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I deal with every situation differently. I do have the technician that worked on it previously repair it correctly. Remember, you will have comebacks, appologize to the customer and take care of the bill. I also give the customer coupons for their troubles. If it is a safety concern that is a comeback and it is our fault and not a defective part, I will give the technician a final warning and tell them if it ever happens again he/she will be fired on the spot. If not, I will give him a warning and deduct his time from the last repair. They will learn very quickly to check and recheck their repairs to make sure it is repaired right the first time.

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Comebacks can be a real problem. Finding out the root of it is key. Is the tech making mistakes due to lack of training? Caring? Tools? Workflow management? Is it parts quality?

 

We all have to understand mistakes can happen. Humans are not perfect. However the way the technician reacts to a possible mistake on their end will speak volumes to their character. If you have a tech that has chronic comeback problem you should have a sit down and try to find the root of it. If a tech is in complete denial and/or wants to blame everyone but himself I would say it maybe time for him to go.

 

I don't know the exact figure of comebacks but I believe the percentage really should be below the 3% overall mark or even lower on total gross labor sales. Don't quote me on that

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We have a plan to keep preventable comebacks at a ZERO percent. #1 verify the complaint. Most important step. #2 make repair including the root cause of the problem, #3 verify the complaint is 100% resolved via extensive test drive. If I'm not absolutely sure the problem is solved the car stays until we can verify we fixed it. "Do it right, do it twice. Three times sometimes" is our motto. An example would be a press in bearing, if it's not perfectly smooth we do it again. Sure, good enough will get the customer out the door for a few months but they will come back displeased when it fails at the most inopportune time. OBDII codes get verified with the readiness monitor setting. Anything else is an educated guess. It takes more time to do it this way but it's better than tying up a bay with nonproductive work.

 

That said we do get some comebacks due to defective parts, that's a warranty issue not a comeback. I had guys who couldn't make a repair stick, they don't work for me anymore. We are all human, I don't worry too much about minor come backs we just take care of it and away they go. Carelessness is not tolerated.

 

I can say without a doubt every comeback we have had that was our fault was because I let the customer rush us and we skipped a step outlined above.

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OBDII codes get verified with the readiness monitor setting.

 

We are not currently doing this, and it bothers me. Verifying via readiness monitors is the right way to validate a repair.

 

Do you keep the car overnight for this? Do you have someone drive the car 5-20mi to set O2's and Cat?

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We do a minimum of a 10 mile test drive on every job with the exception of oil changes and tire installs. We rarely deal with comebacks. Most of this is the fact we're a 3 person shop and everyone has personal stakes in our performance. I do all the diagnosis work, so I typically will spend longer verifying my diagnosis and repair because I'm the owner. Hourly or book wages as my motivation! My reputation directly represents my compensation!

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

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For o2 heater to set we keep the car overnight. Evap we can run in the bay 50% of the time. Normal drive cycle takes about 30 minutes. It tunes us in to what else is wrong with the car too. We only do this on diags. We are a 2 person shop, it gets crazy trust me. Tires, alignment, suspension we test drive about 5 miles but our shop is on the highway so its quick. We do state inspections too so it's not unheard of for someone to leave their car a couple days to get it to pass, its pretty much the norm.

 

Got one back today, didn't follow my own rule. I put an O2 sensor in because the old one was obviously broken. No need for verification, too time consuming I thought and unnecessary. Easy job. Yup I had an hour today though to work on it free when it came back. Had a separate issue but bottom line is the light came back on because I failed to fix every cause of the original cel complaint. In the customers eyes its got the same problem, which is the light on the dash. I'm guilty of stopping when I found a problem, not all the problems.

Edited by alfredauto
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, Alfred. I have been considering hiring a guy to shuttle drive, clean the shop, wash cars, etc. This would be another task to add to his list ... a monitor-readiness drive after every CEL repair. Once we move from 4 techs to 5 this spring, I will pull this trigger.

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I've heard some shop owners/techs say that comebacks are Job Security-charge them again for something else. That always made me mad.

I always tried to personally road test the vehicles and confirm a quality job in every case. Most comebacks I have seen is due to short cuts or parts failure. When I could not fight for what was right for my customers I "retired".

