Quantcast
Jump to content

As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End


As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End


As a New BannerBuzz.com Customer You Get 20% Off Your First Order! Use Code: FIRSTORDER for 20% Off Custom Banners, Decals, Marketing Materials, and Any Custom Print Needs! Offer Does Not End

Knocking that Chip Off - - Be proud of what you do, just don't let it go to your head.


Gonzo

Recommended Posts

Knocking that Chip Off

 

It seems no matter what you’re doing, where you are, or who you’re with sooner or later you’ll run across somebody with a huge chip on their shoulder. In the business of auto repair there’s quite a few. I’ve ran into my share of them over the years. Some shops operate all day with a huge chip on their shoulder. Their method of convincing a customer that they are the best is by putting down everyone else in the business. Sometimes it’s just an individual mechanic who’s got a boulder on the shoulder. You just never know, but you can certainly tell when it’s around. I can’t leave myself out, my wife reminds me about it once in a while, but I’m sure it still shows through.

 

There are those occasions when somebody needs to knock that chip off. Sometimes it’s just what we all need, you know, a little reminder that even though we “think” we’re that good… we all still have a lot to learn. And, sometimes we all need a little reminder to tone down that chip.

 

A few years ago a lady brought her car in from another repair shop and needed some detective work done as to why her alternator kept going out. The previous shop had definitely gone the way of most amateurs do when it comes to a car problem. “Change parts until it works.” This was no different. Five times this guy changed the alternator for this lady. Five times mind you! It still holds the record of alternator swapping in one vehicle without solving the problem that I’ve ever been witness to. The problem wasn’t the alternator at all, but this bright young lug nut of a mechanic called me to tell me that it was definitely the alternators and he wanted me to write it up that way because the parts house was making him pay for the last three. Ok, maybe one, perhaps two… but five bad alternators? Even for the cheap brands out there five bad ones in a row is a bit much. But, I’ll check it out from here.

 

The entire problem was a blown fuse caused by the wire rubbing against the engine block. Who knows when that happened? Could have been from the first one, maybe the second alternator… we’ll never know. This Lug nut had to call me back and give me the old, “Don’t make me look stupid!” phone call. I retorted, “I’m just telling it like it is, brother.”

 

Then there was “Mr. Fix-it”. Mr. Fix-it could fix anything as he pointed out to me just as the tow truck showed up with his vehicle on the hook. While it was being unloading, Mr. Fix-it explained in great detail just exactly what he wanted me to do, and that the only reason I was doing anything (Remember… he can fix anything) was because he didn’t have the needed tools to finish the repair. Mr. Fix-it’s weekend project was to tune it up, but after changing all the parts and I’m sure… after a few too many beers all the truck would do is buck, jerk and blow flames out of the carburetor. His reasoning for me to check the timing and adjust the carburetor was because (as he put it) “That’s how the flames are getting out of the engine.” In his haste to empty those beer cans he had put the spark plug wires on wrong. I think Mr. Fix-its chip needs a little adjustment.

 

There are times when that chip is showing too proudly on my own shoulders too. Yep, I’ve eaten crow more than a few times and I’ve needed a little reminder that I’m not Mr. Perfect. The latest was on a 12 year old car that I put a new computer in to solve some issues with the coolant fan and A/C. After replacing the PCM the coolant fan and A/C worked great, which, not to make excuses … but I will… was all that I was concerned about. The owner was going to pick it up after hours. So with the air nice and cold I parked it outside for him to pick it up later. He lived quite a ways from the shop so it was a lot easier for him to pick it up after he got off work. The next day I get a call that his car isn’t shifting correctly and it never did that before. I suggested that he take it to the nearest transmission shop and have it checked out since he was so far away from me.

 

The customer told the tranny guy, “I just had a new computer put it.” And, with that info, this guy proudly showed his gigantic chip on his shoulder and made it perfectly clear to the customer that he knew exactly what the problem was. With a bold and quick to judge answer he told him it was the wrong computer. Well, of course it is. What else would a guy with a big chip on his shoulder tell a customer? Because we all know the last guy who worked on the car is an idiot. (Me in this case) I told him that the PCM numbers matched from the dealer to the parts department and back again. It’s not the wrong computer. (There’s my chip on the shoulder showing up.)

