March 16, 2015: In a world where customer service seems to be a lost art, the fine folks at Scott Clark Honda are proving day after day that excellent customer service is alive and well! Jimmy Bass and Scott Hall in the service department could be giving lessons on how to give customers amazing experiences, and build loyalty bordering on fanatic.

How do they do this? The short version is, by showing every customer that they care first about the customer, and only after the customer has been taken care of, about profit.

This is not to say that they're running an unprofitable operation -- far from it! They're proving, day by day, that it's most profitable to build long-term relationships based on building trust and treating people as they'd like to be treated themselves.

Here is only the latest example. I came in last Thursday with a flat tire. We found enough screws and nails in it to open our own hardware store! The tire was not salvagable, but they got a new tire mounted quickly, and at a reasonable cost. That (the cost part) was only after spending quite a bit of time exploring options to possibly get the replacement covered under warranty. Couldn't make it happen.

We were somewhat mystified that the back tire picked up so much hardware, and the front tire in line with it escaped unscathed. They looked. They checked all three tires, and found nothing.

Well, this morning I found it! Driving Phyllis to her office, the low-tire-pressure indicator came on again. The car seemed to be driving OK, so I dropped her off and proceeded back to Scott Clark.

We discovered that there was indeed a nail in the front tire. Fortunately there was only one, and it was in the center of the tread, so it could be patched. (Just in case you're wondering, a patch like this is just as strong and reliable as the original tire.)

Here's the thing: after removing, patching, and replacing the tire, they sent me on my way at no charge!!

They didn't have to do that. It would have been entirely fair to charge for patching the tire. But they cared more about taking care of the customer and building trust and long-term relationship than they did about collecting a few bucks.

I don't know when or how their investment in relationship will come back to them. I just know it will. Maybe it will be another customer who reads this blog, or hears me tell the story, and decides that's a good place to buy the next car. Maybe it will be when an expensive repair becomes necessary and I know I can trust them. I just know that investing a bit of time and effort in customer relationships is one of the best investments a business will ever make.