Sure, I was frustrated but I couldn’t really be that mad. The roads were packed with several unexpected extra inches of snow covering a layer of ice lying just beneath. Were I living in Wisconsin where heavy snows and inclement weather was common, then sure, I’d be justified in being upset that my order hadn’t arrived, but this was Nashville, Tennessee, and snow simply wasn’t that common – and frankly, had a tendency to shut the whole town down. For nearly three days I waited, constantly checking the UPS tracking number. I leapt to the window as I heard a truck crunching over the icy street hoping it was my delayed parcel to no avail. Waiting for car parts to arrive when you’re under a deadline can be the closest thing to self-inducing a heart attack.
For those unaware, in addition to publishing The Watercraft Journal, the world’s most popular personal watercraft magazine, we also publish Mopar Connection, the only daily digital magazine for Mopar enthusiasts – and more importantly, the only such magazine to be officially licensed and recognized by FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles). As of this moment, I’m finalizing a technical article on understanding rear suspension kinematics and preventing leaf spring binding, and using my personal ’69 Dodge Charger R/T as a guinea pig. Prior to the snowfall, I had taken the car out on the street to trial test the new Calvert Racing split-mono leaf spring-and-CalTrac cantilever-style traction bar suspension. All went well, save for some unexpected tire rubbing.
The solution was a two-part fix: a pair of new rear shackles (with new, more durable Delrin bushings) and a pair of 5/16″ wheel spacers. Both items were placed on order last week, with a projected arrival of Monday, January 15th. Within this timeframe, I would have enough time to make the proper adjustments, snap the last few pictures and submit the story for final approval before publishing it live next week. As each hour slipped into lost days, so went my timeframe. And being late is something my neurosis simply doesn’t handle very well. The UPS tracking number was all over the map, with alerts and updates crowding the page. UPS thought it would arrive on Monday, but had since shrugged its corporate shoulders and changed the status to “pending.” Needless to say, my timeframe was dead in the water.
Then I awoke to an email this morning from the website I had purchased the parts from, Speedway Motors. In it was not an update on my order’s arrival, but a personal apology by the four brothers (Carson, Craig, Clay and Jason) who had inherited the company from their father, the late “Speedy” Bill Smith, who passed away 4 years ago.
The letter, titled “A Promise Made…” was alerting me that the entirety of my shipping cost was being refunded because of the delayed delivery, with the supplication to me that I do not let this keep me from shopping with Speedway in the future. A direct link to the company’s customer service department was also provided. The photo included a family photo of the four brothers as well, and was, as you could imagine, entirely by surprise.
My order was delayed by two days, yes, but it’s delay was entirely understandable. Again, sure I was a bit frustrated, but I understood why. Having spent a couple of hours shoveling and de-icing my driveway and front walkway, I knew first hand what was holding up my delivery.
Nevertheless, a major retailer of performance automotive and restorative parts felt it necessary to reach out, refund a significant portion of my order and issue a personal apology. I was thunderstruck. Not since my first experience at a Chick-Fil-A in Brandon, Florida, or shopping at Publix Super Market in Goodlettsville, TN, have I experienced better or as comprehensive customer service. This, I thought to myself, puts everyone else to shame.
It’s worth noting that I had received updates on the status of my order from Speedway several times over the past few days, particularly as it had missed the initial deadline. And a little before noon today, my package did arrive. I’ve since written a very appreciative note to the Smith Brothers thanking them on raising the bar of customer appreciation and superior business practices. Why? Because everybody likes to hear that they’re doing a good job. And I don’t mean that in a “everybody gets a participation trophy” sort of way, either. So why should I make an editorial about car stuff on a personal watercraft magazine? Because appreciation for hard work and stellar customer service is something that every industry can benefit from.
So please, if you’re reading this and have a similar positive story to share about a company within the PWC industry, please comment on this page. I really want to help spread the good word about those companies worthy of special recognition. Let’s share some good news today.
Go Get Wet,