 

Looks like there are two of us with mammoth rocks on our shoulders this time. I got the car back to my shop the next day to see what was going on. Oh it was certainly the right computer, but…. It was the wrong programming in the computer. Gosh dang it! I’ll do the honors; I’ll knock that chip off of my own shoulder for ya. Yep, the tranny guy was right; it was the wrong “computer” just not in the sense that it’s the wrong computer, but wrong because it had the wrong software in it. I suppose that’s a double chip knock off, one for me and one for the tranny guy. Live and learn I guess, my bad… we were both right and wrong at the same time. Same conclusion just a different way of getting there.

 

Finally, the most typical of situations is when the mechanic or the customer assumes they know all the answers even before they’ve had it tested. Just because you think you know doesn’t mean you’re right. Every time this happens I envision a huge chip sitting on someone’s shoulder just waiting to be knocked off. Honestly, it pays to test and diagnose before giving any kind of black and white answer to a customer or to another mechanic. Assumptions make us all look bad, and I’d prefer not to be compared to the south end of a north bound horse.

 

Even the best of us have had to surrender our chip from time to time. Getting that chip knocked off is a humbling experience, but one that will make you a better person in the long run. We all could use a little reminder that we’re not perfect. Proud is one thing, being too sure of yourself is another.

 

 

 

 


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

The chips people have on their shoulders is bad enough. Sometimes, other shops go out of their to prove they are right and the other shop is wrong. They half-listen to the customer, prejudge and want to make themselves look good at the expense of the other shop. Great topic and very relevant to real world experiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the parts changer shops that irk me to no end. They convince the customer that they know what they're doing and then give up and send them my way. The typical reason for sending them to me, "It's got an electrical problem." A good translation of that statement, "We don't know what's wrong with it. Take it to somebody else." But, before all of this they've got this big swelled head that they know what they're doing.

 

I've been at this so long I've seen these type of shops come and go. But, "Old Gonzo" is still here.... gee... I wonder why?

 

I can be a hard ass, and I can be stubborn, but one thing I won't do is tell a customer that the last guy was an idiot. I leave that up to them to decide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I have a customer that is angry with another shop. I just change the subject to what we can do to fix their problem. Move on. However I have a little chip on my shoulder. Most shops in my area are family owned. For a long time. Some shops 50 years. Just a little respect would be nice. I don't have their history. I work Saturdays to pick up some extra customers. That's frowned upon. They do 8 to 5. Monday through Friday. That's it. It's like I'm breaking some code among local shops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
         7
      There are many things to consider when creating a marketing plan. Among them are establishing a budget, what forms of media should be used, and whether traditional advertising, such as TV, radio, and print, is still relevant.  And of course, how much should be allocated to social media and digital advertising?
      All the above are essentials to any marketing plan. However, the first step is ensuring that you have a healthy workplace and that your employees understand your company’s culture and the overall mission and vision. 
      We all know that happy employees create happy customers. No form of advertising can overcome a toxic workplace with unhappy employees. If your employees are not creating an amazing customer experience, your marketing plan will not work.
      Advertising and marketing may bring in customers, but the people in your company creating an amazing customer experience will be the most important component of your marketing plan.  It’s the customer experience that sells work and gives the customer a reason to return. 
      Creating an amazing employee experience, which creates an amazing customer experience, is also the most cost-effective part of your marketing plan. In fact, it cost next to nothing.
  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      As we head toward the end of the year and look to 2023, I thought it would be beneficial for all if we share the biggest challenges that are facing auto repair shops. 
      Is it hiring new employees? Employee retention? The economy?  Technology? Or perhaps, finding the right training for your employees? 
      Let's start the conversation and post your biggest challenge! 
    • By Joe Marconi
      What are your Thanksgiving business hours this week? The balance between time off and responsibilities to our business and customers is a challenge.
      What strategies do you implement and how do you balance the Thanksgiving holiday for your auto repair shop?
    • By Joe Marconi
      With the difficulty auto repair shops have these days finding quality techs, I thought it would be a good idea to share our ideas on what ways have worked for you. 
      Please post what has worked for you in the past when looking to hire a technician. 
       
    • By Joe Marconi
      Shrinking Repair Outlet Population
      "Vehicle maintenance is becoming less convenient for Americans. There are fewer outlets repairing cars and light trucks, despite the increasing population and complexity of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads. The number of repair (DIFM) outlets fell by nearly 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021), and future annual reductions are likely."
      "Nevertheless, not all types of repair outlets suffered losses. Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Dealers have grown in number, while the four other major types of DIFM outlets have endured thinning ranks. See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a ten-year history of the changing number of all major types of auto repair outlets across the U.S."

