On a recent visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, arranged by the Wisconsin Region Classic Car Club of America, we were reminded of an old form of customer service that General Motors and Chrysler, in particular, might want to think about today. It’s the type of thing that would make a big impression on modern shoppers and sway old customers back into the fold.
We’re talking about the Depression Era service where a car dealer would send a mechanic to your house on a 3-wheeled motorcycle, pick your car up for service (leaving with his Harley hooked on back) and then repeat the process, later that day, after the car had been serviced. Imagine how consumers wrapped up in today’s 24-7 lifestyle would flock to a carmaker that made their day easier!
The special motorcycles utilized by car dealers were called Servi-Cars. They arrived during the Great Depression as a new product that Harley hoped could widen the market for motorcycle sales. Indian soon offered a similar Tow-Dispatch model.
We can’t help thinking that the same type of customer service that helped build business during the Great Depression couldn’t help do the same thing today. In fact, if the big guys don’t start taking better care of their customers, the small businessman will.