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We made a mistake, but the customer crosses the line


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Joe I am glad even a pro shop owner like yourself is not immune to bone heads!!!

 

the "customer is always right" mentality could have certainly applied to the situation if she had politely asked that you honored the quoted price. I think you guys did the right thing in even offering her a discount. However her actions pretty much threw that out the window quick. It sucks to have a customer walk away unhappy. You start to question your methods and what you did that didn't meet their expectations. For me at least it always hits home as if I failed Math Class in school because I was too lazy to do my homework LOL. Customers like that however are unavoidable nightmares.

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Only advice I can give is do not let these rare instances influence you moving forward. there will always be that 1 out of a million that really rubs you the wrong way. Unfortunately we can let these rare instances influence our future behavior. Apologize, do the right thing and move on....

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Funny story, years ago I had a very strange experience with a customer. I am a second generation Chinese American and I speak English fluently. I had many conversations with this one customer with no problems whatsoever. He was one of those "wants to be your buddy" customers. Long story short, he had a real problem with the final price of his repairs and started ranting about, "In this country, WE have honor" basically implying I'm some foreigner looking to rip him off. Needless to say it did not end well. Talk about crossing the line LOL

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  • 3 months later...

At the first sign of her loudness and ignorance I probably would have asked her to depart with her car. There's nothing to salvage there. You don't want to work on her car as she will be the type to try and look for something wrong. Customer is always right until I say that they are not.

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A first time customer arrives at our service counter requesting prices on a set of tires. My service advisor, using the vehicle information she gave him (big mistake), priced a set of Goodyear tires. She authorized the job and made an appointment.

 

The customer dropped the car off this past Wednesday for the tires. A few hours later the car brought in, only to realize that the tires were the wrong size and the tires that belong on her car would be more money. The advisor called the customer and she went ballistic. She screamed and demanded what we honor the price. The service advisor reduced the price to cost, but that was not good enough.

 

She decided to cancel the tire job and pick up her car. We made a mistake; we should have never given her a price without actually checking the vehicle information and tire size. It was a mistake, we admitted that to her.

 

But here is where it gets ugly. She came in with a friend to pick up her car and she started to insult my service advisor. She called him names and began to throw insults at him that I do not want to repeat. My advisor said nothing; he stood there and took it. We also had other people in the office at the time.

 

I called the women and told her that I would have given her the tires at any cost, but after hearing what she had done and said, I told her that some things cross the line. She responded by saying, “aren’t you guys regulated? Isn’t’ the customer ALWAYS right? And don’t you have to honor the price?” I said, “First we are not regulated, what ever that means, this is America the last time I looked, and we are talking about a mistake here. Plus, the way you acted, I really don’t think we want you as a customer.”

 

By the way, she freely admitted to me that she was “fresh mouthed”, her words, not mine.

 

IS THE CUSTOMER ALWAYS RIGHT? Not really, agree or not?

ofcourse not, hardly ever are they right. I would of done the exsact same thing. I don't want customers like that because you can never please them... ever

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It is time we END "the customer is always right" mantra. We need to try to satisfy them to stay in business. They are "frequently" wrong! Our advisors have "daily" experience in the matters we all deal with. Customers do not. They often lie, play games, hide information, play dumb, etc. Yes, you are better off without that lady. Maya Angelou said "when someone shows you who they are, believe them".

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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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