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Let the Wheel Fall Off!


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The other day a women came in for a routine LOF, tire rotation and wheel alignment. During the road test the tech noticed a slight noise from the rear wheels. After spinning the wheels in the air he confirmed the noise coming from the right rear wheel bearing. The tech informed the advisor who then spoke to the customer, who was waiting in the customer service area. What happened next shocked me.

 

My advisor did a great job by explaining that during the road test the tech heard an abnormal noise and confirmed the problem by spinning the wheel in the air on the lift. He continued to explain what a wheel bearing is, the purpose of the wheel bearing and the importance of replacing it. She was silent for a few seconds and then asked, “So what’s the worst that could happen if I don’t replace it”. The advisor tried to steer the conversation away from answering the question, but she firmly asked it again. The advisor reluctantly said, “Well, the job of the bearing is to reduce heat from friction and maintain smooth rolling action from the wheel. As the heat continues to build up, overtime the wheel will loosen up and may fall off”. The customer said, “Then let the wheel fall off”.

 

I happen to be in the back office and overheard the conversation. I had to confront her. I walked over to the service counter. I could see the blank look on my service advisor’s face. I interrupted and said, “Excuse me, I hate to interrupt the conversation, but did I hear you just say, let the wheel fall off”? She said to me. “I just paid my property taxes, which were increased over last year, just spent a ton of money on school supplies and with the price of gas and food; I just don’t have the money”.

 

I could see she was upset and embarrassed. Her statement was not made out of anger, but out of frustration. I spoke to the tech and he assured me that the noise is slight and not in any immediate danger. I told her I completely understand and would be ok if we call her in a week or so to discuss the wheel bearing. She agreed and I could see the stress leave her face.

 

It is crucial these days that we listen and understand the consumer. These are tough times and people react from frustration, not from reason of logic at times. A few kind words and understanding of the consumer’s perspective will win out in the end. I have no doubt she will have the wheel bearing replaced, but it’s important that she feels that she maintains control of the decision. A choice made with a little help from us.

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Good one Joe... and yes, I have run across the same thing myself. It is about the cost, it is about the frustrations of daily life, and yes it is about the car. So many jobs are sent back out the door due to the lack of cash.

I read an article the other day that stated "The cost of a repair is not the issue" are you kidding me??? Of course it's the issue, if it was free then they would have it done. dah!?!?!

 

The economy is a long way from getting back to the way it was in the 90's, and it may take some time before that ever happens. But, in the mean time letting the customer know that we understand their frustrations is the best thing we can do.

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Yep me too after property tax increases on 2 properties I just had to tell my wife honey the wheels are just going to have to fall off! Lol

 

Good job Joe, We must try to put ourselves on the other side of the counter sometimes

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