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The customers perception of our industry?

 

I'm sure this has been discussed in the past, but recent events have brought back and increased my level of frustration and irritation regarding this "perception" of our industry by the general public and I thought I'd vent a little and see if anyone else experiences it around the country.

 

Auto Zone came on hot and heavy in our area some 20ish years ago, purposely undermining and virtually destroying the auto repair industry soley to prostitute their inferior selection of "parts" to the DIY'er, in turn spending a fortune advertising how simple and easy everything we do is, successfully changing the mindest of the general motoring public to believe it!

 

Anything can be fixed right there in your driveway with just a screwdriver, a pair of vice grips and a crescent wrench!

"Don't pay those high priced repair shops and overpaid grease monkeys to do that simple job for you! And besides, they cant be trusted...they lie about whats really wrong, sell you things you don't need, and EVEN WANT TO CHARGE YOU TO JUST DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM!! Besides, your car can diagnose itself, and we can "Diagnose" if for you for FREE and quickly and cheaply sell you the part to fix what it says is wrong! After all, it can only be one thing causing that P0300 right? Has to be a tune up! Or that pesky P0171 or 174....probably just needs a fuel filter...we can sell you that. See how easy it is?"

 

This is the mindset that AZ has successfully embedded into the mind of the motoring public (around here at least), creating a large hurdle to overcome for an honest, legitimate repair shop.

 

Granted, they are much more successful and financially sound that I may ever dream of being by whoreing themselves out to the market at the expense of those of us who have invested our lives, finances, and everything else learning, pursuing and constantly fine tuning the complexities of this field, but at what expense?

 

Sound bitter? Maybe just a little...but if I get one more customer this week with a roll of toilet paper from AZ telling me "they already got it 'diagnosed'...I just wanna know how much you'll charge me to fix these things" I think i'm going to lose it.

 

I have developed a tactful and witty answer that I employ most of the time, but I seem to be having a rash of these lately and my patience has reached an end. My tactful, realistic answer to the customer as to what's wrong with the AZ approach to diagnosing a late model, complex, rolling computer loses all validity as soon as I tell them there will be a fee involved to perform a thorough and accurate disgnosis that I will stand behind if allowed to repair their car. My one on one can't overcome the Billions that AZ has spent telling them just the opposite. I must be trying to "get over on them".

 

Maybe I'm alone here,,,,if so it felt good to vent, if not maybe someone else would like to share and offer how they've seen this trend develop and their tactics dealing with it.

 

DJ

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It gets even better than that. For under a hundred bucks you can purchase your own code reader and diagnose your cars problems your self. You can even provide this valuable service to your family & friends at no charge. Why stop there, go ahead and help out the neighbors, after all you are now the community diagnostic expert.

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I get this all the time, even from the employees of adv and atz. Just did an alternator for the manager of an adv and it wasn't the problem and they diagnosed it :).

 

I explain to the customer that a scan read is not a diag and ask them if they want me to diag it or if they want me to swap their requested part. Most have me diag but some do not. Maybe this seems wrong but I always secretly hope they have me use their diag and I'm giddy as the jobs being done. I personally try to always be the one that lets the customer know the repair is completed and it did not fix their problem and ask if they want the problem diagnosed.

 

Maybe eventually people will learn this is a complex computer and let us do our jobs.

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I explain to the customer that a scan read is not a diag and ask them if they want me to diag it or if they want me to swap their requested part. Most have me diag but some do not. Maybe this seems wrong but I always secretly hope they have me use their diag and I'm giddy as the jobs being done. I personally try to always be the one that lets the customer know the repair is completed and it did not fix their problem and ask if they want the problem diagnosed.

 

Maybe eventually people will learn this is a complex computer and let us do our jobs.

 

This was usually my approach, but over time have found that no matter what it's a lose/lose. If you push that a receipt with a code number on it is NOT a dig, and that their "suggestion" is just that, a hope to sell them parts that might or might not fix their car, you come accross as arrogant and trying to get over on them CHARGING them to DIAGNOSE it when..."I already HAD it diagnosed"! No mater how you try to adjust your tone and language to convince them, it's a gamble as to the way they will take it.

 

If you go the route of just throwing their parts at it only to tell them it still misfires even after the "tune up" because it has a dead hole...then we get the tail end conversation/argument which is never good, no matter who's right, we come across as incompetatn and dishonest. Despite how it was set up at the counter.