       
      14,000 Fewer Light Vehicle Repair Outlets
      At mid-year 2021, there were over 211,700 car and light truck repair outlets in the U.S., down approximately 14,000 from 2016.
      At the same time, vehicles in operation (VIO) climbed by more than 18 million and grew more complex, increasing the diagnostic and repair challenges faced by repair outlets.
       
      Outlet Groups Growing in Number
      Although the light vehicle repair outlet population fell by approximately 14,000 from 2016 to 2021, not all outlet types have declined.
      Among the seven major types of car and light truck repair outlets, three increased in number between 2016 and 2021: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers. These outlets groups grew even during the onslaught of COVID-19.
       
      Repair Specialists
      Focusing on a limited menu of vehicle repair and maintenance, Repair Specialist locations totaled just over 29,600 at mid-year 2021, up several hundred from five years earlier. Repair Specialists are the second largest DIFM outlet group.
       
       
      Foreign Specialists
      Foreign Specialists concentrate on the repair of foreign nameplate cars and light trucks. They achieved the largest outlet gain over the past five years and the greatest percentage growth in locations.
      There were just over 19,600 Foreign Specialists nationwide at mid-year 2012, up approximately 700 from five years earlier.
       
      Vehicle Dealers
      Vehicle Dealers recorded a small (less than 0.2%) increase in outlets from 2016 to 2021. This reversed a trend of declining Dealer locations in the years after the Great Recession of 2008.
      Asian nameplates have been the most successful in expanding their Dealer counts.
       
      Outlet Groups Declining in Number
      Service Stations & Garages, Tire Dealers, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Retail Auto Parts Stores with bays all fell in outlet count over the past five years.
       
      Service Stations & Garages
      Service Stations & Garages were battered by a significant population loss from 2016 to 2021, down by approximately 13,000 locations.
      This represented most of the repair outlets lost over these five years. Nevertheless, Service Stations & Garages remain the most prevalent type of DIM outlet.
       
      Tire Stores
      There were approximately 800 fewer Tire Stores in the U.S. at mid-year 2021 than five years earlier.
      Small Tire Stores suffered the brunt of this decline as growing competition from large, multi-outlet operations pushed many of them out of the market.
       
      Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers & Auto Parts Stores with Bays
      The closing of hundreds of Sears Auto Centers nationwide contributed to the decline of Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, which has been ongoing since 2011.
      The falling number of Auto Parts Stores with bays between 2016 and 2021 continued a trend that has been underway for several decades.
       
      COVID-19 Impact
      Most of the DIFM outlet loss between 2016 and 2021 occurred over the past two years (2020 and 2021), reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting changes in consumers’ vehicle repair behavior.
      Changes in the populations of the major types of DIFM outlets will continue, creating challenges and opportunities for a variety of aftermarket players.
       
      Six Major Takeaways
      The number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation have continued to increase. Nevertheless, the population of repair outlets handling cars and light trucks fell by approximately 14,000 over the past five years (2016 to 2021).   Despite the loss of car and light truck repair outlets between 2016 and 2021, three of the seven major groups of DIFM outlets expanded their populations: Repair Specialists, Foreign Specialists, and Vehicle Dealers.   The number of Repair Specialists climbed by approximately 350 between 2016 and 2021, and approximately 700 Foreign Specialists locations were added. Vehicle Dealers posted a modest increase in number, reversing a trend of vanishing locations that began during the Great Recession of 2008.   Service Stations & Garages suffered the most significant outlet loss from 2016 to 2021. The populations of Tire Stores, Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, and Auto Parts Stores with bays also were battered during these years.   The growing number and complexity of cars and light trucks in operation provide challenges and opportunities for the shrinking population of light vehicle repair outlets across the country. They must become more technically capable and productive to keep pace with the growing volume and complexity of vehicle repairs.   See the all-new 2023 Lang Aftermarket Annual for the only ten-year analysis of the population changes sweeping across the seven major types of auto repair outlets in the U.S.
      View full article
    • Advertise your services or products to passers-by attracting them towards your business
    • By ASOG Podcast
      What People Don't Understand About Modern Auto Repair


  • Our Sponsors


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile


Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

×
×
  • Create New...