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Example of why I hate dealing with the public


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At 63 and in business for 37 years this month I wonder more and more how long I want keep having mornings like this morning. Guy comes in yesterday and drops his car off for a tire repair. It need tires so I call him and tell him that. He says why don't we put a set on. I explain that I'll be glad to do that but he really only needs 2. He's grateful for the advice and decides on one of the 3 options I quote him. He asks when it will be done and I explain in an hour but if he wants to take advantage of the free alignment check he'll have to leave it for the day. He agrees so later in the day we proceed to check the alignment which is out badly. We try to contact the guy 3 times for an okay to proceed but he doesn't respond to our messages. Finally my service manager and I agree to go ahead and align the vehicle but we made sure to print before and after copies of the settings. When the guy comes in today he balks at paying for the alignment. I immediately tell him I'll deduct it from his bill. But then I explained that although our policy is not to go ahead without an authorization, we couldn't get a hold of him and took a chance that he would want it done. I then showed him the before and after readings. He didn't budge so I took it off his bill. But when running his credit card, I asked him if we had gotten a hold of him if he would have given an authorization and he said yes. So he was basically saying I would have paid for the alignment but since I have you in a bind, I'm going to take advantage of you. I so wanted to really give this guy a lecture but I bit my tongue and kept silent. I'm getting soft in my old age.

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no offense, but after 37 years you should know not to do that unless it is a customer that you have that kind of relationship with. You and your manager messed up, suck it up and move on, the customer is right, you shouldn't assume anything.

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You missed my point entirely. We took a chance that he would be okay with it. However, I told my service manager if he balked when paying his bill, we'd just take it off. I don't have a problem with him doing that at all. What does bother me is him saying he would have given the okay if we had been able to contact him. I would rather he have lied and said "no, it's an old car and I wouldn't have had it done".By saying he would have given an okay he's basically saying I can take advantage of you and the situation and I will.

Edited by tyrguy
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no offense, but after 37 years you should know not to do that unless it is a customer that you have that kind of relationship with. You and your manager messed up, suck it up and move on, the customer is right, you shouldn't assume anything.

You're out of line with this comment. He lead with what he thought was right, the customer admitted he would have approved it, and all your comment proves is that you're as big a tool as the deadbeat customer this guy tried to help.

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You're out of line with this comment. He lead with what he thought was right, the customer admitted he would have approved it, and all your comment proves is that you're as big a tool as the deadbeat customer this guy tried to help.

 

so your saying that he posted so that we would come here and give him a pat on the back and cheer him up with joy joy feelings? I guess they should add in the post that, its not about OUR opinions when posting that its about saying what he wants to hear.

 

A customer took advantage of the situation, shocker. Seems to me he brought this on himself with a terrible question to ask the customer, if he is so upset about the guys answer then he should not be asking those questions to begin with. There is nothing he can do to change that situation. He can leave it peaceful with the customer and see him again and again for service or he can get in a pissing match with him and never get another penny out of it.

Another thing, i would have NEVER asked that customer that question, because if that situation happened to me and the service guy asked me that question and i gave that answer, i would never go back to that facility as i would think he would try and screw me the next time i came in.

 

So again, i think it was a bad call to ask that question and again, you made a bad choice, get past it and move on with a learning experience.

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Learning experience? Bad choice? I don't feel we made a bad call at all. If it happened again next week, I'd do the same thing. Because the fact is, most reasonable people would say i'm sorry you couldn't get a hold of me and thank you for proceeding with the alignment. My tech gets paid .5 hours to do a free alignment check so all it cost me was an extra .3 hours to have him make the adjustments. I wasn't looking for sympathy, I was just venting about having to deal with characters like this guy that we all encounter way too much. If the question bothered the guy it's because he knows he was wrong. Fact is I don't think the question bothered him at all and that's the problem. He's oblivious to how he came across.

