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.
IntegrityAutoCare

How to scare away a customer...

Recommended Posts

I am at a loss. I guess I was naïve to think that if you just treat people fairly and communicate well that ALL customers could be reached and would be sensible. Unfortunately it's just not true. A lot of you probably know exactly the type of customer I am referring to...that customer that you DON'T want.

 

This particular customer started out as a referral from a couple other of my GOOD customers, so I thought "Great...another referral!" I had just done a front brake job for a coworker of hers a few months earlier so she called me and asked if I could do her front brakes "as well". I put the term "as well" in quotation marks because in the span of about 3 sentences she said it (it seemed like) about FIFTY times! Not that I am poking fun at people, you understand, I only say that to illustrate my point that this particular customer is a HORRIBLE communicator and it turns out she is just as bad, if not worse, a listener. And she is dumb as a rock. And I am pretty sure she is mentally unstable.

 

Again, I feel childish even talking about another person in this manner and please understand I harbor no ill feeling toward her except that she WILL NOT leave me alone and find another mechanic. This is not an angry rant. You may think it's harsh to call her dumb, and maybe it is, but to give you an example the whole reason she thought she needed brakes was because when she parks her car on a hill and puts the shifter in "park" she noticed that the car rolls a little bit after she lets off her brake pedal.

 

So after repeated efforts to explain to her that the sensation she described had NOTHING to do with the brakes, she simply was not getting it. Sometimes I wonder how people like that even get drivers licenses when they don't even understand the basics of how a car operates (not how it works....just how it OPERATES). The worst part was she kept INSISTING that she knew ALOT about cars and how to fix them because her dad was a mechanic (or something of that nature). This was getting worse by the minute.

 

I took the wheels off of her car and as it turns out the whole chassis and undercarriage are almost solid RUST. Her brake pads were worn out in both the front and back and the rotors in front were already below minimum DISCARD thickness. The rust corrosion had eaten away the front caliper brackets to the point that the pads were not able to move freely across the slide rails and all the brake hoses had cracks and tears in the rubber. This car was going to need ALOT of work to even make it safe!

 

Long story short she said she didn't have enough money to fix everything all at once so I tried to do her a favor and prioritize the repairs for her....fixing the most dangerous issues first. I replaced the front brake pads, caliper brackets, and rotors first because I have personally experienced the feeling of driving down the interstate at 70mph and stepping on the brake pedal only to have it fall straight to the floor due to the fact that the rotors were too thin and the pads were worn enough that the caliper piston actually came OUT of its bore thus immediately dumping all brake fluid and making the brakes inoperable. VERY scary. After that I replaced the front two brake hoses because they looked the worst and because I figured a loss of rear brakes would give the driver a much greater chance of survival than would a loss of front brakes (which account for most of the braking percentage).

 

That was all she had enough money for and all I had time for that day. I told her, however that she needed to AT LEAST replace those rear brake hoses ASAP because if one of them burst (which could happen at any time) it could be a major safety hazard for her and any drivers in her general vicinity. She made it pretty clear that she didn't trust me and implied that I didn't really know what I was talking about (her dad was a mechanic "as well", remember?). I again implored her to, even if she didn't have ME fix it, get her brakes taken care of as soon as she possibly could for her own safety! At this point I was actually hoping to never see her again and that she would find some other mechanic to use in the future. No such luck.

 

She called me about 2 months later to inquire how much it would cost to get her oil changed. I told her that I charged $xx.xx for labor plus the actual cost of parts (oil, filter, etc) so that it would depend on how many quarts of oil it held and the cost of the filter, etc. I told her for most cars it usually worked out to be about $35 or $40. She scheduled the oil change. I guess part of me was assuming that she had taken my advice and got her brakes fixed somewhere else (maybe she then realized I was telling her the truth and was beginning to trust me) but in the back of my mind I knew the truth. She had not taken it anywhere else nor did she intend to. Her car was "driveable" so she was driving it. I made up my mind that if that was the case I would not do any more work for her in the future.

 

When I arrived to pick up the vehicle she had left the keys in it with a note saying the money was in the glove box just leave the keys under the mat when I dropped the car back off. I looked in the glove box and found $35....uh, doesn't anyone know the meaning of the word ESTIMATE these days??? Feeling annoyed, I went ahead and serviced her car and then looked underneath to see what it looked like. Of course, her brake hoses were in even worse shape than when I had looked at them before and her back brakes had not been touched.

 

I wrote a note on her invoice (which luckily happened to be only a few cents over the $35 she left for me) saying that for MY OWN personal safety I refused to drive her vehicle again and that I could not in good conscience ETHICALLY perform any other service to the vehicle until she had the brakes taken care of and that my recommendation was for her to not drive the vehicle again either until she was able to do so. I was hoping that would make her mad enough to take it somewhere else and I would never have to deal with her again. Again...no such luck.

 

She has since texted me, called me, and left voicemails about 5 different times wanting me to give her a price to replace "JUST the rear brake hoses". I have been completely ignoring her altogether. TWO MONTHS I have been ignoring her calls, texts, and voicemails....what is it gonna take for her to take the hint?

 

She called me again today. She wanted to know how much to fix her rear brake hoses and if I could do it today or tomorrow. I wish I had time to write out for you guys the whole conversation, but even if I did my head might literally explode. I basically told her that it would cost somewhere between $300 and $500 for me to fix the rear brakes for her and that was ONLY an estimate and not a guaranteed price and that if I worked on it at all I was going to completely fix whatever needed to be fixed to make it safe to drive. I said that was the ONLY way I was willing to do it because I refused to take shortcuts especially where safety is a concern. I also told her I would not be able to get to it for two weeks (which is true). She got mad and said that $300 sounded like ALOT of money to fix the brake hoses. UGH! I calmly and patiently explained it AGAIN. Now she says she will check back with me in 2 weeks about getting those brake hoses fixed.

