Quantcast
Jump to content


    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.
Gonzo

Article: It Still Ain't Right - - - Cars I know, People.... never sure

Recommended Posts

It Still Ain’t Right

A car arrives at the repair shop, another cranks but no start job. The owner has his own ideas as to what’s wrong as well as how to make the repairs. Some folks are like that. It could be from previous run ins or just their personality. I try to put myself in their shoes and do my best to understand why they are so insistent on telling me what to do rather than let the diagnostic results dictate the repair.

“I need a new starter.”

“Has it been tested?” I tell him.

“I’ve been fixing my own cars for years and I know what’s wrong.”

“I would rather check it out and find where the problem is than just start hanging parts,” I said.

“You don’t need to get all your fancy meters out to tell me something I already know,” he answers.

Along with diagnosing the car I also have to diagnose what kind of person I'm dealing with. To combat this I have to turn detective and sort through the facts and fiction. Granted, I’ve got the bedside manner of a wolverine, and my bark is far worse than my bite, but after all these years of dealing with cars and their owners I get a little thick skinned when it comes to their demands. I just want the facts and I’m not about to soften the reality of the repair with some highbrow comeback. That’s just not my style.

Cars are built on an assembly line and they can be complicated pieces of modern machinery to figure out … people … that’s a whole different story. It's a matter of communication that makes things work better, the better the communication the better we’ll get along.

The actual repair was no big deal and had nothing to do with his starter, so it wasn’t long before I had the car back to the owner. Now, most of the time I’m done, but a few weeks later the owner called and you could tell he wasn’t the happiest motorist on the road. Seems the car is having another problem, and the owner has made up his mind (again) that he knew exactly why. (The last time he tried to diagnose things himself it didn’t work out so well, so I’m not putting much faith in his skills this time either.)

“It still ain’t right,” he banters.

Apparently, the “no-start” condition still hasn't solved his issue with the power seat. Power seat??? - - - really? This is the first time I’ve heard of this problem. I’m not sure where this is going… but I know it’s going to be my fault somehow.

As a mechanic, I find it difficult to keep my cool, be professional and remember to look at things from the owner’s point of view when the insults start flying. (This is where those companies that show shop owners how to better their business by being more customer friendly would help. I may be a good tech but I’m lousy with people. I have to wonder though, how many of these “experts” have actually experienced these types of encounters…at the counter.) As with most of these situations where everything and anything wrong with the car is now lumped into one, the first thing they’ll tell me is “NOT” the condition of the car but… how much they have already spent. (I’d still like to see those “experts” spend a few days behind my counter and deal with stuff like this.)

As the story unfolds, I’m busy trying to put together the series of events that leads up to a non-functioning power seat and a “no-start” condition. I'm even more perplexed as to how the owner who said he knew exactly what needed repaired, (even though he was entirely wrong) has somehow incorporated whatever is ailing the car this time into one giant raging volcano of insults, slanderous remarks, and obviously… my incompetence. (I’m cool; the blood pressure hasn’t gone up yet… keep this up … it will.)

I make it a point (especially when my mechanic’s sixth sense starts tingling) to dot every “i” and cross every “t” on every invoice, and with someone like this I’ll go that extra mile and document even more. There are telltale conversations with a customer that can give me a few clues. Such as; “I had my tires rotated and now my wipers aren't working.” or “My brakes are still squeaking even after I had the oil changed.” and my all-time favorite, “I sued the last shop that worked on my car.” These are the ones I tend to pay a little more special attention too, or escort them to the nearest exit.

I don’t know why, for some people anytime you sew your name onto a shirt, buy a big tool box, gain the experience and knowledge needed to do this job, somewhere, some way, somebody is going to lump you into that category of an incapable idiot that couldn’t get a real job. Well, I've got a big tool box, I've got my name on my shirt, and I've got that type of experience... guess I'm one of them, and by the way… this is a real job. Furthermore… there are a lot of families that go back generations doing this very same type of work.

I often wonder why after getting something repaired and something else goes wrong that it must be the mechanics fault, maybe it’s the shirt, could be the tool box, maybe it’s the stereotypical misconceptions from years ago. Just to set the record straight… this isn’t Mayberry, and my name isn’t Goober or Gomer.

In the meantime, my main goal now is to explain...in detail...how a no start condition and a faulty seat motor are in no way connected to each other. (Stranger things have happened…but not this time.) If after explaining things I still have an upset customer, (Who isn’t going to pay for any additional service.) it leaves me with only one option.

“Sir, I can't help you, even though I would gladly do the repairs needed I just can't do them for nothing. There's a point where what was originally wrong with the car and what is wrong with it now doesn’t add up. This one is one of those times.”

At this point, whether or not I retain the customer or they walk out the door is entirely up to them. If they leave, there’s no doubt, sooner or later I'll see them back at the shop. I'll ask where they've been, they’ll answer, “Oh, I was using another shop but they ticked me off, so I'm not using them.” Hmmm, that's funny... that's exactly how the last repair ended here. (If he can pick his mechanic, I’d sure like to pick my customers too… I’m dreaming again.) For now he has decided to put a little more faith into my abilities … at least one more time.

Understanding cars is one thing, understanding the different personalities you meet is another. I’m grateful for another chance to show what I can do for this guy ... but honestly… it still ain’t right.

 

Click here to view the article

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



  • Similar Topics

    • By Alex
      We now have a nice tool available to all premium and platinum members under the tools menu, where you can view labor rates entered by our members on an easy to use map, similar to our member map. This is designed to give you an idea of where you are vs the market in your area. As you zoom in, the circle averages open up to more specific areas.

       
      If you aren't currently a subscribed premium or platinum member, you can upgrade here.
    • By Joe Marconi
      The mild fall appears to have caused a slow down for many shops. We have seen this before.  But, winter tempertures are here, and the threat of snow will boost repair shops.  
    • By Joe Marconi
      The other day, a customer asked my service advisor, if he would price match a set of tires.  This customer got an online quote from the internet; a local TIre Store know for discouting tires. 
      My rule, I don't price match. My prices are competive and fair. 
      Would you price match just to get the job, and sacrifice profit?   Remember, no one really knows the true cost of any service or repair until the car is in the shop.  So, internet quotes are not set in stone.   
    • By Alex
      Google search rolled out an update that now shows a website's favicon next to the search results on desktop, which started on mobile in May. 
      https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9290858?hl=en

      Interesting read: https://www.androidcentral.com/google-search-results-desktop-now-include-favicons
      What you need to know
      Google is making some changes to the way search results are shown on the desktop. Starting this week, search results will be displayed alongside icons for the websites they link to. The redesign was propagated to mobile devices last year.
       
       
    • By JustTheBest
      Hi! Thanks for stopping  by. 
      I wrote this letter to help auto repair shop owners. There's nothing to buy

       
      Hope this helps!
      Matthew
      "The Car Count Fixer"
       


  • By Joe Marconi, in Automotive Management,

    By Joe Marconi, in Selling Automotive Repair,

  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...