Edited by tyrguy
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tyrguy, to start, I agree with your entire process as you've posted it. Somebody had to make the decision - you did - and unfortunately it "bit" you. With all that said... I have to tell you that I learnt to create the rules - and follow them without ever bending them.

 

As an example, we did a lot of AC work. Diagnosis was charged at .5 hours - but refunded to the job when it was done. That means refunded if you do the job tomorrow, next week, next month. Didn't matter.

 

So the client picks the car up at 5:00pm... and agrees to bring the car back the next morning for the work. We still collected the diagnosis fee. Yes, it was somewhat difficult... and the customer did press to get it free seeing that he was coming back... but I learnt (before that) that you've got to stick to your guns. No matter what policy, you've got to stick to it.

 

The client did return and all was good... but the fact is you've got to get paid.

 

Hope this helps!

Matthew Lee

"The Car Count Fixer"

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How about this, next time you offer a free alignment check get the authorization for the alignment if it is out. This way your not out and the customer is not surprised.

Richard

Richard, of course that makes sense and I try to do that when I remember to. In this case it was dropped off with no appointment for a tire repair that led to a tire sale. When I sold the tires over the phone I said we would do a free alignment check if we could fit it in. Just one of those busy times when you don't think about it and figure you'll call the guy if it's out. Most times that I think to get a pre-authorization the customer either says to go ahead or to check it and call them if it's out. In the rare instance a customer would decline the alignment before it's even checked, the question would be to the customer why do you want to check it if you're not going to fix it? After this situation I indeed had a talk with my guys about pre-authorizing to keep this from happening again. I can tell you though, I've had similar situations in the past where we didn't go ahead with the repair and the customer was not happy because it wasn't done. The only reason I started this thread was it was frustrating and who better to unload on than your peers who understand.

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I feel your pain. I am 61 and have been in the business for 45 years also. Has happened a few times to me. Only thought I have when it happens is what comes around goes around and that persons karma will show some time in their life. Get pissed and move on. At least now a days we have a place to vent.

On another note, have you gotten into texting yet? I find I have a 90% answer rate with texting and only about a 50/50 chance with the phone any more. We ask every customer at write up if we can text them. Phone return calls with voice mail average about 2-3 hours, texting about 7 minutes. Set up a texting system for our shops for about $13 a month and can be used on any computer in the shop.

Richard

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How about this, next time you offer a free alignment check get the authorization for the alignment if it is out. This way your not out and the customer is not surprised.

Richard

That's a great idea. I find times where I will think like this when talking situations with customers who are leaving the vehicle with us. The texting is a good option that may help. I've done many a necessary repair for a customer we can't get ahold of and I've never had a problem with a customer not wanting to pay for it - but I've also not done some repairs because my 'gut' tells me that I'm either not going to get paid or they're the type like the OP's customer. Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I'm right. And the OP has every right to complain about this customer. There's what's right and there's what's not right. The guy took advantage of nice business shop owner and should feel guilty about it. The LMCCA comment was out of line but I'm sure he didn't mean badly by it.

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That's a great idea. I find times where I will think like this when talking situations with customers who are leaving the vehicle with us. The texting is a good option that may help. I've done many a necessary repair for a customer we can't get ahold of and I've never had a problem with a customer not wanting to pay for it - but I've also not done some repairs because my 'gut' tells me that I'm either not going to get paid or they're the type like the OP's customer. Sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I'm right. And the OP has every right to complain about this customer. There's what's right and there's what's not right. The guy took advantage of nice business shop owner and should feel guilty about it. The LMCCA comment was out of line but I'm sure he didn't mean badly by it.

Sorry, too old school for the acronyms. OP? LMCCA?

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Please do not take my post as any sort of disrespect, just my humble opinion.

 

 

I totally understand the situation as explained. In my opinion you are both wrong and to go further, as a business owner and a leader you are 100% the person to blame. I hope you can follow me on this... The customer was obviously being a douchey customer. We have all experienced and it happens. For whatever reason maybe his personality, maybe you didn't build rapport with him, whatever the case is he is not what I would consider a client and not a customer. A client to me is someone that we give our best effort and in turn we buy a little good will on their part. Customers are totally "what have you done for me lately" types and will more likely take advantage of situations that best suit them.

