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Who can you trust - politics and mechanics


Gonzo

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Who can you trust?

With all the presidential debating and finger pointing, who can you trust? You listen, you observe, and you contemplate on which candidate is more likely to solve the issues. Then, after listening to the candidates you make your decision as to which way to go.

Although, when it comes to car repair most people want to rely on what they’ve been told by someone who claims to be a mechanic far more than the promises from someone who claims to be a politician. However, not everything you hear about car repair is presidential material either. You’ve got to keep in mind where and who that information is coming from.

People come to repair shops all the time with some sort of wild and zany claim from another mechanic. Sometimes their interpretation of what the last mechanic told them has been skewed by their vague recollection of the facts. Occasionally, it does take some sorting out, but even then it can still leave some doubt as to what the real issue is.

The mere mention of a code number brings on all kinds of interpretations, and a lot of trust is put into the first person who reads the service code. Now, if that’s the guy whose job it is to sell parts but offers free code checks I’m a bit skeptic. (Sounds more like the politician telling you that there will be a chicken in every pot.) Then, with attributes of a politician’s speech they’ll tell the consumer all about the repair procedures and make promises they can’t keep. All the while, the unwarily consumer puts full faith in the explanation.

When they finally get to a real repair shop the real problem begins when the mechanic tells them, “I’ll need to diagnose it in order see what’s going on.” It starts a chain reaction of doubt and disbelief. And, of course, the customer is wondering, “Who should I trust?” The guy at the parts store that told me all about the repair or this mechanic who doesn’t trust the first guy’s results?

How do you undo what has already been done by the guy reading the code and making promises they can’t keep. On the other hand, if the mechanic involved in the repair is perfectly capable of doing the repair and has all the needed equipment to properly diagnose and perform the repair, (those things the first guy may have lacked) then why is it so hard for the consumer to make the connection that the first guy may not have the complete answers after all?

Even if the code reader guy is dead right and it’s merely a problem of being properly equipped to make the repair, why is it so hard for the second mechanic to get past the paper work in the front office? It’s the politics of business I guess. I mean seriously, if doctor “A” sends you to doctor “B” chances are they are still going to re-diagnose the patient. It’s really no different for the second mechanic. They’ve got to re-check the first mechanic’s results to verify the problem.

Doubt has to be factored into all of this too. Some people will still hold onto their first choice for political office even after they’ve been proven wrong by other sources. Sometimes, it’s the same way the consumer feels about the first mechanic who looked at their car. They may feel that he knows what he’s doing, and there’s a chance this second mechanic may not know what he’s doing, but in order to go any further the consumer has to vote for either the first guy or the second guy. Either way, it’s going to cost them to find out, and just like in an election, you’re stuck with the results until you can change it again.

You would think things like certifications all over the walls, testimonials from previous customers, or online reviews would help. But, not all the time. It still comes down to how a particular person feels about the mechanic (or politician) their talking to. One off comment to the consumer and it becomes a deal breaker. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was just their mannerism, but whatever the reason is, it still comes down to, “Who can you trust?”

Maybe, what good mechanics and service writers need is somebody who can see things from both sides of the counter. Someone who can relate to the customer, but at the same time someone who can talk mechanic talk. You know, a politically correct advisor. A lot of companies offer these types of services, and for the most part they do a great job of softening the edge between the consumer and mechanic. But, just to be politically correct, check them out before you vote for your choice.

Political speeches aside, it still comes down to the technician with the wrenches out in the service bay. Can they do the job, do they have the skills, and can they keep their promises. A good mechanic, male or female, may not always be the best speaker, or the most popular, or have the most politically correct demeanor. But, what they do have is those skills that make them a good technician, and quite frankly, the best for the job. They’ll get my vote every time. Then again, especially for the consumer, be informed, educate yourself about what is going on with your car and find a mechanic that you’re happy with. Because, it all comes down to “Who can you trust”.


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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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