 

How do you talk to people like that? What should I do? ADVICE anyone?

 

I really would like to just never talk to this lady again. I'm not sure which would be worse publicity for my business, completely ignoring her or HELPING her and she spreading all around town how I cheated her and charged her $500 for brake hoses!

Edited by IntegrityAutoCare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   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.


  • Similar Topics

    • By Mail Shark
      Before approving your next database mailing, run down this checklist to ensure all of these steps have been taken to validate the quality and accuracy of your mailing.
      Utilize the National Change of Address Service (NCOA)
      Every year, millions of Americans move, and this undoubtedly includes some of the customers in your database. This can be a problem when you pull your database to use for sending out a direct mail campaign, as you may have customers that have moved and no longer live at the recorded address.
      If these customers have moved outside of your trade area, and you were to send a direct mail piece to them, you would essentially be wasting your marketing dollars by sending direct mail to customers that are simply no longer there.
      The good news is, there is a simple solution. You can have your direct mail partner run your database against the USPS National Change of Address (NCOA) service. The cost of doing so is very minimal and worth the small additional cost to ensure the quality and accuracy of your database. 
      NCOA is a database maintained by the U.S. Postal Service, and includes all of the individuals and companies who have completed a form to change their address in the previous four years. 
      Here are a few things you will find out by running your list through the NCOA process is: 
      Addressee has moved, and a new address could not be provided. New address information is provided. The recipient moved without providing a forwarding address to the USPS. From here, these previous customers that have moved can easily be removed from future mailings. 
      Remove Your Customers From New Acquisition Mailings
      Most shop owners who are using direct mail to target their database of current customers are also sending out new customer acquisition mailers to target new prospects, either by carrier route or by specific make, model, fuel type, etc. 
      In doing so, it’s important that you request your direct mail partner to remove these current customers from your new customer acquisition mailers. It’s a waste of money to send your customers a new customer acquisition mailer when you are already targeting them by sending them a retention or lapsed customer mailer. It will also send your current/lapsed customers the wrong message. Your marketing and message to new customers should not be the same that it is to current or lapsed customers. 
      This is also an easy fix, simply request that your direct mail partner suppress your customer database from your new customer acquisition mailers. The only caveat in doing so, is for general auto shops that are removing their database of customers from their carrier route mailing⁠—there are guidelines that must be met for carrier route mailings in order to receive the maximum discounted postage rate. These guidelines are as follows:
      Your mail must be sorted in walk sequence. This is the exact order that the postal carrier walks/drives on their carrier routes. In addition, your mailing must follow the 90/75 rule. The 90/75 rule stipulates that you must mail to at least 90 percent of the total residential addresses, or at least 75 percent of the total combined number of residential and business addresses in each carrier route. Since you, as an auto shop owner will never want to mail to businesses, this means that you must mail to 90 percent of the total addresses in a carrier route to maintain the lowest postage rate. 
      If your mailer falls below the 90 percent guideline, there are three different levels of postage that your mailer can potentially fall into. Each level represents an additional cost of per piece postage above and beyond the standard rates.  
      Additional Saturation Mail Postage Rates (*As of 1/1/2019)
      High density plus: Mail at least 300 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be .01 per piece).
      High density: Mail at least 125 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be.019 per piece).
      Basic: Mail at least 10 pieces in walk sequence order (additional postage would be .104 per piece). 
       
      Make Use of the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)
      In addition to running your database through the NCOA process, it’s important to ensure your direct mail partner is also certifying your database mailing list through the Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS). This process will standardize your mailing file, verify that each and every address in your mailing file is valid and complete, as well as update any addresses that have been changed and/or has become outdated.
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail
    • By autoguy
      Was reading an article about Hyundai offering Lyft rides to their customers and was wondering if anyone has done or thought of doing this with Lyft or Uber instead of shuttling your customers around. 
      Lyft has a business site: https://www.lyftbusiness.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=b2b&creative=263920142322&keyword=%2Blyft %2Bcustomer&matchtype=b&network=g&device=c&segment=all&utm_content=self-serve&placement=&adgroup={adgroup}&gclid=Cj0KCQjwu-HoBRD5ARIsAPIPene7xTDnfQyMoT8kp1PriZCzffGzu0Zkmd1EoAmIiFyCzB0_wuiP8QwaAto0EALw_wcB
      Here's Uber: https://www.uber.com/us/en/business/central/
    • By Joe Marconi
      As we celebrate July 4th with family, friends and barbecues, let us remember and reflect on the meaning of this day; Independence Day. The day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

    • By Joe Marconi
      According to Zip Recruiter, tech pay on average is about $41,000 per year.  Is this an issue?   I know many of you pay more than average, but do you think that we need to increase tech pay in order to attract more people to the auto repair industry.   One other thing to consider, the shop and shop owner needs to be profitable and make the money first in order to pay anyone a decent wage.
      Your thoughts?  
    • By Joe Marconi
      The aftermath of the great recession, which caused many new car dealers to go out of business, has resulted in a new breed of dealers. They have come to realize that the lower margins on new cars, combined with the intense competition, means that their service and parts departments must become primary profit centers.  Which also means that  they need more customers beyond the warranty period …. and that means they want your customers.
      Ten years ago, I laughed at the attempts of the local dealers to try to steal my customers...but no longer. 
      Smart dealers have 4 primary strategies:
      1. Offer free oil changes, - some for life, some of a specific time period - And setting up the first oil change service at the time of the sale
      2. Wrap future maintenance plans into the monthly payment
      3. Sell maintenance plans at the time of the sale 
      4. Use recalls as a way to sell services and repairs.
      What are you doing to fight these strategies? 
       


  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...