 

Now to be fair, the reason that this situation happened is totally your fault. As a business owner and a leader you have to recognize that anything and everything that goes wrong in your business is your fault. As outlined in other posts, you should have a Standard Operating Procedure which I would assume entails no work to be done without prior authorization. If this is a common problem of alignment checks and waiting on approvals, you could have a SOP that gets you a pre approval at the time of drop off. Whatever your SOP is, you should have it written down and it should be followed. If you are deviating from SOPs that are in place to reduce this type of thing from happening you only have yourself to blame. The guy could have been an even bigger douche but it could have all been avoided if you had done what you were suppose to do from the beginning.

 

I hate to be someone who is beating you up over this. The only reason I am is I have been there. Hell I still complain about douchey customers but anything that allows them to take anything away from my business is my fault.

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Please do not take my post as any sort of disrespect, just my humble opinion.

 

 

I totally understand the situation as explained. In my opinion you are both wrong and to go further, as a business owner and a leader you are 100% the person to blame. I hope you can follow me on this... The customer was obviously being a douchey customer. We have all experienced and it happens. For whatever reason maybe his personality, maybe you didn't build rapport with him, whatever the case is he is not what I would consider a client and not a customer. A client to me is someone that we give our best effort and in turn we buy a little good will on their part. Customers are totally "what have you done for me lately" types and will more likely take advantage of situations that best suit them.

 

Now to be fair, the reason that this situation happened is totally your fault. As a business owner and a leader you have to recognize that anything and everything that goes wrong in your business is your fault. As outlined in other posts, you should have a Standard Operating Procedure which I would assume entails no work to be done without prior authorization. If this is a common problem of alignment checks and waiting on approvals, you could have a SOP that gets you a pre approval at the time of drop off. Whatever your SOP is, you should have it written down and it should be followed. If you are deviating from SOPs that are in place to reduce this type of thing from happening you only have yourself to blame. The guy could have been an even bigger douche but it could have all been avoided if you had done what you were suppose to do from the beginning.

 

I hate to be someone who is beating you up over this. The only reason I am is I have been there. Hell I still complain about douchey customers but anything that allows them to take anything away from my business is my fault.

Absolutely my fault, and I readily accept that fact. And I didn't mind making it right by giving the service away at no charge. And if the customer had said it's an old car, or I can't afford it I wouldn't have thought anything of it. It was just the fact that he admitted he would have had given the authorization that got under my skin.

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Absolutely my fault, and I readily accept that fact. And I didn't mind making it right by giving the service away at no charge. And if the customer had said it's an old car, or I can't afford it I wouldn't have thought anything of it. It was just the fact that he admitted he would have had given the authorization that got under my skin.

 

Yup the guy completely sucked. I'm not sure how you handle those types of shitty people but I will put a smile on my face, give them the best service and never ever book them again.

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LMCCA is the guy who was out of line with the OP (Original Poster)... :) OP is you :)

 

so, since i said the same thing as mspec but said it first, im the one out of line, lol. Im not out of line, he had a procedure in place, he chose to go outside of that, it bit him and he is mad because a customer took him on it. Big deal, if this bothers you guys so much you should stop airing this kind of stuff. I tell it like it is, like several others on here. Cry to someone else.

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so, since i said the same thing as mspec but said it first, im the one out of line, lol. Im not out of line, he had a procedure in place, he chose to go outside of that, it bit him and he is mad because a customer took him on it. Big deal, if this bothers you guys so much you should stop airing this kind of stuff. I tell it like it is, like several others on here. Cry to someone else.