 

So, that's why I was asking. Looks like I'm not alone, and like i'm handling it like most of you are depending on the day. Would just really like to see someone come along and knock the legs out from under AZ, but....I know.

Just don't understand a company undermining an entire industry intentionally. Maybe im just jealous that they've been so successful at it at my/our expense.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have this problem with customers all the time. The diesel truck side of things is even worse. According to the internet this is what is wrong, this is how long it takes and this is how much the parts cost, and if it doesn't match up, I'm the crook.

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I have this problem with customers all the time. The diesel truck side of things is even worse. According to the internet this is what is wrong, this is how long it takes and this is how much the parts cost, and if it doesn't match up, I'm the crook.

Forums are to blame for that. They just can't wrap their heads around other possibilities and don't understand that while a failure may be similar it's impossible to diagnose a issue via the Internet. That being said there's a ton of good resources for us in those forums which include in many cases a fix that's better than what's offered via oem. (For instance the Vp44 fuel pressure issues)

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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chuckle, chuckle.... seen it, done it, dealt with it, been there... and... wrote about it. chuckle, chuckle. It never ever changes with customers and information. LOL

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  • 2 months later...

I simply tell them if you don't want to pay me to do a proper diag then I will change the parts you want but will not stand behind/refund any work that didn't fix there problem. Most of the time they will pay for the diag. Those that don't I look at it as easy money. I don't have spend any time testing anything just throw on a part and push/drive it out.

 

And those DIY'ers that attempted to do there own work and it didn't work out, I typically charge them extra for anything brought in half tore down. There's nothing more irritating than to put back on parts that didn't need to come off, or were broken while removing. Not to mention all the missing parts that weren't in that cardboard box or coke can.

 

I biggest problem is customers that want you to do a diag over the phone that they will not bring to you. Just want you to spend time (sometimes over 30 mins) telling them what to check so they can run down to AZ and buy a part and fix there self. These guys really get to me. I'm trying to adopt the idea of telling them they just need to bring it in so I can fully check everything out. Not trying to be mean but I don't like spending all my time on the phone especially with customers that will never bring there truck to me.

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  • 1 year later...

AZ pulls a code and gives them a list of parts that may fix their problem, hoping they will continue to buy parts on the list till one fixes the problem.. I simply tell my customers this . I will diagnose your car for 45.00 if you decide to do the repairs with me I will roll that into your repair costs. Then I explain to them about a code in a way they can understand.. I tell them think of a code as a number on a door, now you open that door and there is a long hallway with many doors lining both sides of it, now the problem lies behind one of those doors, think of those doors as a part that may fix the problem with you car. Now if it is the last door all the way down you would of wasted a lot more than 45.00 to get to that door, so doesn't it make sense to pay me 45 dollars to check behind all those doors and tell you which one to spend your money on? Almost all customers agree ... The thing I found that works best for me is to find a way to talk with a person in a way that he or she may understand. Make it easy where they can picture it in their heads and you are more likely to get the point across.. anyway that is my 2 cents

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I watch a local facebook car selling page. A few months ago a person posted requesting help to figure out their problem on the car. Can't recall exactly what the problem was now, but was amused reading all the suggestions from the "facebook techs". After watching this for a couple days, I added up my cost on each and every part that had been suggested to replace and came up with over $1,000 in parts. Not a single post about how to diagnose the problem or even to get codes pulled. It was all responses like "My car did that one. It was an O2 sensor. Try replacing all the O2 sensors?" I've often wondered why I spent so much on a scan tool and a scope and everything else when a $100 code reader is all I really needed. Oh well, once they waste their money, they probably will bring it in to get done right.

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We get these from time to time. We just ask them if they are hiring us to install the parts or fix the problem. If they want to hire us to install the parts, then we let them know that all we guarantee is that the part is installed correctly. This usually leads to a longer conversation about a real diagnoses and quite often they end up having it done properly. For those that don't, we make money installing the part(s) and quite often more afterwards to diagnose and repair it correctly. You just have to make it work for you.

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I do not get a ton of these. Each one is handled case by case. Some just get told we are too busy which is often true. Some I give a quote that makes my labor rate $160. Some I ask if they checked the aspilate mixer since I had three bad ones this week cause that same problem.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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