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Need some advice on dealing with angry customers. I try to call the police as soon as things get out of control but it usually takes half an hour before they show up. It is really bad when another customer has to see this so I want to limit that. This is obviously for situations where we are in the right. (Stuff like we replaced a tire and now the car overheats)​

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that happens that often for you?

 

Remember these things:

 

the customer is always right, when we want them to be right. ---Meaning, we know some customers try and pull the wool over our eyes so we act accordingly.

 

dont raise your voice. ---raising your voice will cause them to raise their voice, thus turning a conversation into a heated argument. Raising your voice we never solve a problem.

 

Repeat your statement. ---you may need to repeat yourself more than once, when you do, say exactly the same way. Saying it differently or adding other things to your statement makes the person receiving it confused and frustrated.

 

Tell facts not stories. --- dont embelish, dont lie, dont tell them anything that isnt true because when they find out your really in hot water with them.

 

Be confident -- People have the ability to pick up the fact you dont know shit about what your saying, so dont say it unless you know what your talking about. If you dont know, tell them you dont know and then tell them you will find out.

 

Be polite. --- Always be polite. Some old schoolers may differ from this but we didnt have the internet back then either.

 

Put yourself in their shoes. -- they dont understands cars and the mechanics of those cars, you do, so its easy for you to get it that tires have nothing to do with the engine overheating, but THEY DONT, so understand that your are smarter than them in this field and teach them but dont teach them by being disrespectful or demeaning or treat them as they are dumb. Treat them better than you would treat yourself.

 

Lastly, do you really need to be arguing about this? If they are arguing about a few dollars, DONT lose a customer over it.

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All good information and I would hope those of us that have been in business for many years are following the above advice. I deal with low income customers driving older cars and many are clearly on durgs. I would guess we have to call the police once every 3 months. What I am asking is after we have done all the above and the customer is out of control.

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All good information and I would hope those of us that have been in business for many years are following the above advice. I deal with low income customers driving older cars and many are clearly on durgs. I would guess we have to call the police once every 3 months. What I am asking is after we have done all the above and the customer is out of control.

Charge more and quit working on junk.

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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I think I have the answer for anyone that may see this post later on. Changing my business model is not the answer. It is true that it would run most of these customers off but this is a very profitable business. I base that statement on the fact that I have been to several of the ATI seminars and my numbers are usually one of the best in the room. I am talking about percentages not dollars. There is money to be made in this market. I see post all the time about how we need to get rid of "those" customers but they have to go some where.

 

I spoke with another shop owner near me and then my attorney. In my state I have the legal right to use reasonable force to remove a customer from my property. That is what I was really after, if it gets to the point that I need to do this until the police show up I can.

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I think I have the answer for anyone that may see this post later on. Changing my business model is not the answer. It is true that it would run most of these customers off but this is a very profitable business. I base that statement on the fact that I have been to several of the ATI seminars and my numbers are usually one of the best in the room. I am talking about percentages not dollars. There is money to be made in this market. I see post all the time about how we need to get rid of "those" customers but they have to go some where.

 

I spoke with another shop owner near me and then my attorney. In my state I have the legal right to use reasonable force to remove a customer from my property. That is what I was really after, if it gets to the point that I need to do this until the police show up I can.

 

So you want to kick your customer's asses off your property lol

 

I wish I could do the same!

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At some point you have to weigh out the pros and cons of running such a business. If you accept the fact you are going to have upset customers due to working on shit cars and dealing with shit people then you just need to set some rules in place and have your guys follow them. I like my customer base paying $125+/hr so I typically only get 1-2 shitty customers a year. The rest self-sort and end up as someone else's problem... Just deal with them with respect and calmly get rid of them. I think anyone can be talked down from an escalated conversation with some patience and respect. Sometimes people just want to be heard so just listen and then educate them on the facts and what it will take to fix the cars problem.

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I've never called the cops on a customer. Knock on wood. I had some that needed a full dose of reality "I can't help you sir why are you still here?" But that's about it. If your business model is servicing buy here pay here type bottom feeders you'll need a better strategy than calling the police. Maybe a cage for a waiting room and full balance paid in cash before work begins.

