Memorable Postcard from a New Mechanic

We just moved to Fresno, CA and I’m looking for a new mechanic. I needed a smog check to get my car registered and went to the closest place – a Shell gas station about 3/4 miles from my house. The mechanic was very nice and the service was prompt. It was a pleasant experience, but nothing remarkable (I didn’t even mention it to my wife).

Two days later I received a postcard that read:

Dear Robert,

We want to say ‘thanks for being our customer.’ And we mean it; our saying so is not simply some social nicety. It is a pleasure to be of service to you. Please give us a call if we can be of further service.

Cordially,

[Manager’s name]
[His phone number]

How likely am I to call him when I need my next service?

Cliches are so tired you don’t even notice them. Postcards from service stations are boring. And so are beta mailing lists, product blogs that don’t have an original voice, and sterile business-speak in your launch email.

But if you can get out from behind the corporate veil and talk to your customers like a real person, whether you’re a one- or a hundred-person company…you will create something people want to talk about.

It’s actually pretty easy. Talk to your customers, in writing, like you talk to a good friend. Don’t use cliches, jargon or acronyms. Be succinct. Write like you talk, not like how you think people want you to write.

It was just a postcard, but now six people have seen it, and I’ll be calling him the next time I need service.

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5 comments ↓

#1 Edison Avenue Consulting on 10.08.09 at 9:41 am

Is this why a blog is beneficial to your business? The conversational writing on your blog tears down the corporate veil and lets people interact with you like human? I think this might be the key. I read from various sources that you have to be passionate, and just talk to people.

#2 Rob on 10.08.09 at 1:25 pm

Exactly; that’s why blogs are so beneficial to your business. Not because you can publish so much content, but because the nature of that content is like a one-on-one conversation.

#3 Ronnie on 10.09.09 at 5:02 pm

Ironic, but that is all I have been focusing on today. Getting away from corporate speak so I can connect to real people. So many years of corporate culture has really dulled my ability to write in first person.

I value your efforts for the microprenuers greatly, and take all the academy lessons to heart. Keep up the great work!

#4 Kord Campbell on 10.09.09 at 7:39 pm

It would be priceless if it had a grease smear on it.

#5 Josh Straub on 10.26.09 at 6:33 pm

I would do business with this mechanic (if I was in the area and needed some service).