Alex Fender


The Marine Corps has a Center for Lessons Learned where the good, the bad and the ugly of each engagement are documented.

I want to share with you some lessons learned from my engagement with a recent Google Adwords advertiser.

I love cars and have always had a passion for working on and taking care of them.  After serving in the Marines and hurting my back – and with my crazy entrepreneurial business owner schedule – I have to pick and choose the activities I do. Detailing my cars is something that I stopped personally doing, but, I do pay to have it done.

On Monday June 2, 2014, I performed a Google search for “auto detail plano texas” on my iPhone which produced a Google Advertising Ad  from Precision Detail.  The Google Ad stated they charged $100 for Cars, Trucks and Vans” – precisely what I was looking for. I call.

Lesson One – Executed properly, a Google Adwords Campaign will make your phone ring.

When I call, I say to the man that answered (who turns out to be the owner) that I saw his company’s ad on Google about the $100 offer. He immediately starts to backtrack and say that he couldn’t control what was put in the ads because there was only a few lines of less than 35 characters and that the price might be more.

Lesson Two – If your product or service requires a bait-and-switch tactic to succeed, perhaps you need a new business model – or a new business.

I did not listen to my reservations. We have a conversation about their process and I decided to schedule an appointment Wednesday June 4, 2014 at 1pm to come to do a mobile detail on my truck. I think to myself, “Isn’t it amazing what we can do with information these days?!” Now I can clear my Wednesday afternoon, get my truck detailed and work on a project from home.

As I drove off, the owner requests that when we hang up that I text him my information. I should have known at that second from here on out I was doomed for a bad experience. I told him I was driving and he would need to get the details over the phone. I should have just hung up at that point, gone back to Google and called another auto detail shop.

Lesson Three – Make it easy for your customers to do business with you.

On Tuesday June 3, 2014 – the day prior to my appointment – I receive one random text message at 9:58am asking to change the appointment to 12 noon on Wednesday June 4, 2014 (an hour earlier) and also to confirm for the next day.  I am a busy man that already booked this event on my calendar and cleared my afternoon to make it happen.  The request to move the appointment by 1 hour has a financial impact on me and my business and could greatly alter the flow of work to be completed the next morning.

Then at 1:12pm, Precision Auto Detail calls from a 561 area code of out Boca Raton, Florida leaving a voicemail on my cell to confirm or call back to change the appointment.

Lesson Four – Respect your customer’s time.

Doctors, lawyers, professionals and business owners are a large target customer profile for a mobile detail business. Probably also the same typical characteristics of the perfect customer profile for this type of business with annual lifetime value of at least double the average customer in a 2-car household.

Lesson Five – Know your customer and their challenges!

I stopped working at 6:30pm and drove home. At 7:08pm, I responded to the one and only text message sent earlier in the morning that I was confirmed and would accommodate his change of time request. Keep in mind, my confirmation – accommodating his business – was made almost 18 hours in advance.

The next response was quite surprising, Precision Auto Details‘ owner responded by calling a minute later from his out of state number to my cell phone to tell me that since he had not heard from me, that he canceled my appointment.

I sent a text message to Precision Auto Detail stating: “U lost a customer that owns a king ranch, h1 hummer, 69 Mach 1, and a honda accord. U should improve your confirmation process so u stop losing high value customers.”

Seconds later a text message response from Precision Auto Detail: “Hmmm, texted you three times, and left a voice mail. I think it’s obvious this was beneath you. Sorry, we have other customers who get to us faster than 6 hours.”

Lesson Six: Shut up! Don’t talk. Listen to your customers!

After you have done that, capture it, archive it in your center for lessons learned, build a better process and then train and delegate.

I have written this blog post just for you so you can share it with your company and each and every employee. This is the world we live in and when you have an online business, you only reap what you sow. It is estimated that more than 1/3 of online searchers look for reviews about companies they engage with. Had I done better research and checked some reviews I probably could have found a better detail shop.

Lesson Seven: Google Adwords is a double-edged sword. It will grow your business and your reputation – good, bad or ugly.



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