You did not over react. I would probably asked them to never come back as well. The customer isn't always right.
Last week we were asked to find a noise in a 2015 Mazda 3. The noise was coming from the transmission. What we found was that something had been ran over and smashed the transmission pan. When the customer picked up the car she was huffy and said she was going to get a second opinion. Seems her son-in-law had the car on a rack changing the oil and had seen no damage so we obviosuly must be either incompetent or lying. All in all her attitude was a stinker because: (1)We had charged nothing to look at the car and obviously that wasn't appreciated. (2)We suggested they contact their insurance and potentially turn this into an insurance claim (which we wouldn't do if we were trying to fabricate something because the insurance would have an adjuster look at it. (3) We had no reason to lie. I even offered to rack the car and show her which she declined. What she didn't realize is there is a plastic shield that covers the transmission pan. The shield is flexible enough to give, allow the pan to be damaged, and pop back in place. You do not remove the plastic shield to change the oil or filter. This customer was absolutely wrong in our attitude and conclusions. It would probably make me want to tell her I could set her up an appointment on the second Tuesday of next week.
I share Joe’s concern and believe that we will still continue to feel the economic turmoil that Covid has caused. To many variables in play right now with so many marginalized businesses that have tried to hang on but seem to be slowly dropping off and closing. I accept the fact that in many cases Covid did not directly cause the failure but in most cases it was the tipping point.
I'm intrigued at the "return at least twice". We generally ask the to return a week or two later for a single leak check. I'm guessing that you are just giving it more time to manifest. If you do find a leak in one of these checks and let's say replace a high side line, do you charge for the recharge a 2nd time? We bill for the new work only. We generally don't if it's in our leak check window. If they have a known leak, and they don't fix it, then the next recharge is on the customer again.
What it interesting is that this method of pressure leak checking, waiting to see if a leak is present, is (seemingly) wrong for 1234yf as the loss of refrigerant is too expensive. I'm trying to figure out how we will approach leak testing for 1234yf. We currently utilize dye and a leak detector (sniffer), but don't currently use CO2 or Dry NO2 pressure testing. There seems to be risk with over-pressurizing, when improperly used, by a careless tech. I'm considering a service + refrigerant charging model to deal with leaks after service. Much more work, and more expensive machine, so the service should be priced much higher. I've been hearing a low of $350 on Honda's to about $600 on trucks.
I do like your dual pricing model and might consider the same.
We all know the expression, "The Customer is always right." But is that really true?
The other day a customer walked over to my tech and starting to scream at him for failing the NY State annual inspection.
I intervened and told the customer to stop and get away from my employee. I also told him that I would not tolerate anyone yelling and screaming at one of my employees.
Should I have been more "reserved" and try to defuse the situation? Should I have "politely" listened to the customer's issue?
Have you been in this position and what would you do?
I know none of us wants to hear this, but there will be a next crisis of some sort. I have lived through many downturns in my 40 years in business, the COVID-19 was the worst. But, out of every crisis comes lessons to be learned. So create your Crisis Plan today.
Start by understanding your numbers and knowing your breakeven. Then add to your breakeven a percentage of profit you want to earn. Equally important is creating a cash reserve in a dedicated bank account that will be used only in a severe emergency. Set your financial goals and stick to them!
Often overlook is your staff. Assemble the best team around you. This is a crucial part to ensure your future business sucess.
Lower your debt, get your credit rating up and maintain a good standing with all vendors. Lastly, talk to your bank about a line of credit that can remain inactive until you need to use it.
What other key things can we all share to help us through the next crisis?
For R134 we charge a flat fee of $189.00 (includes the R134) for passenger cars and small SUV's. For Pickups, large SUV's and dual air, we charge $229.00.
We also inform every customer with a recharge that there is a leak, and they must return at least twice for us to check for leaks, which is included in the intitial price.
R1234 is a different ball game. Shops in my area (New York) are getting up to $550 for a recharge with the R1234
As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible. We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.
What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?