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The secret behind 5* customer service

The secret behind 5* customer service

I’m going to give you something to think about.

Name one business / brand / company based that delivers a high level of customer service.

Continually delivers a high level of customer service.

The spontaneous recall should happen in a nanosecond and if you are thinking about if for any longer than say 10 seconds then its self-defeating in so far as it’s really not all that memorable.

If I’m ever asked that question I’ll know exactly what to say after my experience this week.

Despite having worked in the automotive trade on behalf of both manufacturer and retailer, I have always treated visits to service departments with trepidation.

If you don’t fully understand what goes on under the bonnet of a car you can easily find yourself completely at the mercy of the service department.

Same with tyres.

Confirmation bias tells me to fear the worst and I’m usually never disappointed.


So, about 18 months ago I get a flat battery and needed a quick replacement.

I called into a High Street brand and was sold a battery and was told that I also needed 2 tyres changed immediately.

Coincidentally, the only 2 suitable tyres in stock were also the most expensive, which made me somewhat suspicious but anxious nonetheless.

I didn’t buy the tyres but made my way to a place in North Belfast called Magowan Tyres.

I cant remember from where I got their name – lets say Google – but I’m glad I did.

Buying tyres shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience, right?

When I arrived, at reception, I traded my keys for a cup of coffee, sat down and awaited the dreaded diagnosis.

No more than 5 minutes later a mechanic called me over and said that there must be some kind of mistake and then proceeded to point out that all my tyres were fine with the exception of 1 which had a slow puncture, which they were in the process of fixing.

5* customer service? IN Belfast?

5* customer service? In Belfast?

Free of charge.

This is a busy reception area with maybe 15 other people waiting for their cars – charging me for the repair alone would have been more than reasonable.

At times like this you drive away a happy man.

(Stay with me on this – I think it’s worth it.)

About 6 weeks ago, whilst I was getting my car serviced, I was told that all 4 tyres had no more than 2mm of tread on them and that a change would be advisable.

I let that chore slide for a month or so and then panicked but went straight back to Magowan Tyres.

Same drill.

Busy reception.

Trade your keys for a coffee token, take a seat and wait for the bad news.

This time, a mechanic came out and called me behind the counter, which made me think that it was a more serious issue than a simple change of tyres.

“Mr McAnallen – is there some kind of mistake?” he asked. “All 4 of your tyres are fine.”

So, second time around, no charge.

They even changed a light bulb for me and refused to take any money for it.


I asked to speak to the manager – (Barry Douglas is his name – please, tell him that I sent you.)

Like everyone else I’d met in Magown Tyres, Barry was all about the customer experience.

So, I guess the secret is that there is no secret.

Everything they do is designed not only to deliver an excellent experience and “customer delight” but also to encourage advocacy.

Everything they did for me, was done so that I would not only return as a customer but that I would tell as many people as I possibly could.

Everything they did for me was, from Barry’s perspective, simple basic, entry-level customer service.

It’s the highest standard of customer service that I have experienced anywhere:
– empathetic and courteous customer facing staff
– efficient, professional and friendly technicians
– quick, turnaround, no time wasting
– a genuine “customer first” policy

As a customer, when I think about buying tyres, its price first, quality second and customer service a distant third.

Previous experience has programmed my expectation and through the behaviour of all of their staff, Magowan Tyres change that.

Barry and his team are not interested in turning a customer and making a few quid – it’s all about the lifetime value of that customer and the power they may have when it comes to referrals, advocacy, peer-to-peer or whatever you want to call it.

The customer experience is all very natural, transparent, authentic and sincere.

And refreshing.

I can testify to that.

Two visits, two cups of coffee, one free bulb fitted and a slow puncture fixed free of charge.

Authentic 5* customer service.

You should check them out – or let me know if you have experienced better?




Shift Control is a business growth consultancy based in Belfast and specialising in delivering bespoke sales training, marketing consultation and brand strategy to businesses throughout Ireland.

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