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Why Are You a Bad Customer?

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Auto repair dealers are held to a higher standard than doctors.  And it effects customer service.

Make an appointment with your doctor for 10am. Show up, wait until 10:30 to be seen by a nurse. 10 minutes with her, wait another 10 minutes for the doctor. He tells you your knee pain is nothing serious, take some Tylenol. Two weeks later, no improvement. Make another appointment, go through same delays, doctor says let's run test, finds torn ligament, refers you to orthopedist. 

How different from our automotive world!

In our world, the customer will complain if we are one minute past their appointment and their car is not in the bay.  On the second visit, they would demand to be seen without an appointment, demand a refund for the first visit, and also insist the second visit be free!

Next, they would tell the doctor that they have a bump on their head that wasn't there before, so it must have been caused by the knee examination. 

I wish I had a dime for every time a client withheld pertinent information about the symptoms of their vehicle--any problems with your brakes? No. Get in the car, pedal to the floor brake and abs lights on. 

The disregard for the repair facility is startling. I have people double park in front of my center walk in, sneer and say "oil change". Would you do that in a restaurant? "Steak!" 

Or they show up at 3:00pm on a Saturday with a serious engine performance issue needing to leave town on vacation Sunday morning first thing. 

How long have you had this problem? Oh, a couple of months. 

Then they are mad at you because you can't perform a miracle. 

There really should be a manual for car repair customers--here are my four suggestions, feel free to add on.

1. Leave your car--be forthright and polite in describing your problem or need--have patience--don't expect miracles--understand that it is an "estimate" and is subject to change if other issues are discovered--

2. Don't show up right before closing expecting service--don't assume that just because a facility serviced your vehicle today, they are responsible for any and all issues you may develop until your next visit. 

3. Don't bring your own parts--don't diagnose your own car--don't tell me after I diagnose your car that you have decided to take it to "your mechanic" or worse yet, your brother who knows about cars. 

4. Don't presume I am dishonest or incompetent because you previously dealt with a dishonest or incompetent shop. 

I could go on, buy you get the point. I am blessed because in 27 years at my location, I have developed relationships and gently "trained" many clients in the art of being a good customer. 

In return, they get every benefit of the doubt I can provide when servicing their automobiles.

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1 Comment

Chris, Great piece! You know that bad customers are not ony found in the Auto Repair industry.

In my business, Natural Gas and Electric Consulting, my clients are my customers but it is more than a seller/buyer relationship. I provide them advice in all areas of their business related to Energy and it is about the relationships. Many of which I have had for over 15 years.

That being said, I have a large National account, which has business in 7 States. I have saved this client untold Thousands of dollars when he almost got himself into 3 Gas agreements, with 3 different Gas companies, all for the same locations!

When his electric was about to be shut off on a Friday afternoon, I was the guy he called to help him out of a jam, which I did with the Electric company and he was good till Monday when the problem was resolved.

These are all Freebies, because he is a Client of mine. He works with multiple consultants and I always get him the best deal and am his "go to guy". Now he has a 'new kid on the block' which (I just found out) has taken my numbers and then tried to go to one of my very own suppliers and beat them up to get a better price than I could provide.

Of course my Supplier didnt give him a better price, so he took the usage info which I had pulled from the Utility (and gave to my client in a savings analysis) showed the new guy my work and sent him out, to beat my price. Thats simply not how I do business and so I FIRED this Client. I dont want to do business with this guy, no matter how much money he put in my pocket.

It is about what is right, what is fair and integrity. If you are not honest with me, I dont want to do business with you. It is about relationships and I am blessed after 20 years to be able to choose who I do business with. I hate losing clients and take it personally but sometimes you just have to let it go.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Schmitz published on February 27, 2013 12:41 PM.

Who Else Wants to Get Things Done? was the previous entry in this blog.

Not so Easy Tips for I-9 Compliance is the next entry in this blog.

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