because it takes time and effort to coordinate my family's schedules to make time to drop off and pick up the car.  As an added barrier to a quick and easy errand, the dealership that I used to take my car to was no longer in business so I had to find a new one.

After two weeks of procrastination, I finally made the appointment and dropped the car off.   The following night, I returned to pick up the car and was greeted by an outgoing and friendly service manager.  He asked for my name and type of car, pointed me in the direction of the cashier, and then said: “Joe will bring the car around the front for you in just a minute.”  Now I live in Pittsburgh, and March in Pittsburgh is usually pretty miserable, and always pretty rainy.  The night that I picked up my car it was raining cats and dogs.  Even though I had an umbrella with me it was such a nice gesture not to send me out to the soaking wet parking lot to look for my car.

My second surprise came when I was checking out at the cashier.  She handed me my paperwork and a lovely little bag of kettle corn popcorn with a $10 off future service sticker on the bag.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of the bag, but my husband, a popcorn fanatic, got to it first.  It was just a simple long, skinny plastic bag with a nice ribbon tied around the top and a sticker on the side, simple and effective.

Then imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw my CLEAN car pulling up to the front of the building.  My poor little car was in dire need of a bath.  In addition, the staff member pulled out the paper foot mat and the window tag so I didn’t have to drive around with that in my car for two weeks until I finally got around to throwing it away.  The interior of the car was also wiped down and half an inch of dust on the dashboard was a thing of the past!

The dealership didn’t have to do any of these things.  I would have still returned had I walked to the parking lot to get in my car and be forced to throw the foot mats out myself.  There would have been no negative feelings toward the business.  It would have been what I expected.  However, I would certainly not be talking about my experience now.  I would not have been mentioning it to my friends.  I would not go out of my way to recommend their services to others.  I would not have a happy feeling about their brand every time I drive past their business.

The details matter.  It is not enough to just do what your clients expect.  If you are looking to create buzz about your business and generate love for your brand you need to give your clients something to buzz about.  Leave a comment and let us know what the most buzz-worthy surprise you use in your business is…


Are you ready to connect with pet photographers from all over the world?  Join us in the Hair of the Dog Community - a place to ask questions, share resources, and connect with each other.

Nicole Begley

You may also like these resources

Streamlining My Client Booking Process with Dubsado

Streamlining My Client Booking Process with Dubsado

As you may know, I recently moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Charlotte, NC - and that was the perfect time to re-evaluate my client workflow.  One of my main tools for my workflow is Dubsado, which you can check out here.   One of the great things about Dubsado is that...



  1. Pricing your Photography Business with Costs of Goods Sold - [...] to knock your clients socks off in the customer service arena. As we talked about in the recent post…
  2. Train your Clients with Money - Customer Service for Photographers - [...] However, it is important that we don’t nickel and dime our clients.  We don’t want them to feel how…
  3. The Consequence of Mediocre Customer Service - [...] to create buzz about your business and get your clients talking about you in this previous post on customer…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hair of the Dog Pet Photography Education

Welcome to Hair of the Dog Pet Photography Resources. The #1 educational resource for aspiring and established pet photographers.

Join the Academy


Listen to Our Podcast

Check out founder Nicole Begley’s Book


Join the Hair of the Dog Community

Sign up for the Summit


Pin It on Pinterest