OP was looking for a little empathy over a situation that he knows was on him. You come out of the gate telling him he's at fault and to suck it up. He's been in this business for longer than I ever will and from your post I'd guess a lot longer than you have as well. His customer was, unfortunately, an a$$ and took the slightly open door to stick it to him. There's a thing called common decency that our society used to have which I find sad, unfortunate, and sometimes both. For you to pile on this shop owner in a friendly forum looking for advice, tips, and empathy is why I took offense by your post. I don't expect you to understand but someday when you grow up a little and experience some hardship you might think back on your younger 'tough-guy tell it like it is' persona and feel a little touch of embarrassment.

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hmm, i think i would pick a different place for empathy, thought this was for business. I keep forgetting how sensitive people have become, i weep for the people of this country, been so wrong over the years. Ill say a prayer for you both and hope your feelings are better tomorrow. :rolleyes:

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OP was looking for a little empathy over a situation that he knows was on him. You come out of the gate telling him he's at fault and to suck it up. He's been in this business for longer than I ever will and from your post I'd guess a lot longer than you have as well. His customer was, unfortunately, an a$$ and took the slightly open door to stick it to him. There's a thing called common decency that our society used to have which I find sad, unfortunate, and sometimes both. For you to pile on this shop owner in a friendly forum looking for advice, tips, and empathy is why I took offense by your post. I don't expect you to understand but someday when you grow up a little and experience some hardship you might think back on your younger 'tough-guy tell it like it is' persona and feel a little touch of embarrassment.

LMCCA'S comments don't bother me. It's all good. I just like having this forum as a place to go and vent a little to guys that know what I'm going thru every day. Yes, I go home and tell the little lady, or talk to my brother the school teacher. But NO ONE understands what we go thru better than our compadres on a forum such as this. Whether it's seeking advice, or just venting, I feel like I'm in an auditorium with all of you where I can stand up take the floor and speak my mind. And because of who you all are and what you do, I respect your opinion more than anybody else.

Edited by tyrguy
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LMCCA'S comments don't bother me. It's all good. I just like having this forum as a place to go and vent a little to guys that know what I'm going thru every day. Yes, I go home and tell the little lady, or talk to my brother the school teacher. But NO ONE understands what we go thru better than our compadres on a forum such as this. Whether it's seeking advice, or just venting, I feel like I'm in an auditorium with all off you where I can stand up take the floor and speak my mind. And because of who you all are and what you do, I respect your opinion more than anybody else.

My apologies to the group

 

hmm, i think i would pick a different place for empathy, thought this was for business. I keep forgetting how sensitive people have become, i weep for the people of this country, been so wrong over the years. Ill say a prayer for you both and hope your feelings are better tomorrow. :rolleyes:

Dude, no worries, you can have empathy and still be a strong businessman. I shouldn't have come at you. Best to you.

Edited by 3PuttFever
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I do NOTHING with out documentation, either a signed RO or documented phone call date & time. Every customer knows what they will pay when they drop off,

no It is not easy but there are no 5 oclock arguments over price.

Yup it sucks that is how we make money, NOTHING for free.

 

I always say try to go to your next restaurant meal & ask for a free apple pie, whats that cost them, $1.00 & sells for $5.95??? GOOD LUCK. So why do we give away a free align? or anything.

Dave

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Hey Tyrguy, I feel you. There are customers that just want to take advantage of every single situation and suck every last penny out of you. My example was from last week.... had a comeback for a bad wheel bearing over 3 months after it was done.... but instead of coming back to me, they take it to another shop. We have a good relationship with that shop and they said it was no big deal (2 of the 3 bolts for the hub were loose) and they tightened everything up. Once I found out that they fixed our comeback (for free byw, customer was not charged at all), I offered the customer $40 for goodwill for the inconvenience. They said no and wanted money back for the entire job. Offered them $70 (labor for the wheel bearing) because I did not want a pissed off customer even though it was evident they wouldn't be my customer anymore but they turned that down because they wanted their money back for the whole ticket (we also did inner tie rods on that ticket). They wanted money back for their entire ticket and money for time missed time off of work and threatened to sue me. Well, I am probably going to end up in small-claims court.

