The mission of Tuffy Auto Centers is "to provide the best automotive service in the industry through a continuous commitment to quality and customer service." Lending the statement real meaning, Tuffy's president, Keenan Moran, brought the message into the shops--to the employees who interacted directly with customers. Then Tuffy held a series of specially designed weekend workshops for its technicians.

Not long afterward, during the holiday season, Art Rott, a Detroit-area Tuffy franchisee, was visited by a woman who needed work done on her car but could not afford the repairs. Rott offered to extend credit, but she managed to borrow the money she needed. When she picked up her car and asked how much she owed, Rott simply handed her the warranty and wished her a Merry Christmas.

When Rott refused the customer's repeated attempts to pay the bill, she called the Detroit Free Press. A reporter from the newspaper came out to Rott's shop, interviewed him, and ran a feature with his photo. Although he hadn't done the good deed for the publicity, Rott's fulfillment of the company's commitment to customer service was the perfect holiday gift--not only for the grateful customer, but also for the company.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing