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Gonzo

Once, Twice, Three Times - How many times do you have to tell someone something until they get it.

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Once, Twice, Three Times

Have you ever noticed when explaining something to a customer who doesn't like your answer, you end up explaining things at least 3 times? Why is that? After all these years I still haven't figured it out completely. I feel like I'm talking to my kids when they were younger. My kids would argue over the silliest things. Mainly, because they thought they were right, even though they never had a clue what they truly were arguing about.

 

I could explain things in several different ways, and they'll ask their questions in several different ways. None of it ever worked. Because, it didn't matter how they ask their questions, the answers always came out the same.

 

Take for example this "not so interested in spending a dime with me customer" that came in. Seems he had a problem with one of his grandson's cars, and Grandpa was one of those guys who kept the kin folks cars up and running. He wasn't about to bend and let somebody else fix one of the family's personal rides… that was his job. But he was stuck on this one, he didn't have an answer to the problem it was having.

 

He carefully explained to me that the wiper motor was running but the blades weren't moving. But rather than asking me what I thought was wrong with the wipers he asked a direct question to which I was to give him a direct answer.

 

"Is there a shear pin on these wiper linkage arms?"

 

Now I know there isn't one, they haven't used a shear pin in years. I haven't seen one used in a decade or so. This guy was so sure of himself there was no need in asking me anything in regards to what was wrong with the wipers, he understood how they worked he just wanted his question answered. His question was so direct and said in such a "direct" way… I gave him his direct answer.

 

"No sir, there is no shear pin in this wiper system."

 

I find it very interesting how people will explain a system in such detail, and then almost get to the point of solving the problem without even realizing it. Some people will get stuck on one issue they are "certain" IS the problem, and will not budge off of that topic.

 

"Well, there must be…. because the blades are not moving."

 

"I could get it in the shop and diagnose it for you."

 

This isn't the line of questioning he wanted any part of. He wanted free answers. Oh I'll give him answers, but only to the questions that he specifically asks. The solution was a simple one… let me diagnose it…, but he didn't want that at all, he wanted his question answered.

 

I guess I could have told him what was actually wrong with it, but why? Why am I unlocking the door to the shop every morning? Why am I standing here with grease under my fingernails a couple of scanners and dollar after dollar wrapped up in diagnostic information? Oh, that's right… I'm an auto mechanic; I fix cars for a living. You know, I'll bet this guy gets up in the morning and goes to work too. But for some reason some people don't make the connection between paycheck and the automotive mechanic. I've even been told that I make more than they do, and that isn't right. Really? So my choice of professions should be offset with your choice of income? Let's not go there people… I guess they never heard of overhead costs, equipment costs, payrolls, etc… etc… etc….

 

Each time this fella would ask about the linkage, the wiper motor, or the blades he eventually would come back to the shear pin again. Around and around it went. I wasn't budging or offering any free advice and neither was he. I finally told the guy, "Look, I'm not looking at your car for free, and I don't feel it's my place to tell you how to fix it… this is what I do for a living you know."

 

"Oh, I understand, I wouldn't ask you to do it for nothing… but what do you think, replacing the shear pin would fix it right?"

 

Do I need to write this down for this guy? I know I'm past the 3rd time of telling him… there is no shear pin, and NO, I don't think he understands that I charge to fix cars. I can't get it through this knuckle head's skull. I'll fix the darn thing in the parking lot with one turn of a wrench, if this guy would stop trying to insult my profession by asking me to tell him how to make the repairs vs. my getting paid to do the same.

 

I guess he finally realized I wasn't going to solve his shear pin problem with a conversation in the front office. Out the door and down the road he went. A few days later he was back, book in hand with the pages marked.

 

"There's no shear pin in this wiper linkage. But I still don't see the problem," he tells me, "Can you fix it? I brought the book for you, I even marked the pages."

 

"I'll write it up and have it done in just a bit. You can wait in the lobby for it."

 

He agreed, and I went straight to work. It took me longer to fill out the invoice than it did to tighten the nut on the wiper arms. I marked the page that showed the nut and how it held down the wiper arms for him. Hopefully, he'll understand the repair now. Oh don't worry, I "did" charge him for my time, not much mind you… I wanted to prove to this guy that it takes more than a book to fix a car these days. (Even though this didn't take a whole lot of brain power to solve this simple wiper problem.)