 

I obviously have the signed invoice with our warranty agreement. 24mo 24k mile warranty to be done at our shop only. So not really worried and I thought I did the best I could in this situation. Yea, I hate the public too

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I do NOTHING with out documentation, either a signed RO or documented phone call date & time. Every customer knows what they will pay when they drop off,

no It is not easy but there are no 5 oclock arguments over price.

Yup it sucks that is how we make money, NOTHING for free.

 

I always say try to go to your next restaurant meal & ask for a free apple pie, whats that cost them, $1.00 & sells for $5.95??? GOOD LUCK. So why do we give away a free align? or anything.

Dave

We never give alignments away for free. With the purchase of 2 or more tires we do give away a free alignment check. My records show that 70-75% of the vehicles will need the alignment touched up. Very few people opt to not have it adjusted after putting new tires on. The Hunter printout helps with the closing of the sale.

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Hey Tyrguy, I feel you. There are customers that just want to take advantage of every single situation and suck every last penny out of you. My example was from last week.... had a comeback for a bad wheel bearing over 3 months after it was done.... but instead of coming back to me, they take it to another shop. We have a good relationship with that shop and they said it was no big deal (2 of the 3 bolts for the hub were loose) and they tightened everything up. Once I found out that they fixed our comeback (for free byw, customer was not charged at all), I offered the customer $40 for goodwill for the inconvenience. They said no and wanted money back for the entire job. Offered them $70 (labor for the wheel bearing) because I did not want a pissed off customer even though it was evident they wouldn't be my customer anymore but they turned that down because they wanted their money back for the whole ticket (we also did inner tie rods on that ticket). They wanted money back for their entire ticket and money for time missed time off of work and threatened to sue me. Well, I am probably going to end up in small-claims court.

 

I obviously have the signed invoice with our warranty agreement. 24mo 24k mile warranty to be done at our shop only. So not really worried and I thought I did the best I could in this situation. Yea, I hate the public too

You have nothing to worry about except losing the customer which in this case might be a plus. Your warranty was explicit in that they had to return to you for warranty work. It only makes common sense that they would be required to do that unless they were out of town and couldn't get to your shop. Your $40 goodwill offer was a correct response.

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Hey Tyrguy, I feel you. There are customers that just want to take advantage of every single situation and suck every last penny out of you. My example was from last week.... had a comeback for a bad wheel bearing over 3 months after it was done.... but instead of coming back to me, they take it to another shop. We have a good relationship with that shop and they said it was no big deal (2 of the 3 bolts for the hub were loose) and they tightened everything up. Once I found out that they fixed our comeback (for free byw, customer was not charged at all), I offered the customer $40 for goodwill for the inconvenience. They said no and wanted money back for the entire job. Offered them $70 (labor for the wheel bearing) because I did not want a pissed off customer even though it was evident they wouldn't be my customer anymore but they turned that down because they wanted their money back for the whole ticket (we also did inner tie rods on that ticket). They wanted money back for their entire ticket and money for time missed time off of work and threatened to sue me. Well, I am probably going to end up in small-claims court.

 

I obviously have the signed invoice with our warranty agreement. 24mo 24k mile warranty to be done at our shop only. So not really worried and I thought I did the best I could in this situation. Yea, I hate the public too

 

 

As you grow you will deal with this type of thing. In reference to your other thread, I think you will notice that once you increase your labor rate you'll start to see the bottom feeder customers drop off. Also as you grow you'll be able to spot them. Let the junk shops that are going nowhere deal with that headache.

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We had a fun couple in today. Well, Mrs brought it in and Mr called about six times saying to do this and do that. No, my Manager tells Mr we have to test and verify before we go on and put fuel pumps and filters on a car as you're instructing. We agree to run tests, test drive, and they agree to pay for diag time. They call back wanting an oil change, too. We test drive, run tests and find issue (not a fuel pump). They say we're screwing them over with our charge for diag time now. We explain our process and what's involved. Mr is ok with it. Mrs then comes in and starts in on my Manager. He's polite, listens, and explains it all over again. She starts throwing F bombs at him, my shop, and our 'tactics'.

