Birthday marketing

It has been a few weeks since my birthday. Yesterday I went to redeem one of my "birthday gifts" from a company I had business with before - Lim Tayar a company owned by CKL group of companies. I think i only had my wheels aligned or something but they kept my details and every year the send me this card:

Last year I didn't have enough time to use it (code for I forgot all about it and lost the card) but this year I had. And I did... yesterday. Since I de-modded my Jazz I haven't really paid much attention to it. The wheels I have now are used wheels after I traded my Japanese made wheels with my friend. At that time i was contemplating selling my car and going without a car for a few months but now I've decided to keep it and pay it off quickly instead. Anyways, the wheels have never been balanced and aligned since I got them so I thought to myself since it was free, why not right? So I went there and showed them the card and got the service fro free. I did an alignment as well which was an RM25 service since the wheels are coming off so I expected the bill to be RM25. When I got the bill, it was NOT RM25. It was RM34! hmmm... I queried & checked the bill and it turns out they charged for the lead weights they used to balanced the wheels! Only the service was free. RM8 for that and they also charge a service tax. So it all added up to RM34 something. Fair enough. It goes to show that when you're in the service industry, giving something for free does pay. It brings people to your shop and your sales guys can take it from there. Very clever.

I also got another one of these things from Honda Malaysia. The previous years they'd just give me a card with a book mark or fridge magnet. This year the got smart and gave me this:

Nice card, and opening it revealed not another tear out book mark, but this:

Hey hey hey... they got smart! They gave me a RM10 voucher off lube. Menial compared to the staff discount i get for Petronas lubes but you can see the trend. They're not trying to make money off us by pretending to do us a favour or acting like they're thoughtful and really care about us. Very clever but please remember, it is all a marketing gimmic and the bottom line is always profit.

By the way, the alignment and balancing job was really good so it's not all just trying to get money off you, the service can be good too...