23 July 2006


Tires are the only contact between a vehicle and the road. However, people seldom pay special attention to tire condition unless they are professional and experienced drivers. Some touchpoints are like tires. They are not obvious but have critical and significant power to affect results.

I had this tire blowout experience lately. When I was on my way to a dinner gathering, the front tire suddenly deflated rapidly. The car started to lose its balance, and since this was my first time, I had no idea how to deal with the situation. I wasn't nervous because the worst scenario was death which I don't care about much. After all, everyone has a deadline, and there is no exception for me. Not far away there was a carpark. I immediately pulled the car over, and took a taxi instead to the destination.

The next day my friend referred me to a tire maintenance center. Since he's a car expert, I visited the center without a second thought. That's the power of grapevine, or word of mouth. When I reached the center, the technician provided bad services, not to mention about the price premium for nothing. I couldn't decide if I should hire the deliverable because I knew for sure I could get the same quality of tire at a cheaper price elsewhere, but I needed to check the source and as a result incurred further transaction costs. Were that extra transaction costs worthwhile, given I should replace the bursted tire asap? My decision was pending, but the clock was also ticking...

Nobody is dumb enough to hire the exact same product at a higher cost. In order to enjoy positive experience, I opted for the next best alternative, which was not my friend's referral. Not only was the tire replaced but the vehicle was also inspected for problems. Some were fixed for better performance and security reasons at competitive cost.

When there is word of mouth, it still does not guarantee anything. Experience rules at the final point of decision.

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