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Customer Retention (and how Autozone is doing it right)

I am an Autozone fan. I shop there for car parts almost exclusively. It's not soley because they are cheaper (though they typically are), it's because they take care of me. Any time I have an issue, it is resolved much faster, simpler, and more professionally then I expected.


Point in case: Two weeks ago the alternator in my 1999 Hyundai Sonata went out. No more electricity from mechanical energy for me! I got a new alternator from the Autozone in Spanish Fork. I got home (in Lehi) and pulled the old alternator out of my car. I went to install the new one and realized it was bound up and wouldn't turn. Great. A defective alternator.


I took both my old alternator and the new, broken one into the Autozone in American Fork. For some reason, they couldn't return my old alternator for the core ($50). They told me I had to go to the Autozone in SF. No biggie, I go down there once a week or so. But, like an idiot, I left my old alternator there. I had no core.


Yesterday I was in SF, so I stopped by the Autozone there. I walked in without my core expecting some long, drawn out process. They asked what they could do for me and I explained my situation. The employee helping typed some stuff in the computer, had me sign on their signiture pad, and gave me my $50 cash. Wow. I was flabbergasted. I was in and out in about 5 minutes. I was estatic. Autozone had reaffirmed my faith in them and not only retained me as a customer, they made me an even more loyal customer.


The art and science of customer retention is lost on many, many companies. Customer loyalty is so underrated. I love to see places take care of their customers. I am still, and likely always will be, an Autozone customer.