Friday, October 25, 2013

Serendipity Tales of Customer Service

I met another Reyn recently, only the second one in my lifetime.

We share a penchant for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  The other Reyn heads marketing for Rommel, the new owner of the Durham dealership.  Knowing my former field was community marketing he pulled me into his office during a visit from their headquarters in Delaware.

Coincidentally, we both trace our ancestry in part to two of William the Conqueror’s knights, whose Domesday Book successors first used the derivation of our shared first name.  Each of those families made some ill-advised decisions back then.

When William the Conqueror’s son Henry I died without a living male heir, according to his wishes my ancestors supported his daughter Matilda for the throne.

After a struggle she lost out to her cousin who was crowned King Steven but by agreement, Steven was succeeded by Matilda’s son Henry II who ran into problems with Thomas Becket.

The other Reyn’s namesake was among four knights who followed through on a comment by the King and murdered Becket.  It only took another 800 years for us to connect on Facebook.

During my visit to the dealership, the other Reyn was confused after a day of meeting with media reps and because he follows Bull City Mutterings, thought I might be able to clear up some things that just didn’t make sense.

Rusty as I am I did my best and then referred him to Durham’s marketing agency where briefings of this sort are conducted for executives who are new to Durham.

Rommel is a Delaware company that took over the Durham dealership a few months ago and instantly transformed it into the best in North Carolina and one of the best on the east coast.

They also want to weave it seamlessly into Durham’s distinct personality so it is embraced as far more than Durham in name only.  This includes reaching out to the Durham metro area while fending off some devious poaching.

Hopefully, I was able to satisfy his interest in making the dealership embraced as far more Durham than name only but he had the right idea.

Like the developer I mentioned in a post a few days ago, the new Durham Harley dealership seems to have a ready grasp of the importance of community identity, especially in a community with a deep sense of community pride and a distinct personality such as Durham.

It is amazing how Harley dealerships differ.  I’ve visited many both across the nation and in North Carolina.

The staffing, the stock in both merchandise and parts as well as floor models and its service department in Durham under this new ownership group is the best I’ve encountered.  It’s been an incredible transformation in a matter of months.

I’ll finish this blog with another story about incredible customer service.  Years ago on a road trip, I stopped in a store called Earth Origins Market to pick up a supplement.

When I ran out back home, I tried to match the ingredients with some available in Durham but I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.

So I jumped online to order a refill only to find that they have stores mostly in Maryland and Florida and none anywhere close to me.  I didn’t see a way to order their products online, so I used the “contact us” form to make a request about mail order.

Nearly instantly I received a response noting that unfortunately the only way to buy their products was in stores and there were none anywhere near North Carolina.

But the person responding to my email inquiry asked me where in North Carolina I lived.  I responded Durham.

He asked how many bottles I wanted and told me that if I would meet him in two days at the Sheetz near the RDU International Airport in Morrisville, he would have my supplies.

Turns out he lives in a small town south and further east and commutes down to Earth Origins once or week or so.  So I met him and picked up my supplies, although I think we must have looked somewhat suspicious in the parking lot.

With that kind of attitude, I have no doubt Earth Origins will continue to grow and expand, hopefully in Durham.

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