 

I had a couple people want to fight me but I'm pretty big and not very angry so it never comes down to bare knuckle boxing. I'd probably lose anyway.

Edited by alfredauto
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Other than Druggies. Most people have other issues in life and a car problem becomes the last straw. Stating the facts and staying calm is important. I often ask the customer to show me what the problem is and i will take a look. Often i can offer to solve the problem that was not our fault for them at a fair price and give them a ride to where they need to be and pick them up when it is done. I've had many people apologize later and explain they just lost their mate, have cancer, lost their job,etc. A few could never be helped so i just had to wish them well.

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One situation where I had to call the police was someone trying to get something for nothing. I think they were practiced in pulling their scam. The other was someone who was unbalanced. She was convinced we had swapped out a tire on her car for a different tire. We hadn't and had no way to convince her and she wouldn't leave.

LOL I know what you mean. I had a lady come in for a tire rotation. We rotated the tires and she claimed we did not. We cross rotated them again while she watched and she started screaming/cursing that we did not rotate them. When a customer uses God's name in vain that is it they escorted off the premises. After she left i thought about it and i think she was looking at her hub caps which stayed in the same location. She came from the Doctors office/medical building across the street from where we have had many irrational customers come from. The medical assistants in that building all drive junk because they don't make much money and i think they dip into the meds.

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my experience.. in 6 years... called the cops once on a female driver (not a customer) that recently purchased the car from a customer of ours...she demanded FREE stuff.... and was blocking one of the lift, did not move the car ( a stretch limo!) .. I called the customer that sold her the car... took a while till he arrived and moved her out of premises.. cops came right at that moment.... 5-10 minutes of my time wasted....

another occasion, I threatened to call the cops on another female (customer this time) ... I moved her car to the front and asked her to leave 20 times while she was shouting at me in front of customers that were laughing at her ... finally she took off and I had some joy out of it with the customers that saw the whole incident for half an hour... both these occurred in the first 2 years of my ownership, nothing for the past 4+ years, knock on wood....

 

oh, and I almost forgot... within the first 6 months of me buying the shop, had two customers blaming me for wrong doing ( one was a price, the other I don't remember) .. I asked them to contact CA BAR... both cases resolved in my favor quickly...

 

I was ready to never accept these people back as customers, so it was an easy call to ask them to leave....

 

in my current customer portfolio, I don't think we have anyone that might take issues to that level... we charge a premium for our service and our prices are listed on a board openly and if they are not willing to sign the check in sheet with the estimate on it, we do not even move the car into the shop...

 

this is just my experience....when I moved the prices up within the first 12 months, I don't see these problem , free lunch seekers anymore... hope it stays that way

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The lower your prices are the more of this stuff you have. I haven't had anything like that for years except for an employee who went nuts.

Agreed. Our building is nicer looking and in a nice part of town. This attracts high end customers and scares away low-end customers. If you look expensive, it only attracts customers that are willing to pay for it.

 

I even test this theory out every time I get a ride in an Uber. Without fail, they will have their TPMS light on, maybe a CEL, and a few other odds and ends wrong with their vehicle, showing that it has clearly not been maintained. They don't know I own the shop, so I ask them, "you ever brought your car to that shop down the road to get that stuff looked at?" Without fail, they always reply, "oh no no, they look too expensive."

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First thing I do would to be listen to the clients concern then tell them I will call them tomorrow or set up a meeting with them to discuss our options - let the emotions die down , Secondly would have your camera system very plain in site to show the client they are being taped and or audio recorded. Or can pull your phone out and state we are going to record this issue.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         4 comments
      A recent study, done by Harvard Business School, concluded that the real problem with attracting and retaining employees has more to do with the workplace environment, not pay or benefits. While the study did find that an adequate pay plan and offering an attractive benefits package did help with recruiting and retention, it’s not enough to satisfy the needs of employees, especially those of front-line workers.
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