 

Every now and then this old timer will come back to the shop. He does the same thing over and over each time. He'll try to solve the problem with his own logic, and then get frustrated with me because I won't tell him how he can fix it at home. A few days go by; he'll cool off and leave me the car. You'd think once, twice, maybe three times of my telling him, he'd get the idea… but no……………………………………..

 

He'll keep repeating the whole process… over and over again.

 

 

 

 

As always these stories are here for your enjoyment and before final editing. Your comments are a part of the process to tell which stories make it to the editors desk. It's your comments that help decide which stories actually get into my columns across the country.

Take a moment, leave a comment... it always helps.

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Bringing you the book got to me. I can't tell you how angry I get when a customer drops off their car for a repair and says, "Oh, by the way, I left the BOOK on the front seat". As if, without that book, I couldn't find my way around his car.

 

What arrogance and lack of respect for what we do. And today it’s worse; they bring us pages of information downloaded from the internet. I wonder if it’s lack of confidence, or maybe they don’t think we have the brain power.

 

I wonder if people bring books and downloaded pages to their doctor???

 

What's more amazing, people are people no matter where you go!

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LOL... There's not much else can make me smile as to read your posts Joe. Somehow I find a way to get you riled up... LOL

 

AND YES!!!! When they have to leave that F'n book on the passenger seat opened and marked to the page for me it REALLY REALLY pisses me OFF. I generaly toss the thing into the back seat. Your right when you said, "Bring books and downloaded pages to their doctor." I can't imagine anyone ever doing that. But they sure as hell do it at the repair shop. What gives with people that can't remember they brought their car to a professional.?!?!?

 

Treat me like one, and watch what ya get.

 

This type of guy I was referring to in the article is a typical type of DIY'r that was way out of his prime. He probably should have quit working on them years ago. As I've said before, I'm here to fix cars... not teach the public... you wanna learn how to fix cars... go back to school. I'm not your teacher...

 

Thanx Joe... always a pleasure to read your comments.

 

Bringing you the book got to me. I can't tell you how angry I get when a customer drops off their car for a repair and says, "Oh, by the way, I left the BOOK on the front seat". As if, without that book, I couldn't find my way around his car.

 

What arrogance and lack of respect for what we do. And today it's worse; they bring us pages of information downloaded from the internet. I wonder if it's lack of confidence, or maybe they don't think we have the brain power.

 

I wonder if people bring books and downloaded pages to their doctor???

 

What's more amazing, people are people no matter where you go!

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Bringing you the book got to me. I can't tell you how angry I get when a customer drops off their car for a repair and says, "Oh, by the way, I left the BOOK on the front seat". As if, without that book, I couldn't find my way around his car.

 

What arrogance and lack of respect for what we do. And today its worse; they bring us pages of information downloaded from the internet. I wonder if its lack of confidence, or maybe they dont think we have the brain power.

 

I wonder if people bring books and downloaded pages to their doctor???

 

What's more amazing, people are people no matter where you go!

 

They have no clue on how much we spend on scan tools, AllData, Identifix, Mitchell, etc. Do they?

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I don't even want to guess how much I've spent over the years on equipment, scanners, info..etc... My account might be able to tell me the value of all of it... but I sure don't have a clue. I'll make a bet with ya... it's probably a lot more than this guy invested in that friggin book...

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I don't even want to guess how much I've spent over the years on equipment, scanners, info..etc... My account might be able to tell me the value of all of it... but I sure don't have a clue. I'll make a bet with ya... it's probably a lot more than this guy invested in that friggin book...

 

Let me make you guys sick, I did the math. As part of a local TECH NET Council Meeting, a panel of shop owners sat down and calculated the cost of scanners, tech pay, updates, training, Identifix and/or IATN, Mitchell and/or Alldata and OE sites. We also calculated the average number of Diag jobs each shop did per year and divided all the associated costs of performing a diag problem into the numbers of jobs.

 

We also calculated the average time it took to perform a typical diagnosis. What did we find? The cost to perform the average check engine light of similar diagnostic analysis is $110.00 for one hour's work. That means to make a profit on diagnostic labor, you will need to charge a least $170.00 per hour for diagnostic work to make a profit. (Espcially if you do not get any repairs from the analysis)

 

Now, when you realize that a brake pad/rotor replacement can be done in less than 30 minutes, and most shops charge any way from $75.00 to $150.00 labor for that brake job, we start to understand why diagnostic work should not be given away. OR DO MORE BRAKE JOBS…. one or the other!

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