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Joe Marconi

Unreasonable Customers?

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Last month on a cold, drizzling Friday afternoon, a customer came in needing a set of wiper blades. All the bays were full. With the temperature near zero, and with high winds, the service advisor told the customer that a bay should open up very soon, and we’ll get you in. Normally on nice days, if all the bays were full, the service advisor was would just instruct a tech to go outside to install the wipers. But due to the cold, rain and wind, he decided to bring the car into a bay and told the customer that because of the weather the car needed to be brought inside and it would be a little longer than usual.


She didn’t say anything, but apparently she did not like that answer.


A few days later, her son came by to see me. He stated that he could not understand why we couldn’t go outside to replace the wiper blades. “Why did my mother have to wait so long for a set of wiper blades? After all, aren’t your mechanics tough enough to stand a little cold for a few minutes?” I told him how cold, wet and miserable it was that day and that we are not afraid of a little cold, it was a decision by the service advisor. I could see I was not getting through to him.


I asked what he did for a living. He told me he worked on computer programing and design (I won’t mention the company, but it starts with “I”). I asked the son how he would feel if his boss told him to sit and work at a desk outside in the parking lot on a cold, drizzling, winter day. He started to say something and caught himself. I finished his sentence for him, “"You were going to tell me that it’s not the same, right”?"


I told him politely that my mechanics are hardworking, tough people, but they are people, and if we don’t have to put them in harm’s way unnecessarily, we won’t.


He ended up thanking me for listening and said he and his mother would be back as customers. Maybe I reached him, maybe not. Maybe it’s our fault for not communicating a professional image enough. Maybe it’s a lot of reasons. It just never ceases to amaze me how people view us at times.

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