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Joe Marconi

When Things Go Wrong

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When Things Go Wrong

(Handling Unhappy Customers)


I wish I could say that my shop has never had an unhappy customer. But the truth is, from time to time, we have dropped the ball, resulting in a very ugly situation with a customer. We have all been there.


Following a few guidelines will help you through a difficult situation:


*First, let the customer speak. Don’t interrupt or try to defend yourself. This only makes matters worse. Let them talk as long as they want. Venting will actually make it easier to resolve the problem.

*If possible, bring the customer into your office, away from other customers or staff members

*Stay calm at all times. Do not get into a debate with the customer.

*After the customer is finished speaking, empathize with the customer and apologize. It does not matter who is right or wrong at this point. If the customer is upset, this must be dealt with first.

*Review the problem with the customer to make sure you completely understand the problem. Make the customer know that you understand the problem and want to make things right.

*If this is a comeback, do all you can do repair the car as quick as possible

*For other situations, you will need to resolve the problem. First, ask the customer what they would like see done to make things right. Sometimes their solution is reasonable and something you can live with. If the request seems unreasonable, you will need to negotiate a resolution.

*Remember, you need to maintain a professional position and do what you need to do to solve the problem, even at the chance that you may lose that customer.

*Do a follow up, no longer than a few days, to insure that the problem was resolved to the customer satisfaction.


PLEASE NOTE; there have been times when customers were completely off-base and wrong. I have had people argue with me at the front counter in an abusive nature. I will not allow this at my business. Nor, will I accept my staff to subject themselves to abuse. I tell these people to leave and find another shop.

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