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The most important thing is to take the customers side when a comeback happens. If they say its broke again I believe them and get the car on the lift asap. 9 times out of 10 something else is broke and its a good opportunity to show n tell at least they aren't mad anymore. No matter what they accuse you of smile and get the car in and look, don't even suggest or speculate anything until its on the lift. The techs ego will chase customers away so be careful. I hate comebacks.

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I am super sad right now, we had a customer that we have done a couple winterizations for, a couple repairs, couple more auto starts for came in saying their car was overheating at -40 and she thinks the coolant froze (if so our fault for not getting it rich enough) so we take a look at it and there is no coolant in it because the water pump is leaking on a 2005 tahoe with 145k on it. what does she say? She is going to have to talk to her old tech that she used to have before moving here before doing it because she thinks it might be our fault her water pump failed.

 

Why at this point are we being questioned.

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I am super sad right now, we had a customer that we have done a couple winterizations for, a couple repairs, couple more auto starts for came in saying their car was overheating at -40 and she thinks the coolant froze (if so our fault for not getting it rich enough) so we take a look at it and there is no coolant in it because the water pump is leaking on a 2005 tahoe with 145k on it. what does she say? She is going to have to talk to her old tech that she used to have before moving here before doing it because she thinks it might be our fault her water pump failed.

 

Why at this point are we being questioned.

I would ask how old the water pump and see if I could replace at a deal she could not refuse. Always remind customers that a cooling system is like a chainand any weakness may reveal itself.

 

My reminder with any cooling system work is. "Now that the cooling system is under proper operating pressure, Watch on system parts for any weaknesses. Other cooling system parts, seals, gaskets that were not replaced today may fail in the future under pressure. The customer should maintain a watch on all fluid levels and dash gauges/warning lights. If in doubt bring car by and we will check all fluid levels at no charge"

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I am super sad right now, we had a customer that we have done a couple winterizations for, a couple repairs, couple more auto starts for came in saying their car was overheating at -40 and she thinks the coolant froze (if so our fault for not getting it rich enough) so we take a look at it and there is no coolant in it because the water pump is leaking on a 2005 tahoe with 145k on it. what does she say? She is going to have to talk to her old tech that she used to have before moving here before doing it because she thinks it might be our fault her water pump failed.

 

Why at this point are we being questioned.

 

This does happen. Some customers are easily discouraged. It sounds like you failed to earn her trust somehow? If she is a multi-vehicle customer, just take car of it to try to earn her trust back, but find out what happened for her to lose your trust. Make sure you emphasize that failures just happen, and it wasn't anyone's fault. Good luck!

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I am super sad right now, we had a customer that we have done a couple winterizations for, a couple repairs, couple more auto starts for came in saying their car was overheating at -40 and she thinks the coolant froze (if so our fault for not getting it rich enough) so we take a look at it and there is no coolant in it because the water pump is leaking on a 2005 tahoe with 145k on it. what does she say? She is going to have to talk to her old tech that she used to have before moving here before doing it because she thinks it might be our fault her water pump failed.

 

Why at this point are we being questioned.

 

This does happen. Some customers are easily discouraged. It sounds like you failed to earn her trust somehow? If she is a multi-vehicle customer, just take car of it to try to earn her trust back, but find out what happened for her to lose your trust. Make sure you emphasize that failures just happen, and it wasn't anyone's fault. Good luck!

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I am super sad right now, we had a customer that we have done a couple winterizations for, a couple repairs, couple more auto starts for came in saying their car was overheating at -40 and she thinks the coolant froze (if so our fault for not getting it rich enough) so we take a look at it and there is no coolant in it because the water pump is leaking on a 2005 tahoe with 145k on it. what does she say? She is going to have to talk to her old tech that she used to have before moving here before doing it because she thinks it might be our fault her water pump failed.

 

Why at this point are we being questioned.

 

This does happen. Some customers are easily discouraged. It sounds like you failed to earn her trust somehow? If she is a multi-vehicle customer, just take car of it to try to earn her trust back, but find out what happened for her to lose your trust. Make sure you emphasize that failures just happen, and it wasn't anyone's fault. Good luck!

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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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