 

I tell my Manager to go in the shop and get the car down and ready while I soften the situation. She understands and insists on paying after I tell him I'm going to let this go for nothing today. She cries. When I go to back the car out and bring to her at the front my Tech says he chalk-marked a tire where there was a gash in the tire that might become a problem. We didn't complete our oil change and stopped what we were doing when the F bombs started. I bring the car around and tell her thanks and that she should get the tire looked at. I show her and she accuses us of doing it. 'Listen, I'm being nice here and you're out of line. I'm sorry I can't help you and I hope you find another shop that can make you happier." F you, F this place blah blah blah. Merry Christmas and drive safe! Wow

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We had a fun couple in today. Well, Mrs brought it in and Mr called about six times saying to do this and do that. No, my Manager tells Mr we have to test and verify before we go on and put fuel pumps and filters on a car as you're instructing. We agree to run tests, test drive, and they agree to pay for diag time. They call back wanting an oil change, too. We test drive, run tests and find issue (not a fuel pump). They say we're screwing them over with our charge for diag time now. We explain our process and what's involved. Mr is ok with it. Mrs then comes in and starts in on my Manager. He's polite, listens, and explains it all over again. She starts throwing F bombs at him, my shop, and our 'tactics'.

 

I tell my Manager to go in the shop and get the car down and ready while I soften the situation. She understands and insists on paying after I tell him I'm going to let this go for nothing today. She cries. When I go to back the car out and bring to her at the front my Tech says he chalk-marked a tire where there was a gash in the tire that might become a problem. We didn't complete our oil change and stopped what we were doing when the F bombs started. I bring the car around and tell her thanks and that she should get the tire looked at. I show her and she accuses us of doing it. 'Listen, I'm being nice here and you're out of line. I'm sorry I can't help you and I hope you find another shop that can make you happier." F you, F this place blah blah blah. Merry Christmas and drive safe! Wow

 

 

Really disturbed people!!!

 

I had a guy tell us we should close down because we didn't know a price for a particular job off the top of our head. When we asked why he would say that he said, "doesn't seem that you know what you are doing." Then when we proceed to ask him for info and phone number he says, "You don't need that, I just need a price." Very thick west indian accent. Majority of our clients are immigrants and dealing with different cultures and how messed up people are after they have obviously had a terrible upbringing is a challenge. I get pissed off just hearing the stories even though I don't even deal with the customers!

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I feel your pain. I am 61 and have been in the business for 45 years also. Has happened a few times to me. Only thought I have when it happens is what comes around goes around and that persons karma will show some time in their life. Get pissed and move on. At least now a days we have a place to vent.

On another note, have you gotten into texting yet? I find I have a 90% answer rate with texting and only about a 50/50 chance with the phone any more. We ask every customer at write up if we can text them. Phone return calls with voice mail average about 2-3 hours, texting about 7 minutes. Set up a texting system for our shops for about $13 a month and can be used on any computer in the shop.

Richard

And it creates a record of the conversation, unlike a phone call.

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I do a fair amount of work without authorization. I chalk it up to common sense. When a customer trusts me to fix their car I fix it. If a put on a couple tires and a tie rod is shot and I can't get a hold of them I'll put a tie rod end in. What's the alternative? Have them come back after they ruined the new tires in a month?

 

I try my hardest to get authorization by text, phone messages, you name it but sometimes I just make an executive decision. I think you were right by aligning the car. I would have done the same.

 

At our shop we believe in humanity. Can someone lawyer their way out of paying a bill? Sure, and it has happened, but I'll hang it up before I have to distrust every person that walks through my door. Common sense dictates that the alignment is cheaper than ruining new tires.

 

Someone once said though "never let the guy selling you tires do the alignment"

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour
       


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