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Had to run a customer off.


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Just had to tell a customer we no longer wanted his business. Called in the middle of a lb7 injector job 5 times. Called my cell and shop. Wife answered and said he's under a truck may I take a message or you can call back. He explains he has a real quick question she's says "I understand but I said he's under the hood of a truck". He claims that he's filling complaints with the bbb for me not speaking with him lol. He wanted to ask a question about how to work on his truck. I cooled off for a few days then called and explained that he was rude to my wife which I didn't appreciate and I'd rather him take his business elsewhere. He calls back telling me how rude she was and that I'm a horrible businessman lol. Says he's always calling and not getting me and that it's unacceptable to return his call at the end of the day (or 30 minutes later). Calls all weekend long panicking about his truck asking me to come look at it. And expects it, and expects it now!

He's evidently like this with everyone. Very wishy washy etc etc. So my question to you is would you have tried to save him as a customer or send him on his way. Only three of us working 1 tech, 1 helper and my wife the receptionist/bookkeeper. I can't feasibly answer every call.

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Consider a home improvement store. There is a limited amount of customer service available. For the most part it's browsing around until you find what you want or realize you don't really want anything after all. Either way the items on the shelf are there for you or the next person who walks in. Now walk out of the store with a cart of building supplies without paying and all hell breaks loose. That's stealing. Auto repair is selling time. If someone takes your time with out paying it's not like you can put it back on the shelf. Any business has to protect the product they sell. You get to decide what level of protection is in your best interest.

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Consider a home improvement store. There is a limited amount of customer service available. For the most part it's browsing around until you find what you want or realize you don't really want anything after all. Either way the items on the shelf are there for you or the next person who walks in. Now walk out of the store with a cart of building supplies without paying and all hell breaks loose. That's stealing. Auto repair is selling time. If someone takes your time with out paying it's not like you can put it back on the shelf. Any business has to protect the product they sell. You get to decide what level of protection is in your best interest.

Hadn't thought of it that way.

Great way to look at it! Thanks for the reply.

 

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We have this happen all too often. We tell everyone we will call you when it's ready and give us til the end of the day. Some just don't get it! They call every hour or several times a day. Most times I refuse to answer. Some may disagree and say it's not good customer service, but it is ridiculous, time consuming and out right annoying. We have voice mail - so if they forgot to tell us something - LEAVE A MESSAGE! the ones that I call "crack dialers" - ring, hang up, ring, hang up, over and over and never leave a voice mail are on my -"s" list and get special instructions the next time they come in for work. If they break the dont call me, I'll call you rule - they are done. We are way too busy to deal with these types of people. I love the ones that call after they drop off and they are stuck home without a car and call all day with - "i found something online, I think the problem is..."

 

Maybe we should bill like attorneys - charge for every call and every question. :o That would be awesome!

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We have this happen all too often.  We tell everyone we will call you when it's ready and give us til the end of the day. Some just don't get it! They call every hour or several times a day. Most times I refuse to answer. Some may disagree and say it's not good customer service, but it is ridiculous, time consuming and out right annoying. We have voice mail - so if they forgot to tell us something - LEAVE A MESSAGE!  the ones that I call "crack dialers" - ring, hang up, ring, hang up, over and over and never leave a voice mail are on my -"s" list and get special instructions the next time they come in for work.  If they break the dont call me, I'll call you rule - they are done.  We are way too busy to deal with these types of people. I love the ones that call after they drop off and they are stuck home without a car and call all day with - "i found something online, I think the problem is..."   

 

Maybe we should bill like attorneys - charge for every call and every question. :o That would be awesome!  

We don't even have his vehicle, he's wanting advice. My wife offered to take multiple messages but he refuses to leave one. The more I think on it this guy is a bit unstable mentally. He's caused problems at other shops so it's a blessing at the very least

 

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Oh wow! So this guy isnt even spending money currently? Well in this part of nc the guy would be directed to youtubr or the internet on his first call that i take from him about a car that's not in my shop along with Assn invite to bring car in for PAID DIAGNOSTICS. 2nd call would be more stern and say there is nothing i can do for you over the phone. Make appointment at my regular labor rate per HOUR when you are ready, but i am very busy and have work to do and won't have the luxury of stopping again bc many customers are waiting to have their cars fixed. I have a couple customers like that. They usually wind up towing the car in or not calling until the have other work for me. As for customers who call throughout day. It usually only happens once. I remind them that end of day means 6pm, and that i can't hold to that time along with everyone else waiting for their cars if im on the phone. That typically solves that. I usually try to set a time farther out than i need also. If i think it will be ready by 2pm ill say 6pm to account for bottle necks. And if they show up early and im withing on something else, i just offer them a seat in waiting room and remind them of the completion time. But ive learned to NICELY limit interruptions.

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First, I have found that I am better off without this type of customer. I have fired many customers of the years. They are a financial drain, but more damaging is the psychological drain on everyone in the shop. Customer satisfaction is one of our goals and in order to achieve that goal, you need to have a customer with reasonable expectations.

 

You may want to ask yourself why he keeps calling you for help. In my experiences, people will usually not continue behavior that is not rewarded. Are you answering his questions, giving him the info that he needs? "Feeding the dog" as they say.

 

When customers or other shops call me for "advice", I usually give a few vague or generic answers. Then at the first opportunity, I usually say, I would need to see it, test it, or some variation of this. This way, one of 2 things will happen. You will get some work, or they will go bother someone else. I think this is a very graceful way of dealing with it because you don't come across rude or incompetent.

 

Scott

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
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